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Stress Management


At AJ Tutoring, it’s our goal to get as many students as possible through the academic and test-taking gauntlet with as little stress as possible. In order to achieve this, we need to know what stress is, why it exists, what it looks like, and what we can do to manage it. 

What is stress?

Stress is the attempt of the body to get back to equilibrium (homoeostasis) as fast as possible after an irritating stimulus. The term was introduced 1936 by the Austrian-Canadian doctor Hans Selye to describe the reaction of biological systems to pressure. The term was meant to neutrally describe what happens in the body in such situations.

Is stress needed?

There are two types of stress: negative stress triggered by “seemingly impossible situations” and positive stress triggered in situations which are subjectively perceived as manageable. 

It’s important to note that humans couldn’t possibly live without stress, and it produces a heightened action potential, needed in many situations. For example, when you are taking the SAT, it’s healthy to be a little nervous: you simply understand the stakes of the college admissions process and want to do your best.

Eustress vs. Distress

(Greek “eu” = “good”)
Exciting stress, vital:
Eustress is a situation, which we perceive as increasing our well–being.

(Greek “dis” = “against”)
Life endangering stress:
We feel burden or pressure from inside or outside.

What can we do to combat stress?

  • Learning how to regulate stress
    • One solution consists in switching from problem–oriented (pathogenesis) to solution–oriented thinking (salutogenesis). Check the task at hand: Is it a real task or a very urgent task? Could it be a self–imposed task, which can be reduced by your own means? For example, instead of fighting the disease you improve health. Health isn’t only the absence of disease but the presence of life quality.
  • Reducing trigger which lead to negative stress and increasing trigger which lead to positive stress
  • Daily increase stress resistance through training
  • Daily relaxation and mindfulness exercises
  • Conscious exercise and nutrition
    • Physical movement is paramount to be able to reduce stress — at every age. We need movement to remove the stress hormones from our system. If not removed from the system, the stress hormones accumulated through a sedentary lifestyle correspond to an overexploitation of the energy reserves.
    • The smallest effort get the stress hormones active and they get the energy form the blood and the liver. The resulting exhaustion from this permanent stress has a big psychological impact, too. 
  • Living mindfully
    • Mindfulness is the attempt to stay as present as possible in the present moment. The informal practice is doing this in daily life. Occurring thoughts and feelings are noted as an outside observer.
  • Be prepared

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