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Balancing budgets, time leads to stressed out students

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A rat race awaits us every day and brings stress with unknown boundaries. Not only do college students have general life stresses, but also encounter other stressors due to school.

Stress is a physical reaction that happens when the neurotransmitters in a person’s mind release a higher amount of endorphins than it typically needs.

This phenomenon is the fight or flight reaction.  Fred Stultz, a Colorado State University-Pueblo Director of student counseling said that students who are under a lot of stress feel like they are fighting tigers all day.

Stultz said that the counselor’s office is busier than ever and has already seen over 175 students this semester alone, about 10 percent more than this time last year.

Stultz said he believes the high numbers are partly because of the economic situation of the nation.

“Americans carry more stress than anybody else on the planet,” Stultz said.

On top of economic issues, college students have a variety of issues that they deal with every day.

College is a major transition for young adults. They are learning to cope with realities of adult life. No one is there to make sure they do their homework and go to class, cook or do their laundry for them.

Students are also learning to balance their budgets and time. Time is needed for class, homework, jobs and relationships. Sleep often takes the brunt of not having enough time.

But students are very concerned with relationship issues.  They want to know why they are not happy, why their relationships aren’t working and how to fix them, Stultz said.

Stultz said he and Barb Hadley counsel students on a variety of topics, but he sees students mostly for anxiety, depression, academics and stress.

Stultz pointed out students who have had a hard life are like the soldiers in Iraq in the fact that when a person is in a hypertensive state for long periods it takes an extensive amount of time for the body to physically change back to normal.

The counselors office does not give psychological diagnoses, but works with students when they need help, said Stultz.  The sessions are generally solution focused to help keep students in class. 

Stultz said he has seen students for other issues including sexual assault, trauma and family problems, but the office will find students with extremely detrimental issues more help if it is needed.

There are ways to deal with these common stressors on a daily level, Stultz said.   

There are relaxation methods that Stultz highly recommends.

“Look at your day and what you are doing,” said Stultz. “Take a few minutes for yourself.”

You can also find ways to be at peace, a few techniques that Stultz recommends are changing the way you talk to you, take a walk, stop and smell the roses, be more mindful, breathe the air slowly,  enjoy the warmth of the sun and eat slowly.   

You won’t be able to eliminate or avoid all the stress in your life, said Stultz, but you need to take time out to take care of yourself.