Stress debilitates mental health

Atomization and academic pressure fosters addictive tendencies.


Eliana Park/ THE CHIMES

Justin Yun, Writer

The blood-shot eyes from late night studying and the ever growing to-do-lists on Google Calendar are enough to flame addictive tendencies and stress-induced distractions of the exhausted student. Throw in student debt, relationships, extracurriculars, internships and midterms and you have the fodder of a Kafkaesque nightmare. A poor diet and lack of sleep are not only the result of a busy schedule, but can also be the symptoms of stress and declining mental health.

debilitating effect on mental and physical health

The semester is more than halfway done and numerous students are feeling the pressure of the semester. Almost every student encounters varying degrees of stress in their college careers, but what happens when perpetual stress triggers unhealthy habits or addictions? Biola has resources such as the Counseling Center, but what should students do about the stigma and shame associated with stress eating and mental health issues such as addictions?

Binge eating and a poor diet can arise from a stressful semester. An entry from an international peer-reviewed journal titled “Addictive Behaviors” states how “according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, binge eating is defined by as eating large quantities of food in a discrete period of time accompanied by a sense of lack of control over eating.” Poor health choices are made because of the environment, and this can have a negative effect on almost all facets of an individual’s life.

It is important to take care of yourself before anything else, including academics. While this may seem common sense, there are will always be students who for some reason — regardless of its legitimacy and justification — will not connect with the counseling center or seek help from resident directors or friends. Sometimes stress can have a debilitating effect on your mental and physical health, forcing you to make undesirable choices such as dropping a class in the middle of semester. It is important for Biolans to realize making difficult choices is part of the college experience.

disillusionment and alienation

College is a time to learn about yourself and consume knowledge about your particular major. Biola should not be a place where students are expected to become successful in every avenue of one’s life. Mistakes will be made, and at times, students will have to make choices once considered unfathomable at the beginning of the year.

Stress and any mention of it is a commonly used lexicon amongst college students but stress can lead to disillusionment and alienation, especially if a student becomes atomized and isolated from some sort of community. At times it may feel as if God is punishing you for past sins or transgressions, but this guilt is rooted in shame that still permeates both campus and the Church. This is a problem Christians, especially students, must learn to resolve within their lives.

Before you drop everything you are doing and embark on a Kerouac-inspired road trip across America, it is important to remember that escapism is also not a healthy response to stress. Taking breaks from school and learning to engage in creative and often fun activities becomes necessary when our lives are constantly inflicted with stress.

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