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Vital Signs: Steps to freeze finals frenzy

By Anna Kellaher

As the semester comes to an end, the only thing standing between you and summer are final exams and all of stress that comes with them.

It is totally normal to be worried about a big exam, but how much stress is too much?

People experience two types of stress, eustress and distress. Eustress is “good” stress — it is what motivates us to actually head to the library and study for finals instead of binging on a new Netflix series. Eustress is temporary and can actually improve our performance.

However, there is a point where panic for an exam can become excessive and cross from eustress to distress. This kind of stress no longer inspires us and can actually inhibit studying and test performance.

One big difference between eustress and distress is that eustress is more manageable, and we feel capable of coping with the hectic situation. Distress can feel insurmountable, which is not the best feeling to have going into an exam. To avoid overwhelming stress from exams, it’s important to incorporate healthy study habits.

Make a study schedule. Time management reduces stress, and creating and sticking to a plan can give you a sense of control, according to ABC.

Take study breaks. A study by an app called DeskTime, which monitors productivity, found that the most productive schedule is around 52 minutes of work followed by a 15-20 minute break.

Don’t forget your physical health. A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep increases our ability to bounce back from a stressor.


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