It is important to realize that stress isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Stress can be good up to the point where it interferes with your tasks. In other words, you could be under good stress, or under bad stress, depending on how this particular stress affects you. For example, if you are stressing out because you’re having a hard time with a particular section of the GRE, your stress could do two different things:

  • Push you to study harder, be motivated, and be even more prepared for the test
  • Interfere with your study sessions by distracting your thoughts and preventing you from focusing on the task at hand

This is why we talk about good stress and bad stress. It can have a positive or negative impact on you, depending on how you manage it. While one will serve as a source of motivation (good stress), the other will interfere with the task at hand and distract you from the end goal (bad stress).

You certainly shouldn’t worry if you are experiencing good stress, which helps you focus and pushes you to work even harder to achieve your goals. For example, if you are a music student preparing for an audition, good stress could stimulate your performance. Good stress could push an athlete to train even harder, or a student to study longer. Good stress usually comes in short bursts and will help you get through a particular event – it is usually associated with adrenaline. Think about a mid-term exam; even if you’ve prepared yourself thoroughly for the evaluation, you may still experience a burst of anxiety or stress a few minutes before the exam. However, this quick stress response will help you pull through each and every question successfully. This is what good stress is; it has a positive impact on your life and daily activities and act as a motivator.

On the other hand, your normal bursts of stress could develop into bad stress, which will interfere with your daily life and will have a negative impact on the outcome of a situation. Bad stress is often associated with helplessness – when you feel as though you have no control. When you are suffering from bad stress, the simplest things often become a challenge. The following symptoms of stress will help you evaluate if your stress is crossing the line from good to bad.

  • Being unable to sleep
  • Being constantly tired even when well rested
  • Being short-tempered and getting irritated easily
  • Being unfocused and forgetful
  • Being more emotional than usual
  • Having increasingly negative thoughts
  • Using poor judgment
  • Changing eating habits
  • Getting sick more often
  • Developing nervous habits such as nail biting

Depending on your situation, you may experience stress at different moments. For example, you could experience stress before an oral presentation at school, while preparing for an important exam or while waiting for your school acceptance letter. Stress affects each student in a different way and you’ll quickly discover that the most efficient stress management techniques depend on the ways you exhibit stress.

Knowing which stress symptoms you exhibit can also help you to realize when you need to take a step back and refocus your energy on studying rather than being nervous.

This Blog is an excerpt from Conquer the GRE: Stress Management & A Perfect Study Plan by Vibrant Publishers

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