In everyday life, people encounter stress related to relationships, academics, and their appearance. If people keep accumulating stress they may develop diseases such as heart disease and depression. To live a healthy life, it is important to recognize stress and to relieve stress properly. The Campus Journal conducted a survey titled "Perceived Stress Scale 10 Questions" on whether students were aware of their stress levels and methods that students use to relieve their stress.
The results cannot be generalized because a total of 41 students from Changwon University responded to the survey. Among the respondents, 32 were women and 9 were men. The distribution of studies were 13 in humanities, 7 in social sciences, 7 in business, 5 in natural sciences, 2 in mechatronics, 3 in art colleges, and 4 in the cultural techno department. Most of the respondents were between the ages of 20 and 26.
Respondents reported that their stress levels were ‘Normal’(9%), ‘Moderate’(20%) with 14 or more points, ‘Severe’(44%) which indicates depression and anxiety with a test score of 17 or more points, and ‘Extremely severe’(27%) which indicates depression and anxiety with a test score of 19 or more points according to mental health experts. When asked ‘Are you aware of your stress levels?’ respondents answered 'not at all' (9.8%), 'no' (24.4%), 'ordinary' (26.8%), 'yes' (26.8%) and 'extremely' (12.2%).
When asked ‘Do you have your own stress relief methods?' 68.3% of respondents answered ‘yes’ and 31.7% answered ‘no’. Student respondents with methods for destressing recommended ‘watching videos (dramas, movies, entertainment, YouTube)’ and ‘singing songs’ that are not related to the stressful situation. They also recommended 'baking at home or exercising', which gives a sense of pride and allows them to do light active activities. In some cases, rather than performing any action, people can spend time trying to find the cause of the stress and addressing it mentally. Other answers included ‘talking with friends and family.’
Meanwhile, how do classmates with no methods for destressing cope with stressful situations? Respondents answered, 'When I'm awake I think about stressful situations, so I sleep', ‘My stress gets better over time’, ‘I avoid thinking about stressful situations as much as I can,’ and ‘I don't know when I'm stressed so my stress remains unresolved.’ Overall, they waited for the stress to go away with time instead of directly addressing the stress. These answers give a glimpse as to how the students at Changwon University are coping with stress in their respective ways.
Learning how to relieve stress is important, and experts advise using coping mechanisms to more effectively manage stress in everyday life. Here are the four ways to manage stress as recommended by KCDC(Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website.
1. A Healthy Lifestyle
Experts recommend learning healthy eating habits. Regularly consuming vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are sometimes lacking in modern diets, and eating at a moderate pace. Get enough sleep which can be between 6 to 8 hours depending on the person. Exercise regularly for 30-60 minutes at least three times a week.
2. Be Aware of Stress and Address It
If feeling uncomfortable or stressed, acknowledge it and accept that the stress is there. It is of the utmost importance to be proactive when dealing with stress. Avoiding stress or feeling helpless can help temporarily, but in the long run the stress can grow and become a greater problem.
3. Relaxation Therapy
Slowly breathing in deep breaths can help relieve stress. First, close the eyes and relax the body in a comfortable position. Breathe in deeply, expanding the stomach, and breathe out softly through the nose. Breathe in and focus on quieting the mind, breathe out and focus on the breath. After deeply breathing for a while count backwards from ten and open the eyes.
4. Time Management
Prioritize and set specific and realistic goals. Create a step-by-step task performance plan to achieve the goal and plan out the time spent performing the task. Make and implement a list of what must be done, what can be easily done, and what is not a high priority.
Experts say there is no need to try to get rid of all stress. This is because stress is useful in that it motivates people to perform their best. Therefore, it is important to steadily strive to manage stress so that there is not too much or too little stress.
▲ Perceived Stress Scale 10 Questions
(References: Cohen, S., Kamarck, T. & Mermelstein, R. (1983) 'A Global Measure of Perceived Stress.' Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 24(4) pp. 385-396.)
By Seo Hyo-Bin, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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