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Helping Students to Understand Stress and Foster Resilience

Identify the types and effects of stress, causes of stress among college students, symptoms of anxiety and depression and strategies for fostering resilience in ourselves and others

Kristi Weddige

on 7 July 2013

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Transcript of Helping Students to Understand Stress and Foster Resilience

Helping Students to Understand Stress and Foster Resilience
Resilience enables an individual to succeed despite adverse conditions or outcomes.

It is the capacity to tolerate disturbance without collapse, to withstand shocks, to rebuild when necessary and to improve when possible.

*There is consistent evidence that stress impedes the academic performance of approximately a third of the college population

*Research has found that how students cope with stress is a critical factor in students’ ability to persist in their academic studies.

How to help a distressed student
A -Acknowledge your observations of the situation
R-Listen first, then rephrase what the student is troubled about
C-Convey your concern & willingness to help
H-Help explore alternatives to the problem
"Building Resilience in Our Students: Helping Understand and Manage Stress" on February 27, 2013 during a Brown Bag Advising session. Accessed on June 28, 2013 from YouTube.-:

Hartley, M.T. (2013). Investigating the relationship of resilience to academic persistence in college students with mental health issues. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. 56. 240.

Hartley. M, T. (2012) Assessing and Promoting Resilience: An Additional Tool to Address the Increasing Number of College Students With Psychological Problems. Journal of College Counseling. 15, 37-51.

"Stress" Accessed on July 1, 2013.
California Polytechnic State University.

"Relaxation for mental health." Accessed on July 1, 2013.
http://www.hcs.calpoly.edu/content/counseling/relaxation. California Polytechnic State University

Source: American Psychological Association's "Stress in America" report, 2010

Faculty Guide: Assisting the Emotionally Distressed Student. California Polytechnic State University. Accessed on June 29, 2013. http://hcs.wcms.calpoly.edu/content/counseling/emotional_distress

"Resilience: Build Skills to Endure Hardship." Reprinted from the MayoClinic.com article. Accessed on June 28, 2013. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/resilience/MH00078

"The Road to Resilience" Reprinted from the American Psychological Association. Accessed on June 29, 2013. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx

Mak, W. , Ng, I. , & Wong, C. (2011). Resilience: Enhancing well-being through the positive cognitive triad. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(4), 610-617.

Sawatzky, Richard. G (2012). Stress and Depression in Students: The Mediating Role of Stress Management self efficacy. Nursing Research. (61) 13 - 21,
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
*rapid heart palpitations
*chest pain or discomfort
*dizziness; sweating;
*trembling or shaking; and cold, clammy hands.
*The student may also complain of difficulty concentrating; always being "on the edge"
*having difficulty making decisions or being too fearful
to take action.
During their college years students experience constant challenges and demands for adjustment and change. Along with academic pressures, students are seeking independence from their parents and responsibility for themselves, acceptance from their peers in a world of mixed values, and more intimate relationships.

Research indicates that many students, particularly those from minority groups, are overwhelmed by the college process.

*Positive View of the Self and Well-Being
*Positive View of the World and Well-Being
*Positive View of the Future and Well-Being
Resilient individuals hold a:
• Family problems
• Money problems
• Relationship problems with siblings, parents, divorce
• Physical or mental abuse
• Financial challenges, incurring student debt
• Death in the family or friends
• High expectations from selves, significant others, employers
• Role confusion –who am I, why am I here
• School stressors, expectations on how to get everything done
• Finding balance is a heavy thing, with school, family, social, questions about their future/career –am I going to be able to get a job
• Stressing about past mistakes –choices they have made

At the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to:
1. Identify the causes of stress common among college students

2. Identify the two primary types of stress

3. Identify the common effects of stress

4. Identify the symptoms of anxiety and depression

5. Identify a process for assisting students experiencing distress

6. Identify three strategies for fostering resilience in ourselves and others

Learning Outcomes
We experience the effects of stress physically, emotionally, behaviorally and mentally. Physically, the body reacts to threat with an increased adrenalin flow. Fatigue may develop, muscles become tensed, and heart rate and respiration are increased. Emotionally, you may experience anxiety, irritability, sadness and depression, or extreme happiness and exhilaration. Behaviorally, you may experience reduced physical coordination and control, sleeplessness, fidgeting, increased substance use or crying. Mentally, you may have a severe reduction in your ability to concentrate, store information in memory and solve problems. For example, "test anxiety" is related to the brain's reduced ability to process information while under severe stress. This can be of particular concern to college students.

On your body ...
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Change in sex drive
Stomach upset
Sleep problems

Common Effects of Stress
On your behavior...
Overeating or undereating
Angry outbursts
Drug or alcohol abuse
Tobacco use
Social withdrawal

...On your mood...
Lack of motivation or focus
Irritability or anger
Sadness or depression
Difficulty solving problems

Tearfulness/general emotionality
Markedly diminished performance
Dependency (a student who makes excessive requests for your time)
Infrequent class attendance
Lack of energy/motivation
Increased anxiety/test anxiety/performance anxiety
Deterioration in personal hygiene
Significant weight loss or gain
Alcohol or drug use
Physical Symptons of Depression
Helping someone experiencing symptoms of:
Let them discuss their feelings and thoughts.
Provide reassurance.
Remain calm.
Be clear and directive.
Provide a safe and quiet environment until the symptoms subside.

Let the student know you’re aware she/he is feeling down and you would like to help

Reach out more than halfway and encourage the student to discuss how she/he is feeling.

Offer options to further investigate and manage the symptoms of the depression.

Build a strengths-based culture and language on campus.

Promote awareness through educational campaigns on how to build resiliency.

Incorporate a curriculum component in College 101 seminars or HHP107 -Managing Life's Stresses on the topic of resilience.

Interview students for their “student success story” Create short video and poster vignettes on how students have thrived despite adversity.

Recommendations for Fostering Resilience on Campus
*Get Connected!
*Do something worthwhile
*Nurture a positive view of self
Stress is a response to a challenge or a threat

Distress -the chronic feeling of being overwhelmed, oppressed, and behind in your tasks

Eustress is beneficial and allows us to engage with the challenges in life that are meaningful and offset boredon.
Strategies for Fostering Resilience
Developing resilience is a personal journey!
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