If you’re an RPI student (or maybe even a faculty or staff member), stress isn’t exactly a foreign concept to you. Dealing with that stress, though, is something that a lot of us have problems with. Now, some people try to stave off stress by drinking or inflicting some form of self-harm. While I’m not going to say I’ve done either of those, I’m going to say those are bad ways of going about it. I’ve found recently that talking to people about your problems is more efficient. Also, your liver will thank you later.
I know it sounds corny—and you’ve probably been told the same thing by a multitude of teachers, counselors, and authority figures throughout your life—but it actually works. I might label myself as an introvert pretending to be an extrovert, and I can understand that it’s not always easy to talk to people. Even with friends, it can be hard to vent. But, I strongly encourage everyone to just do it (Nike reference, anyone?).
In high school, I went through one of those phases— the kind that I’m not exactly proud of. It was the result of massive amounts of (probably unwarranted) stress. After a while, though, I just decided that enough was enough, and talked to my best friend. Within weeks, the stress was basically gone, and I became more involved with things and started to actually interact with people.
Recently, I’ve also been suffering from more stress than I’d like. But, I’ve been talking with my brothers (Yes, I’m one of those fraternity guys. Go figure, right?) and friends, and it’s been helping tremendously. Granted, there may or may not be a few empty bottles lying around. (Again, this is a bad way to deal with stress).
If, for whatever reason, talking to your friends doesn’t help, you could try talking to a complete stranger. This might seem like an odd thing to do (and I’ve never done it, so I don’t personally know how well it works), but I have a few friends that have done it, and it worked for them. I’ve also seen it happen in comment threads and the like around the internet. RPI also has a counseling center, which I’ve heard actually helps you deal with stress. If you need their help, you can contact them at (518) 276-6479—this number can also be found on the back of your RPI ID.
For those of you who absolutely won’t talk to people, you have a few non-destructive options available to you. Stress balls work for when you’re stuck in a work environment. Otherwise, you could go for a run or exercise in some other way. Exercising releases endorphins into your bloodstream, which makes you temporarily happier.
Also make time for yourself. You can listen to music for an hour or two, play some video games, or watch some television shows or a movie. Even if this means putting off some work you could be doing, it might actually be worth it. Stress has been shown to cause several life-threatening problems, including heart disease. If this means you have to miss one minor assignment, so be it.
For the record, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do any of your work; I’m just saying you need to sort out your priorities.