Students change when they go to college−and not always for the better.

Stress takes a toll on our lives. We don’t get to eat mom’s home-cooked meals anymore. We are forced to figure out what we want our lives to look like in the next 10 years.

Especially when faced with midterms and group projects, de-stressing can seem like an impossible task. Many students feel like there is nothing they can do.

So how do you balance your health, mentally and physically?

When you realize that you are the only one in control of your life, you can begin to take charge and learn how to cope with the details of your life.

Though it is easy to overlook your own stress-stimulating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, stress management begins with identifying the areas of stress in your life.

In order to identify your personal stresses, you need to dive deep and be emotionally honest with yourself. You need to look at your attitude in everyday life, the habits that you practice, and the excuses that you make.

Learning healthy ways to manage stress is not easy by any means. Many people do the following when they do not want to cope with stress:

  1. Overeat
  2. Sleep too much
  3. Procrastinate
  4. Fill every minute of the day in order to avoid facing problems
  5. Take out stress on others, including family/friends

We all cope with life and stress differently. I challenge you to change your focus and to take control of your life.

Here are some tips on learning how to deal with stress the healthy way:

  1. Avoid stressors in your life
  2. Learn how to say “no” to certain situations
  3. Analyze your schedule and write down responsibilities in order of importance. Eliminate unnecessary tasks. If it’s not important, don’t write it down.
  4. Eat a healthy diet and exercise
  5. Get enough sleep (7-8 hours a night)
  6. Refrain from being negative and try to remain positive in all situations

Your attitude is key; how you think has a major influence on your emotional and even physical well-being. When you are pushed into stressful situations like homework and projects, remember that you can manage the stress because you are in control of your own life.