ACUTE STRESS: FIGHT or FLIGHT SYNDROME
When you sit down to take an exam, you may experience rapid heart beat, a headache, stomach pains, sweaty palms, and/or shortness of breath. Any of these symptoms can result from the rapid flow of adrenaline into your system preparing you to run away from or fight the enemy! While it is true that you might like to jump up and run out of the room or tear up the test, obviously these are not good options! So, you may need to calm yourself down a bit so that you can do well. Suggestions: Take a few deep breaths; tell yourself you have studied and are ready; shrug your shoulders to release muscle tension. Tell yourself it is, after all, only a test–your life is not really being threatened!
This is what you face over time when you have a lot of commitments and not much time. As a student, you can manage stress if you give your body a chance to handle it. Regular exercise and eating a good diet with lots of vitamin C and complex carbohydrates can help. Getting enough sleep is also crucial. You may need to say “no” to some activities and you will certainly need to use a calendar to manage your time. If stress gets out of control, you may need to talk with someone at the counseling center.