Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Tips for students to get on top of things:

Exams, relationships, hobbies, sport - young people often don't know how to coordinate all their activities. Their first step has to be to find out what's really important to them so that things that are a waste of time stay out of their daily routine.
Date: August 21 2012
Tags: school, tips, studying,
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There are students whose schedules are so packed they have to find time to study, prepare presentations, go to sport, practise a musical instrument and, of course, meet friends - all in the course of a week.

When they start to feel like their schedules are bursting at the seams, young people can start to feel the negative effect of the stress on their health. But there are a few tricks they can try to prevent things from going that far.

"It is important for students to evaluate themselves and find out what in their lives pleases them the most," says Germany-based stress researcher and neurobiologist professor Gerald Huether.

Students should ask themselves what things they are developing a passion for and what their true talents are. These are questions that youths should ask themselves honestly and calmly if they start feeling overwhelmed.

"You really have to sit down and quietly consider these questions," Heuther says. Afterwards you can start to set priorities and let the calendar clear on its own.

"People who know what they want are not overwhelmed by all the demands made on them."

Students also should think about their social lives, says Werner Tiki Kuestenmacher, an author and time management expert in Germany who has spent years looking at the effects of stress on young people.

"Youths have to understand what direction they want to take and who among their acquaintances are truly friends," says Kuestenmacher.

Young people often let themselves be influenced by people their own age who have completely different goals. This could dissuade the young person from his or her original goals and increase the pressure on them.

Running from pressure and responsibilities is, of course, not always possible. When this is the case, students should start by working on what they find least appealing, says Kuestenmacher.

Rewards such as taking a leisurely stroll or going to the movies should only come for having fulfilled responsibilities. Or pleasant things can be combined with practical things - studying with a friend before going out to eat together or going to play football, for example.

An ideal situation is when young people manage to develop a true interest for a school subject and follow that interest intently. Then they no longer perceive working on it as a burden.

Holger Domsch, a school psychologist in Muenster, Germany, recommends using Post-It notes when students are under stress. "The best approach is to write all responsibilities on small notes and stick them on the door of a cupboard. Whenever you have completed a task, throw the note into the wastepaper basket," he says.

This is a way of making the success of having completed a task visible and it helps prompt a feeling of being in control. It is exactly the feeling of losing control and not being able to accomplish everything that results in chronic stress.

Stress is meant to be a positive reaction to a situation, says Domsch. It becomes problematic and unhealthy when it turns into a permanent condition. This makes finding sufficient time for sport all the more important. "People who exhaust themselves physically through sport automatically reduce stress," he says.

Studying for the entire day and then going to the gym to sweat is not, however, an ideal mix. Variety and balance also are important.

Young people should therefore not ignore non-sport hobbies such as theatre, music or art courses. Kuestenmacher added that it is not recommended for young people to continue a hobby only because their parents want them to.

This doesn't mean that young people have to give up everything.

Instead they can look for things that are related. 

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