Being both a biology and biochemistry major it is easier for me to define stress in biological terms. Stress is the body’s response to a stimulus, known as a stressor which varies from person to person. Stress is caused by activating the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for controlling fight-or-flight response. This response usually comes in the form of accelerated heart and breathing rate, dilation of the pupils, loss of hunger, and a bunch of other physiological stuff that you probably aren’t interested in hearing me list. What does that all mean? Stress is actually your body’s way of helping you rise to an occasion. The fight-or-flight response mentioned earlier helps to keep you alert and energetic. But when you have too much stress from different stressors, it becomes harmful rather than helpful.
This all sort of ties in with school as it is often times a big stressor for a lot of people, myself included. As we make the transition from September to October, we are approaching the midpoint of the semester. And it seems like that at this point the semester every professor assigns a midterm and/or paper all in the same week. I’m definitely facing that right now with two exams along with a multitude of papers all due this week. Listing and seeing all the things that I somehow have to get done this week is really intimidating and my immediate reaction is to start stressing and worrying over it. My immediate thoughts are “how in the world am I going to get all this work done all by myself?”
What I often times fail to realize that I don’t have to do all this in my own power. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Whether it feels like it or not, God is by our sides all the time, and at any time we can go to him and ask for his strength. Does that mean that God will magically make our worries disappear? No, but despite all the stressors we face, he can give us the strength to push forward instead of getting stuck and worrying.
As you all deal with life’s stressors, remember that you are not alone and that God is by your side just waiting for you to call on him.