Why Are Students Stressed Out – And What Can They Do?
It is often said that stress and anxiety are among the most widespread mental health issues of the 21stcentury. Even though anything is tolerable in small doses, stress included, anxiety-related disease rates have gone through the roof. The situation is especially severe when it comes to students, who often have to soldier through classes and juggling their personal lives and their studies, all the while worrying whether they will find work after graduation. What is it that stresses us out so much – and just how bad is the problem?
The Impact of Stress
A little stress can actually be good for us, as it is a defense mechanism designed to get us going when things take a wrong turn and make sure we rise to the occasion. But when our stress levels are extreme for prolonged periods of time, then it can only mean trouble. In fact, the effects of stress can lead to serious harm: According to the World Health Organisation, which has dubbed stress the “health epidemic of the
21st century”, over 75% of the time that patients see a doctor it is about symptoms that are somehow connected with stress. 69% of people state that their stress is caused by money and 65% by their job, which are both top concerns for students.
Scandinavians Know Best
Furthermore, 24% of people believe that leaving their parents’ house was the most stressful event in their life, while getting a new job ranks second at 14%, which are both life events associated with the beginning or the end of student life. It is no wonder then that students are so stressed out about the future, with research indicating that South Africa ranks second in terms of general population stress.
On the contrary, countries like Norway or Denmark seem to have hit the mark when it comes to happiness. And this success could be traced back to the robust welfare state tradition they share, as well as a more laid- back philosophy towards daily life. In Norway, paternity leave is mandatory, with new dads enjoying three months off all paid by the state.
What Students Can Learn
This eases new parents into a new period of their life, all the while not cutting off the flow of funds in a stressful period. Meanwhile, Danes are big on “hygge,” a Danish word that describes their very particular lifestyle of happiness. It often translates into finding time to relax and enjoy the little things, like dinner with friends or comfortable clothes. It seems that students nowadays can learn a thing or two from this mindset. While visualizing success by adopting a problem-solving and growth mindset can help students overcome stress, it is also important to develop strategies that can lead to a long-term stress-free life. Poor eating and sleeping habits can greatly impact a student’s performance, while a way too full schedule is the quickest way to anxiety.
Practicing hygge by learning how to appreciate every day and adopting nurturing habits like spending quality time with friends and family, enjoying a good meal, or spending some time alone with no deadlines looming over your head, is essential for battling stress among students – and everyone else.