Coping With Anxiety Caused by Social and Academic Requirements
Continuing education can produce unusual stress for adults, especially those with full-time employment and families. Using effective stress management techniques helps cope with anxiety, along with maintaining a balance between the academic and social aspects of life. Adult learners can learn to avoid stress-producing situations when they do not let one thing dominate them, such as school work, relationships, and work.
Anxiety causes adult learners to develop stress management strategies to control perceived unhappiness as a result of academic or life events, which they perceive they have little or no control over. This anxiety is often caused by a view, driven home in most work places, that there is one perfect solution to every problem. These adults are challenged in academic learning situations with views that there is often more than one perfect solution to a problem.
Managing Stress: Developing Coping Skills
Effective time management is just one of many ways adult learners can keep from succumbing to stress overload when enrolled in continuing education courses. Here is a list of some other methods of stress management for developing academic and social survival skills.
Flexibility – it’s easier to deal with life’s problems by separating them from academic situations. For example, forgetting about an exam after studying hard for and passing the exam. Separating school work from life is a flexible skill needed by all adult learners for coping with stress.
Do Not Over React – thinking before reacting to a perceived hurtful comment or act by another student or course instructor keeps stress levels low and avoids blowing things out of proportion.
Remain Open-Minded – it is often too easy to blame misunderstandings on a course instructor. Negative attitudes are sometimes influenced by students with pessimistic attitudes. Avoiding these students can lead to enjoyment of new learning experiences and realistic views.
Participate and Meet New People – one of the best approaches to coping with academic and social stress is to be outgoing in class and joining classmates after class on occasions.
Remain Strong – do not sweat the small stuff or take things too seriously. Keeping a sense of humor at all times will lead to keeping academic and social requirements in perspective.
Test Anxiety: Eliminating Examination Stress
Test anxiety is common for adults returning to or first enrolling in continuing education courses. It is not uncommon for adult learners to feel some level of anxiety in testing situations. However, for some adults, test anxiety is so intense that it negatively affects their academic success. Here is a list of recommendations for examination stress management.
Be Positive – a positive attitude goes a long way towards decreasing test anxiety.
Prepare for Tests – a proper amount of study and preparation considering personal learning style leads to passing examinations.
Ignore Classmates – do not spend time checking classmates’ reaction to a test. If they appear anxious or have an over confident look, anxiety may take hold or develop unnecessary stress.
Keep Exams in Perspective – although examinations are important, they are not life or death situations. No employer will ever ask about grades on specific exams; employers are only concerned with overall academic performance.
Coping With Stress: Dealing With Academics and Life
The following are stress management strategies for adult learners for coping with pressure and dealing with academic or social anxiety.
Communicate – do not bottle up problems; share them with a trusted person. Often verbalizing a problem can help see things in a different light.
Take a Break – taking a short break from a difficult situation will lead to a different frame of mind. Do not expect perfection, no one is perfect and setting standards too high will lead to undue stress. For example taking a break from writing assignments when writers anxiety creeps in, often leads to greater success after returning a short time later.
Time Management – occasionally work, social expectations, and academics reach a point of feeling overwhelmed. Do not get discouraged; develop a time-based plan based on importance of items requiring attention.
Frustration Release – often the act of releasing frustration through intense activities eases stress.
Focus on Important Items – letting go of unimportant items is often a great stress reliever. Prioritizing academic and social responsibilities leads to success.
Do not Procrastinate – often adult learners choose procrastination over assignment completion because they are trying to avoid doing something they really and sincerely do not want to do. It is critical that procrastination be avoided regardless of academic or social responsibilities.
These are also supported by seven habits of successful learners.
Making Connections: Stress Management Techniques and Anxiety Relief
One characteristic of adult learners who are successfully completing courses is that they develop a plan for success. Often managing and coping with stress or anxiety is eliminated by simply making lists of everything that must be accomplished. Prioritizing this list based on importance provides anxiety relief, along with successfully completing continuing education goals.