Most college students are stressed. Shocking, I know, right? Work, paying for school, paying for food, homework, tests, papers, friends, hook ups, working out, clubs, sleep, applying for internships- literally our plates are always full. It's sort of impossible not to feel stressed.
When I feel like the weight of the world is literally on my shoulders and stress, fear, worry or anxiety get overwhelming, I turn to my Bible to bring me a little relief. I know, I know, I sound so cliche and preachy, but the verses in the Bible are beautifully written and provide a great deal of wisdom about how to handle stress. Here are some of my favorites:
Philippians 4:6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
When I feel stressed or like I have way too many thoughts bouncing around in my head, I write down everything in a clear to do list, and ask God to ease my worries and remind that everything will get done. Having a to-do list written down is much less stressful than having it all floating in my head and clouding my brain, and it's satisfying to cross things off one by one. Plus, it's good to remind myself I'm actually blessed to have this much work to do. Most people don't have the opportunity to pursue an education, and I'm grateful I get to, even if it is stressful.
Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you."
This is a perfect verse for when you're starting a new job, new school, or going to be somewhere totally unfamiliar to you and feel nervous. Know that God is with you, guiding you through the unfamiliar, and he won't lead you into a situation you can't handle.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
This verse speaks to me when I am about to make a big decision or start something new. When you're about to leap into the unknown, know God will catch you if you fall or fail.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
There's something relaxing about dimming the lights, lighting a few candles (don't tell the RA), putting on some K-LOVE and turning to God. It's my own personal self-care time. The quiet, relaxing evenings I spend with God help lift the weight off my shoulders. I literally feel more at ease.
Romans 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
Sometimes, it's hard to say no. Whether it be friends asking for homework help, a club asking you to step up and take on more work, someone asking if we can take their work shift, whatever, it's hard to tell other people no, even if we really, truly, just don't have the time. I know I always want to help everyone I can so I can be a good friend, and take on as much leadership responsibilities as possible to boost my resume, but sometimes, you have to step back and say, "Am I taking on too much?" Instead of dishing out a thousand yeses, give out your best yes, and have the courage to say no for your own sanity once in awhile. Praying to God can help you discern what the most important "yes" in your life is.
Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
This is a good verse if you're fighting with loved ones or dealing with somebody not liking you. Remind yourself that not everybody is always going to be on your side on this earth, but God will always be fighting besides you. This is also a great verse if you're feeling lonely. You're never truly alone, because God will always care for you.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is the verse I say to myself when I'm freaking out over a test or cramming late at night, or looking ahead on my syllabus and see I have a crazy week coming up. At some point, you have to stop and say, "I can only do so much, and I can only control what's happening right now."
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
If you're feeling worried or anxious, journal about it. I have a prayer journal where I write all my worries to God, and writing them out helps me think through them and process them better. Just writing about it to God helps clear my head so much.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Remember: everything always works out in the end. Even if times feel stressful now, or it feels like your whole world is crashing down, this is all temporary. Think of all the times in your life you've gone through a struggle or felt overwhelmed: the anxiety eventually passed, and this will, too. That paper will get done, you won't remember if you failed a class or not in 10 years, and someday you'll find the one and never even think about the guy that dumped you. Time heals all, and as time moves on, so does stress.
As finals season approaches, take the time to absorb the wisdom of God, so that when stress starts creeping in, you're prepared to handle it and overshadow it with peace.