Are Eustressed?


BY TEAGAN SCHWAB
Staff Writer

As the semester wanes, students find themselves drowned by stressors like classes, relationships, finances, extra-curricular activities and graduation.

According to Dr. Laura Harrawood, Associate Professor of Counseling, “Stress is your body’s response to a demand that is placed upon it.” To each student, stress shows itself in different ways. Intense emotions, headaches, muscle strains and not being yourself are just a few.

stress ball
McK Stress Management Clinic stress ball. Photo Credit: Teagan Schwab

Stressed students are not hard to find on this campus. Trey Schlieker, Economic Finance major says stress, however, can sometimes be beneficial.

“To be honest, I think stress is what kinda keeps you motivated,” states Schlieker. “You want to be unstressed so bad, you’ll just eventually saddle up and get your stuff done.”

The type of stress Schlieker is talking about is called “eustress.” It helps propel you to get things done. Unfortunately, students may find the very thin line between eustress and distress. Distress is the type of stress that leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and respiratory issues.

Not only does school stress students, but maintaining a social life is difficult. Things like hours of homework added to the 12-18 credit-hour class schedule and working make it hard to hang out with friends.

Capri Vita, Pre-professional Biology major, gets stressed when she has to study for hard exams and quizzes. Vita knows the line between eustress and distress well. “I know I cross the line when I start eating a lot and being cranky and unmotivated,” she says. Vita eases her stress by watching TV, hanging out with friends and reading.

Dr. Harrawood manages her stress by practicing self-care. She exercises by cycling and playing tennis. She loves to spend time with her cocker spaniel, Porter, and black labrador retriever, Arnie. Reading also helps Harrawood relax.

“Don’t be afraid to seek help,” advises Dr. Harrawood. “Just the support alone can help decrease the effects of the stressors.”

Seeking help is important to reduce distress. Talking to friends or someone you trust about what is happening will help immensely.

If you find yourself in need of help dealing with stress there are resources on campus. The Stress Management Clinic is a professional counseling program that runs in conjunction with the Master’s program individual practicum.

In participating in the Stress Management Clinic, students are paired one-on-one with Master’s level students to work through three phases: education, prevention and support. The end goal is to help the students prevent distress.

Even though sometimes stress may be harmful, use it to your advantage. Keep the eustress and leave the distress behind. Are eustressed?