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  • Managing Stress when Studying Abroad

    Stress is something we live with all through our lives. Right from the time we start school and our best friend scores better than us, to passing out of school, college and looking for a job, we continue to experience stress in its various avatars throughout our life. Stress in a way is good. It pulls us out of complacency and mediocrity and by applying pressure, helps us to stand apart from the crowd. However, having said that, stress, especially for students who are away from home can be very trying and difficult. There are ways to beat this stress and make this period of your life an enlightening experience while study in USA.

    Most of us live in denial and what this means is we apply extra pressure on ourselves by denying that we are stressed. We do this because we associate stress with weakness. `I cannot cope and I am therefore stressed!’ If I tell people that I am stressed, then I am showing them a weak link in my system! This, of course, is not generally true but for youngsters and especially students, putting on a `cool’ image is more important than just letting the world know that I am feeling lousy.

    The first step is to understand, accept and appreciate the fact that making such a major change in one’s life, i.e. moving away from home, family, friends and familiar surroundings into a new world which is completely different from one’s one is difficult even for the strongest of us. Acceptance will immediately bring about a feeling of peace and that is the first step towards overcoming stress.

    The second step is to look into oneself and look for all those factors which are causing stress levels to rise. For some it could be something as mundane as not being able to call home and for others it could be unavailability of vegetarian food. For some others it could be loneliness and for yet another group it could be coping with studies. Manageability arises when we can ascertain stress reasons and try to work around them by:

    a. Finding ways to beat them b. Beating them.

    The bad thing about stress is it often interferes with sleep. Stressed people find it difficult to fall asleep and instead of helping to reduce stress, lack of sleep results in increased stress levels. Our own mind and its ability to panic is a reason for this. Keeping calm is extremely important. It is said that, calmness does not suddenly descend from the sky. We have to work at it.

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