Study, and let's not forget life, can be stressful right?
Most students would agree with that statement. But does it need to be? And do you know what's actually making you feel stressed?
This blog will surprise you and, more importantly show you, how you can radically turn down your stress levels.
I'll let you in a on a little secret; not too many people know about this...
Stress is actually an inside job.
Whaaaaa?! I hear you say.
Stick with me. Keep reading.
Currently there are two models of stress that exist in the world at the moment (as articulated by psychologist Dr. George Pransky). One is the traditional model of stress, and the second is the true model of stress.
And most people believe that it's the traditional model of stress that causes them to feel stress (I certainly was a major, major stress head when I believed this model was the cause of my stress).But I, and most people on the planet, were wrong.
Let me tell you about the traditional model of stress.
Let's imagine that you're walking to the science lab and as you get closer to the door you feel your stress levels rising, and while you're in the lab you still feel stressed, but then at the end of the class as you walk away from the lab you feel your stress level start going down. Clearly it's being in that building that's making you stressed, right?
Or think of that English teacher, who every time you talk to ends with you feeling like an idiot and anxious. Obviously she's the one making you feel anxious – because when you're not around her you don't feel like an anxious idiot.
Or what about every time you look at your desk and see the mountain of work you need to do – aargh that's definitely the cause of your stressful feelings and the pit in your stomach.
Or is it?
You see most people think that it's situations (science lab), people (English Teacher) or events (first year of uni) in our life that cause us to feel stressed. "If I didn't have to go to into that science lab I wouldn't feel stressed"; "If I didn't have to be near that teacher I wouldn't feel like an wobbling idiot"; or "If I didn't have to do all that work I wouldn't feel stressed".
And this is what most of us think causes us stress – the situation, people or events. “If my teacher just hadn't said that I wouldn't feel stressed”; “I'm not going to that party if Sophie's going – she'll ruin my night”; “The exams freak me out, if I didn't have to do an Oral Exam I'd be fine”. We're taught to believe that our stress comes from things outside of us.
So what is stress?
The true model of stress (and the true cause of stress) shows us that it's how we think about situations, people and events that actually causes us to feel stressed or anxious; not the event, situation or person themselves.
Any stress or anxiety that you or I feel is generated by us, and we generate this stress and anxiety by our thinking. We think that the things (study), people (teacher), events (exams) are stressful and then this thinking then creates stressful feelings within us. It's why some people feel stressed by public speaking and why some people don't – both people are thinking about the same situation, but they are thinking about the situation differently and therefore feeling different emotions about it.
Any stress or anxiety you feel comes from how you think about your workload, or your exam, or the comments someone made about you, not the actual workload, exam or comment itself.
How does knowing this lower your stress levels?
Well, by understanding the true origin of stress reminds you that it's how you're thinking about something which is actually causing you to feel stressed. It also makes your feelings less scary, because you know it's just your own thoughts creating the feelings – not some random event, person or situation.
Realising this starts to take the heat off and it starts to calm your mind down, and you start seeing the situation, or person, in another way. And this naturally lowers your stress levels and helps you to feel calmer because you realise that were it not for your thinking, you'd be feeling something very different right now.
Understanding the true cause of stress also puts you back in control because it makes you realise that it's not those things or people out in the world that freak you out, or stress you out – but really only how you think about them. And this gives you back control, and puts you in a calmer place.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing stress related to study, Studiosity can help build confidence. Connect to a subject specialist for one-to-one expert help.
Vanessa Aitken is a qualified Life Coach and Community Welfare Worker who specialises in stress and anxiety. She works one on one with teenagers as well as conducting presentations and workshops in secondary schools around managing stress and anxiety. She works with people across Australia and globally through the wonders of Skype and Zoom. You can connect with Vanessa via her website at www.threesixtycoaching.com.