How to Manage Stress during Your MBA

images (1)Business schools may incorporate success, grit and skills in your life. But, it also attracts stress—the necessary evil lurking behind the badge of honour. Being an MBA candidate is stressful. In fact, it is very stressful.

It all starts with the anxiety of a pending approval, the stress of getting accepted. Then it turns into the ceaseless pressure of staying ahead in class and finally, the rush for getting a job. Above all, MBA is a filthy expensive degree for many. Students burn midnight oil to finish their lengthy dissertation along with education loan tightening around the neck.

Academic stress has a formidable existence in a student’s life. American College Counselling Association in 2012 reported that almost 37% of college students suffer from acute psychological problems. A survey was conducted on 228 counsellors; more than 75% of them arrived at the same conclusion. For the last 5 years, there has been a steady growth in major crises calling for immediate attention. 42% noticed a rising number of self-injury while 24% have witnessed a swell in eating disorders.

How to get rid of stress and optimize your on-campus life in a cool, calm and collected manner?

Technique #1 Keep a “De-Stress Journal”. Spot the stressor and weed it out. List at least 10 different things that generate stress and try to alleviate them. Compile a list of the people, objects and occurrences that unsettle you. If you cannot entirely steer clear of them, try to invent ways to minimize the stress associated with them. For example, if a classmate’s obnoxious sense of humour upsets you, try to avoid his/her company.

Technique #2 Make realistic commitments. An MBA student needs to strike “work-life” equilibrium. So, be it an optional assignment, or friends, party, part-time job, hobbies among a lot other things—trace how much stress each element in your life involves. Accept your limitations and do not make empty promises which swing back at you as a stress Boomerang. Be bluntly honest to yourself and others. Say ‘yes’ to only what you can actually execute.

Technique #3 Don’t give procrastination another chance. MBA Students are largely found to pile up assignment after assignment till the eleventh hour. Marketing Management, Economics, Finance and Statistics are quite demanding subjects. Unless you start writing early, you cannot expect to wave a magic wand and finish your 15,000 word dissertation writing in time! Allowing the syllabus to accumulate till the deadline looms uncomfortably close is a common mistake we all fall prey to. Cultivate a “do-it” attitude to fight off stress.

Technique #4 Clear up your desk. Clutters, and crumpled papers, open assignments and notes littered haphazardly can hinder your urge for getting things done in time. A disorganized desk or even a messed up folder lists in your laptop can be depressing. Don’t let it turn into a way of life. Make a breathing space for your creativity. You’ll be surprised to experience the outcome, how calm and relaxed you feel when things are in order.

Technique #5 A cup of warm tea can considerably ease up the tension. Try not to indulge in energy drinks or coffee. A large amount of caffeine may make you feel instantly better as they generate a short-term jolt in blood pressure. But, they don’t practically relieve you. It only prompts your hypothalamic-adrenalin-pituitary link to get overcharged, which attracts no benefit in the long run. But green tea is healthy as it contains a moderate amount of caffeine and antioxidants. It will help you gulp down your stress to some extent as well as rendering you hale and hearty.

Technique #6 Splash come cold water in your face when you sense the “stress-o-meter” is shooting higher than normal. Drink lots of water to soothe your heated nerves. This is an on-spot, proactive solution to tackle an MBA interview or a group discussion. Water flushes out the harmful toxins which has a relaxing impact on the body and the muscles.

Technique #7 Get active. Craft a fitness regime. Of course it’s impossible to go surfing or trekking in the middle of a semester when your head is crammed with “Finance Statement Analysis” and “Reward Management”. But at least, hit a local gym once in a while. Or, breathe fresh air in the open. Online games don’t count. But, when nothing else is available, they can also provide a comic relief when you’re facing a stressful situation.

Several stress factors can vitally damage a student’s potential. Students should always be encouraged to consult health professionals and educators to excel in academic sphere. An MBA degree is meant to enhance the managerial skills of a candidate. How do you expect to manage an organization unless you can deftly manage your own stress? It’s your call.


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