Procrastination brings on stress

Ever been tired of being tired? Many students around campus are wearing themselves out. Students stress because they procrastinate, and procrastinate because of stressful workloads.

Lanell Howell, 19, a psychology student from New Smyrna Beach, said although it has been stressful, she can’t seem to get out of the procrastination cycle.

“I’m a procrastinator. That’s me. I need to stop, but when I get a chance to get on top of things, I have another test coming up,” Howell said. “And when I have free time, I’m tired.”

It is a cycle that is doing more than causing poor grades and sleepy eyes, according to Donna Gillette, owner and director of the Stress and Pain Management Center of North Florida.

Stress is caused when an excessive amount of adrenaline is dispersed throughout the body to handle a stressful or challenging situation, according to Gillette. When too much adrenaline is stored in the body, it’s like storing a poison that causes a number of health problems, including heart attacks.

“Stress kills,” Gillette said.

Gillette defined stress as the body and mind’s reactions to a stressor.

“We have two gears,” Gillette said. “We have the everyday, ordinary gear, and we have an emergency gear that elicits a fight or flight response.”

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, stress has a number of symptoms. These include physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, muscular tension, headaches, colds or other illnesses; as well as emotional symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed and cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness.

Howell, a full-time student and part-time movie theatre employee, has found herself in stressful situations.

“I remember one time I had a cold, a fever, everything. I was sick, but I had four exams to take, so I went to class and took them. I had to,” Howell said.

This is why Gillette and other psychologists recommend exercising as a way to burn excessive adrenaline and relieve stress.

Another way is to stop procrastinating, said Larry Kubiak, director of psychology at the Tallahassee Memorial Health Center.

“There are those perpetual adrenaline junkies that tend to enjoy doing things at the last minute,” Kubiak said. “Most of us tend to get out of whack when we do that, so you should avoid it if possible.”

For students like Howell who find themselves stressed and defeated in trying to stay ahead of their studies, the UF Counseling Center suggests becoming more organized and using time management skills.

“I know I have to change,” Howell said. “In high school I didn’t have to study. Now, it’s different.”

Getting rid of bad habits doesn’t come easily for most.

“None of us change until we have to change,” Kubiak said. “Not until what you’re doing doesn’t work.”

Doctors say that two major preventors of stress are eating right and getting the proper amount of sleep.

“If you’re doing junk in, junk out, don’t be surprised if you don’t do your best work,” Kubiak said.

Gillette also suggested undergoing professional stress management to relieve stress.

“There’s a way to train your mind and body to integrate,” Gillette said. “Then, you’ll have a pocketful of techniques to keep yourself calm, nip it in the bud and shake off stress. You’ll be able to stay calm even though you want to freak out.”