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Cooker of Studies show that when college students are stressed, they learn and retain less. With ever-increasing pressure on today’s college students to perform well academically while also participating in a full slate of social activities, stress has become a raging campus epidemic. As a result of their anxiety, students may develop learning disabilities, miss assignments, cut classes, underachieve, or drop out entirely.

And everyone suffers as a result: students, parents, faculty members, and universities. Here are several student-centric stress-reduction strategies from my new book “400 Ways to Stop Stress Now…and Forever!” to help stressed-out campus dwellers regain control of their lives.

people sitting on chair with brown wooden table

Work comes before play.

Leisure is more enjoyable when it comes after a period of hard work. But putting off work in order to have fun is a different story. It can be a source of stress rather than a source of it. Because you’ve made a deliberate decision to fall behind. And the prospect of having to make up for missed work can dampen your enjoyment. Don’t let others distract you from your assigned tasks, either. (Dereliction enjoys the company of others.) This is especially dangerous for students. The effort should always come before the reward in the work/play cycle. Why drive yourself insane?

Shorter, more frequent study sessions are recommended.

Whether it’s schoolwork or a training program for a new career… Overnight cramming and marathon study sessions are less productive and cause the material to be forgotten more easily. Never let it get that far. Study at shorter, more frequent intervals as you go. It will keep the information fresh in your mind, preventing you from having to re-learn it. Review sessions will be faster and less tedious, making them less likely to be postponed. And you’ll be confident that you understand the material long after the final exam. That’s exactly the point, isn’t it? As you go, study. You’ll study less…but remember more. Why drive yourself insane?

woman sitting on bed with MacBook on lap

Don’t let other people waste your time.

Some people have no empathy when it comes to stress. They see that you’re completely insane (or do they? ), but they continue to interrupt you, get in your way, engage you in small talk, and otherwise annoy you. These are usually people you share a room with or are close to and don’t want to offend. Be polite and diplomatic, but send the message loud and clear that you’re far too busy to schmooze. Seek sympathy: “You won’t believe how swamped I am.” Or you could look at your watch and exclaim, “Yikes! Please accept my apologies…” If none of these work, simply ask them to assist you with your work. That’s correct. Solicit assistance. It usually gets rid of them, or even better, they may pitch in. In any case, use your ingenuity and keep a good evasive tactic on hand. Why drive yourself insane?

Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the world of the internet.

The Internet can eat away at your time in such an insidious way that you are often unaware of it. How quickly a simple online task can turn into an hour or more! Be astute. Before you begin, make a plan of attack. And keep at it. Don’t be swayed by enticing links or allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Log in, get what you want, and then log out. Make the Internet the efficient, time-saving tool it was intended to be, and save your surfing for your leisure time. Why drive yourself insane?

man covering face with both hands while sitting on bench

First and foremost, do what needs to be done.

This should be automatic, but for a variety of reasons, we often put off more important and pressing tasks in order to address lesser priorities first. It not only leaves that bigger thing hanging over us, but it frequently deprives us of the time and energy we require to complete the important task. Every day, take a few moments to consider which project would be best to complete first. Then confront it head on, without getting sidetracked or attempting to squeeze something else in between. Then move on to the next most important…and watch the stress fade away. Why drive yourself insane?