Dealing with pain as a college student

College life can be very stressful. If you’re in college, you likely haven’t been educated on these strategies to reduce stress. Here are some great suggestions from Edu-Protect.

What are some strategies to deal with pain during college?

If you are dealing with lots of pain and stress from attending college, I recommend starting with some self reflection.

Self Reflection:
What is going on in your life? Do you have big decisions that are consuming you? For example, lots of students get caught up with deciding what they are going to do for the rest of their lives. Just because you have to pick a major doesn’t mean you have to pick what you are going to do every day for the rest of your life.

We often think that our college major is the end all be all, but the truth is that many very successful people end up doing things completely outside of their major.

Maybe there is something else going on. For example, your parents might be getting a divorce, you may have just left you boyfriend or girlfriend, or you may be making decisions about who your friends are and who you want to spend time with. The bottom is that these things are important and normal. You should be thinking about these things, but you shouldn’t be taking them so seriously. Continue to spend dedicated time thinking about these things, but don’t expect answers immediately. Give yourself time and love life along the way.

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Exercise

Now this one is pretty obvious, but exercise is great for dealing with difficult emotions like depression, anxiety and an overall sense of pain. Even though you might not feel like it, you have to push yourself to just get started. It’s probably not what you want to hear, but just do it as Nike says. The first few times you start exercising will be horrible. It will make your overall sense of pain worse. But after about a week or so, you’ll start to feel a lot better. Your body will start to adapt and you will start to enjoy moving more and getting a work out in. After a few weeks, you’ll start to be exercising as a habit. You won’t believe how just a few short weeks ago you were struggling to get out of bed, and now you can’t wait to get to your work out routine.

You should also switch up the exercises you do every few weeks. Variety is key. Make sure you do all types of movements. So if you start with weight lifting, then switch it up with some swimming the next week and do lift any weights. Then when you come back to weights, you’ll have strengthened different muscles that you didn’t even know you had.

A word of advice: if you’re dealing with anxiety, I’d recommend avoiding intense exercise. Instead, I’d do something that’s more fun and up lifting. For example, team sports like tennis and volleyball are great for this. Find a group through meetup.com and go have some fun with some new friends. If you’re dealing with social anxiety, then you’ll need to push through that to be able to have some fun. Just remember that this is your life, and you don’t have to take it so seriously. It’s up to you.

Meditation

You’ve probably heard about meditation a lot lately. If you’ve been surfing the web at all, you’ll see articles like “10 incredible ways to reduce your stress with meditation,” “is meditation the new coffee?” and more extreme posts. Sometimes this can make us a little skeptical, because nothing is the cure all end all.

You should know that meditation is a great way to reduce pain whether that’s emotional or physical pain. As a college student, you might not get excited about the idea of mediation, but you can change your mindset. For example, you might start to think about it like an ancient practice to lift your consciousness. If you can make it click with you in your mind, then you can start to get excited about it.

Unfortunately mediation is one of those things that is easy to talk about, but much more difficult to implement. That’s why you need to just get started and give it a shot. I’d recommend committing to 10 minutes per day for 1 week. If you can do that, then you can start to get in a routine and see if its for you. Although you should know that most of the benefits of meditation come after about 2-4 weeks of consistent practice. I’d still say that you should just give it a week and see how it goes.

Check out the headspace app here to get started.