What College Stress Can Do To You, Physiologically

What College Stress Can Do To You, Physiologically

*Literally screams internally*

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Well, folks, I've been slacking. Like a lot. If you were to ask me two years ago whether or not I think stress could cause internal harm, I'd hear you out, but then politely disagree. Before I continue, I want to add that everyone stresses out, that's why we hear these words so often. There are the good stresses, called eustress, but then there are the bad stresses, also known as distress. I'm typically a mix between "is the glass half full or half empty?" but for the sake of this article, I'm going to be the pessimist I am and focus on the negative stress.

Before my sophomore year, I didn't have heartburn as frequently as I do now.

I've done minimal research on this, but what I learned is that there is a strong correlation between the two. Maybe that's why they call it a "gut feeling."

In a 2005 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, researchers measured the esophageal acid levels in more than 40 patients who had chronic heartburn and acid reflux. While the measurement was taking place, the researchers induced stress in half of the participants by requiring them to prepare and deliver a five-minute speech. The acid levels in both groups were nearly identical; patients in the "stressed" group, however, reported more intense acid reflux symptoms, suggesting that their sensitivity to their symptoms had been heightened.

But it makes sense. If you ask my roommate, my number one complaint since day one was that I had terrible, terrible heartburn. Moving on...

My stomach hurts, like a lot.

'Nuff said, but I don't know if it's the dining hall food (which I don't think because it got a lot better) or stress. Studies show that the more stressed out you get, the less likely you are to take into consideration your eating habits.

Harvard researchers have reported that stress from work and other sorts of problems correlates with weight gain, but only in those who were overweight at the beginning of the study period. One theory is that overweight people have elevated insulin levels, and stress-related weight gain is more likely to occur in the presence of high insulin.

One word: headaches.

So. Many. Headaches. I'm surprised I haven't run out of Advil yet. Mad respect for the makers of Advil, Acetomenaphin, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol. Heck, let's through in Peptol Bismol while we're at it!

Paranoia is driving me off the walls.

I'm not sure if the two correlate, but I find myself feeling super self-conscious and having trouble relying on people. Sometimes I feel like I have the world on my shoulders with everyone trying to make me drop it.

I feel restless.

I can never seem to relax. I need to be busy at all times, which is part of why I took on so much.

I'm shaky.

I'm going to end on this one. Now I know it's normal to feel shaky when you're nervous or hungry, but I feel the shakes on a daily basis. It's a struggle and I think it correlates with the heightened level of anxiety I can get sometimes, which is a whole other issue.

Those symptoms I just listed aren't even the end of it. That's just the physiological impact. I didn't even touch on the emotional/mental/social/academic effects stress has on a person. Something to note is that this is just me. My stressors may affect me in a different way then someone else. There is no one way to pinpoint what is causing us to stress, but there are certainly ways to handle it. I suggest using a meditation app. I haven't been consistent enough to say it cures all, but it definitely helps to take 5 – 10 minutes a day to take a step back and put your life into perspective.

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The Truth About Dating A Girl With An Anxiety Disorder

She knows how annoying she can be, but she just prays you love her regardless of her flaws.

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Anxiety: A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

The definition makes it sound really daunting. Truthfully, there is no one way to describe generalized anxiety disorder if you have it. It is hard to live with, hard to cope with and unfortunately, really hard to date with.

Girls with anxiety are different than the average girl when it comes to relationships. That's just an honest statement, no matter how much it hurts me to say it.

We need the constant reminder that you love us, even though we know in our hearts that you do. We panic when you don't answer your phone, in fear that we did something wrong. We care about your feelings when you say that we don't need to worry and we need to be a little calmer. But it's so damn hard.

It isn't easy to love someone who worries about everything 24/7. Half the time, we know we shouldn't be doing the things we do. We know we shouldn't blow up your phone or ask just one more time if you are mad at us. But we can't help it. It says it right in the definition: compulsive behavior due to excessive uneasiness.

Being with a girl with anxiety is probably downright exhausting. It's exhausting for us to have our minds constantly running and worrying. But I promise it's worth it.

We come to you with everything because you are the one person who always knows how to make us feel better. When we are happy, you are the one person we want to be happy with. We all know the constant reassurance, reminders and the same old arguments get old. It gets old to us too.

There was never a time I wanted to have a panic attack because my boyfriend wasn't answering his phone. In my head, I knew where he was because he was usually in the same three places. I knew he wasn't mad at me because I didn't do anything to make him upset. I knew how busy he was with his classes and he was probably studying and I needed to give him space. But the little voice in my head always argued, "What if you did something wrong? What if he's ignoring you because he's angry? What if he's seen your messages and calls, but no longer wants to be with you?" And then I give in. I call, I text, I cry, I panic. Only to feel even worse 10, 30 or 50 minutes later because you answer angrily, telling me what I already knew after I did what I knew I shouldn't have done.

Having anxiety is almost like having a drug addiction. You know all the things that trigger you. You know all the ways to stay away from the bad places in your mind so you don't end up relapsing. But you do anyway and it hurts worse every single time.

Dating a girl with anxiety is as hard as it gets, but she will love you like no other. She is so incredibly thankful for all the things you put up with to be with her. Because she is worried about being loved, she goes the extra mile to always remind you how much you are loved. She always asks if you are ok because she cares about the answer and knows what it's like not to be ok.

The truth is that dating anybody with anxiety is difficult, but it isn't impossible. You get back everything you put in, even though you may not realize it. Trust me, she is sorry for being the annoying, crying, worried, naggy mess and it embarrasses her because she knows better and she wants to be better for you. But please love her. Hold her, understand her, listen to her, calm her, be there for her. In your heart, you know she would turn around and do all the same things for you in a heartbeat.

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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