Stress: worse than you think

By Katie Wolf

This has been the unhealthiest year of my life. I haven’t changed my eating or drinking habits. I haven’t started any new medication. There is no mold in my house, as a friend’s fiance suggested. The culprit of what seems to be a revolving door of constant illness? Stress.

It’s crunch time for many students on campus, with the school year coming to a close. Some of you, like myself, are scurrying to get their shit together for graduation. Most of you are trying to prepare yourself for the dreaded week of finals. All of you, I’m sure, have experienced stress in one form or another at some point in your life.

Do you realize that stress can negatively effect your health? After calling my editor for what felt like the millionth time and telling her that I was sick again, I started to analyze what’s so different about this year than any other. And the only thing that’s changed is my stress level.

A study in the European Heart Journal showed that those with higher levels of stress are more likely to experience heart complications. The American Academy of Dermatology were reported on for their study on how stress will not only hurt your insides, but your appearance as well. Brittle nails, hair loss, wrinkles? Stress may be the cause. National Public Radio had a report last August about how vacations can reduce the stress in your life and have a positive influence on your health.

Conveniently enough, in my research to complete this column, it was brought to my attention that April is National Stress Awareness Month. Also in my search, I tried to find the best tips to give on how to reduce your stress levels. Most sites offered the same advice: Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and find a good support system. It’s easy to let these things fall to the wayside when you’re busy, but try not to let them. Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude. Make sure to make time for things you enjoy. A little “me” time can go a long way, and it will help you in the long run.

It might be difficult when you have three papers to write, a PowerPoint project to assemble and a group project that is falling apart, but it’s important to remind yourself that if you don’t slow down in the present, your future could be slowed permanently, or outright ended. And try not to stress out about stressing out, because that sick cycle will only add more wrinkles, and nobody wants that.