25 Ways to Stress Less…

Posted December 1st, 2009 by Maria Pascucci and filed in College Grad to Student, Stress
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StressedWhen you’re stressed, it’s so tempting to reach for that cigarette, chill out with a beer, or ransack the Oreo’s. We’ve been taught to be a consumerist culture, after all. Marketers spend billions of dollars each year to make sure we know that there’s a product out there waiting to fix all our problems. While there’s nothing wrong with businesses spending money to educate the public about their products and services, there is plenty wrong with manipulating the public, especially young people, into believing that stress management can be bought. True stress management happens when students are empowered with the knowledge that they are in charge of their own destinies, including how they manage their stress.

We cannot solely blame advertising and absolve ourselves from responsibility as passive victims. Think about it. How many of us grew up observing how the adults around us managed stress?  Did we adopt the same practices? Do we reach for a beer to unwind after class or work? Do we light up a cigarette to calm our nerves before a big exam or job interview? Do we turn to ice cream when we’re feeling lonely or bored? Do we rely on caffeine to rev us up during the day and sleeping pills to calm us down at night? Do we want to pass those types of coping skills down to our future children? Don’t we want to create a better way?

If you want to stop turning to addicting products to help you manage your stress, help is here! My interns, Kristen Szustakowski, Mike Madril, Colleen Kersten and I created a laundry list of our favorite ways to manage stress … before you reach for that cigarette, beer, late or pint of Cherry Garcia. If you have your own stress-less ideas, send them to maria@campuscalm.com.

Follow the link to read the 25 Stress Tips www.campuscalm.com/25_stresstips.html

Learn how to Take Charge of Your Mental Health

Posted October 22nd, 2009 by collegemomindebt and filed in College Grad to Student
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Campus Calm had the opportunity to speak with Ross Szabo, our Mental Health Survival expert about ways to reduce the stigma surrounding student mental health. Szabo is ithe Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (NMHAC).

Ross SzaboHe seeks to use his personal experience with mental disorders to raise awareness and provide a positive example for young people nationwide. After he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16, Ross was hospitalized in his senior year of high school for wanting to take his own life. Ten months later, he was forced to take a medical leave of absence from American University and was hospitalized again due to a relapse. Ross returned to American University in the fall of 2000 and began to use his broad understanding of mental health to educate others. Ross graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in psychology from American University with honors in May of 2002.

Ross has recently written a book titled, Behind Happy Faces; Taking Charge of Your Mental Health: A Guide for Young Adults.

Campus Calm asked Ross a series of questions regarding mental health on campus. Read the questions and his response here.

Keeping Friendship Loss in Perspective – Stress Less Tip

Posted September 24th, 2009 by Maria Pascucci and filed in College Grad to Student, Stress
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Best friendsThrough the power of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with a friend from high school this morning. We were best friends in 9th and 10th grade, but as things tend to happen in our teen years, our friendship fell apart. I was devastated. I wrote through my pain even back then. I recovered. I lost other friends through the years as I transitioned into college, and later, as I transitioned into the woman I am today. Each time I lost a friend, I learned a new lesson:

Accept what you cannot control. Did you have a falling out with your friend? Have you tried to apologize to no avail? Are you spending all your time focusing on how angry you are with your friend because she hurt you, or perhaps you hurt her and now one of you refuses to try to forgive the other?

Consider trying to accept that while you cannot control your friend’s behavior, you can control your own. Take this opportunity to do a little self-investigation. What can you gain from your fallout with your friend? What mistakes did you make that you can learn from and never repeat again? Can you grieve the loss of your friendship while letting go of your anger? Can you forgive your friend because you know that forgiveness makes you a calmer person? What did you learn about true friendship? Would a true friend be unforgiving? How can you be a better friend in the future? And the oh-so-important question: How can you be a better friend to yourself as well?

We walk through many stages of our lives with our friends. Sometimes our friendships survive the transitions. Sometimes they don’t. Blame is useless. So is holding onto anger in the long run. They both prevent us from embracing the lessons. After we take the time to ask ourselves the tough questions, find our answers and learn our lessons–if we’re lucky– we’ll meet our long-lost friends again someday when we’re wiser, stronger, independent people, able to walk through a new stage in life, together.

In the meantime, focus on being the best friend you can be to the one person who is with you straight to the end, the one person who will never leave you … Y-O-U.

Written by Maria Pascucci.  Maria is the founder and president of <http://www.CampusCalm.com> and author of the award-winning book, Campus Calm University: The College Student’s 10-Step Blueprint to Stop Stressing & Create a Happy, Purposeful Life <http://www.CampusCalmBook.com>.

Stressed Out Students Need Solutions

Posted September 3rd, 2009 by Maria Pascucci and filed in College Grad to Student, Stress

Every day, in both my personal and professional life, I deal with stressed-out college students and the fallout from their over-managed, ultra-achieving, anxiety-ridden lives.

From a college senior: Worry over GPA has caused me to suffer stomach problems, headaches, insomnia and panic attacks requiring medication. I am afraid to complete this huge project worth 50 percent of my grade because I’m afraid it won’t be ‘good enough.’ Why? I have a 3.95 GPA and now I’m terrified of ‘blowing it.’ AHAHAH. How can I give this up & not let it rule my life?

A new survey released last month by mtvU and the Associated Press reveals that 85 percent of students reported feeling stressed on a daily basis.  Academic concerns like school work and grades topped the list of stressors beating out other stressors such as financial woes even in today’s economy. The 2,200 college students polled across 40 colleges and universities paint a grim picture.

As 1.6 million kids walk across the stage at graduation, one wonders what their most salient college memories will be. Falling in love? Discovering Plato? Tutoring low income kids?  According to a new study, it might just be that overwhelming stress is the most resonant memory. It shouldn’t be this way. While I’m grateful to mtvU and the Associated Press for raising awareness of student stress, it’s time we all focus on practical, positive solutions that today’s students crave. We can start by telling young people:

1. “Being perfect in college isn’t the gateway to success and happiness; learning and creating relationships are. Building networks and being excited about something does translate into jobs.”

Eight years ago, I graduated summa cum laude from college while completing a double major and a minor. My résumé was perfect, but I was a wreck. I battled anxiety, depression and insomnia because of the unrealistic expectations I’d placed on myself to be the best. Today, I’m the president of CampusCalm.com, a national organization that empowers students to prioritize their health before they graduate. Employers look for resilient, energetic, creative young employees; not one hiring manager cared about the summa cum laude notation on the top of my résumé.

2. “You are more than the measure of your GPA.”

Too many students measure their self-worth by their academic accomplishments. They’re terrified to take a chance on learning if it means earning a less-than-perfect grade in the process. That is a tragedy because it undermines the whole purpose for being in school in the first place.

Here’s what we all can do: Pull a young person aside today and tell her why you think she’s great just because she laughs at your jokes, smears ketchup on potato chips, peanut butter and jelly on waffles (thanks Dad!), or sings rather badly in the shower. In other words, tell someone why they’re special in any way that cannot be measured by a letter grade.

3. “Success starts with self-love.”

Our society sends some harmful messages about what it means to be successful. A few years ago, I remember reading about a powerful female executive featured in Glamour Magazine. She said, “The secret to my success is Starbucks coffee. I think if you’re willing to sacrifice some sleep, you can do anything you’ve always wanted, whether it’s writing a book or running a marathon.” There is nothing self-loving about not giving our bodies the rest they need.

55 percent of college students reported experiencing sleep troubles at least several days in the two week period in which they were polled, and 69 percent reported feeling tired or having little energy.

Some well-intentioned parents, policy makers and educators worry that if they tell high-achieving students that it’s okay to not stress over every single grade, test, paper and résumé builder, their students will turn into slackers and their grades will plummet. Rest assured, high-achieving students will still reach their potential. They will still be leaders. But even if a student’s GPA happens to drop one semester from a 4.0 to a 3.65 but he learns resilience in the process, that student gave himself a gift far more valuable than a measly fraction of a point could measure.

America needs a cultural shift both inside and outside of the classroom. As a friend wisely told me, “Accolades and A’s are not what life, ultimately, is about.”

~ Maria Pascucci is the founder and president of CampusCalm.com and author of the award-winning book, Campus Calm University: The College Student’s 10-Step Blueprint to Stop Stressing & Create a Happy, Purposeful Life

10 Affirmations to Calm College Student Stress

Posted August 28th, 2009 by Maria Pascucci and filed in College Grad to Student, Stress

Campuscalm.com’s spotlights’ college stress awareness with ’10 Affirmations to Calm College Student Stress’.  Post this page of tips in your college room to help you stay focused on healthy ways to help relieve stress.  Follow the link at http://www.studentassistanceplan.com/pdfs/10_affirmations.pdf

Introducing Maria Pascucci

Posted August 20th, 2009 by Maria Pascucci and filed in College Grad to Student
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mariaMaria Pascucci is the founder and President of www.campuscalm.com, and the author of the award-winning book, Campus Calm University: The College Student’s 10-step Blueprint to Stop Stressing & Create a Happy, Purposeful Life.   Earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English with a concentration in Writing and Women’s Studies, Maria is a summa cum laude graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.  Maria travels, speaking to college students as she helps to spread a dose of “campus calm” to over-stressed out students around the globe.

To learn more about Maria Pascucci, go to her website at http://www.campuscalm.com