How Learning To Cope With Stress Can Change Your Life

Learning To Cope With Stress Is Essential

Self-care is the key to a good productive life.


April is a scary month for college students. Remember when the semester started and you looked at the syllabus, saw things due in April and thought, "I have so much time to do this!" Well, if you have not done those things, I am sorry to say your time is almost up. April crept up on me in the worst way. The last week of March, I had a paper due for one class, and a major exam for another class. I was also recovering from being sick and was not feeling up for the intense study sessions I ultimately had to partake in. I spent the entire week stressing out more than I should have.

I don't think people realize the physiological and psychological effects intense amounts of stress can have on a person. When someone is stressed, their cortisol levels rise and they can experience many symptoms that can affect their ability to complete the things they are stressed about. Heart rate can become elevated as a result of stress, which is something that easily happens to me. I become anxious about my workload and put intense pressure on myself to get everything done, which raises my heart rate. The heart is a muscle, and it should not be pumping more than it needs to, which is why this symptom is one of the worst symptoms stress can cause.

Sleep is super important when you have a packed day every day of the week, however, sometimes stress does not even allow you to rest your eyes when you have the chance and causes you to stay up worrying about getting everything done in time. This is also something that happened to me at the start of last week. I could not sleep no matter how hard I tried to. This was something that has never happened to me before and it scared me. I was frustrated because I knew that if I did not get enough sleep, that I would be exhausted the next day, which would ultimately cause me to lessen my level of productivity.

Once I realized that I was hurting myself by stressing out so much, I changed up everything I was doing, and I am so glad I did.

I started meditating whenever I had the chance. On Wednesday, my busiest day of the week, I felt absolutely awful. Every part of my body ached. I was dealing with the symptoms of being sick previously, but I was also dealing with my stress. I had a lot of work due, but instead of doing it, I laid in bed, played a guided meditation video on Youtube, and took a nap for an hour after relaxing my muscles.

I woke up feeling so much better. I also finished all my work in due time.

The next day, I woke up and worked out for an hour. I typically would avoid working out when I had a busy day because I felt like I should be working on my school work all day. I realized that I needed time for myself and that working out was not a waste of time. It was helping me set up the rest of my day. I feel energized all day after my workout.

After this, I made myself breakfast. I made a fruit smoothie, eggs, and had some almonds on the side. My healthy breakfast helped keep my energy up throughout the day. I studied all day for my exam and the next day, after following the same routine, I did very well on my exam.

I was still a bit stressed, but I was stressed a normal amount. I was stressed to the point where I was motivated to work and study, but where I was not feeling overwhelmed.

The week went by and I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish while also taking care of myself. I think it is important to remember that self-care is the key to a good productive life. If you don't take care of yourself first, you will not be able to succeed, because your body does everything you want to do!

This finals season, take a deep breath, dry some deep muscle relaxation, take the time to workout, drink water, eat healthy foods, and relax before bed so you can get a good night's sleep! Seek out things that make you happy and can calm you down when you are dealing with stress, and you'll be unstoppable.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.


Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" ( I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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