4 Ways to Salvage Your Mental Health in College

Written by  //  2013/05/24  //  Good Health  //  3 Comments

1. Use Caffeine

The drug Adderall, which is prescribed for those who suffer from ADD and ADHD, is extremely popular on college campuses. Whether students suffer from the disorder or not, they use the pill to help them study for exams and focus in class. Adderall is effective in the short-term, but studies now show the long-term effects of abusing the drug can be damaging, both mentally and physically.

For all the negative stigma that follows caffeine, moderate doses can be an effective and healthy way to stay alert in class and while studying. It’s also much cheaper and more legal than your pill-shaped alternative. There can be serious charges for illegally buying or selling Adderall on campus.

Bonus: If you’re feeling over-caffeinated, eat a banana to alleviate some of the uncomfortable jitters.

2. Take Breaks

Binging is never good when referring to college habits, and studying is no exception. Students who study more will likely get better grades, but sitting in the library for eight hours without looking away from your notes isn’t healthy. Aside from stress to your eyes and body for sitting and focusing on a computer screen for hours at a time, the mental weight of binge-studying can not only cause stress, but is actually proven to be a less effective method of studying altogether.

Every 60 minutes do something that’s not studying or school related. It can be anything — walk a lap around the library, have a quick laugh at your favorite funniest pictures on Break, talk to a friend you’re studying with — anything that gives your brain a break from the task at hand can go a long way in keeping your sanity.

Bonus: Pulling an all-nighter before the exam is a lousy idea. Assuming you’ve seen the material at least once in the past, you’re much more likely to remember what you study on a good night’s sleep compared to a last-minute effort.

3. Get a “Self-Control” App

Now that, almost all college studying is done on a laptop, distractions like Facebook and other social networks seem always to get in the way. Apps like SelfControl for Mac will temporarily block email, specified web sites and incoming messages when you’re focusing on your work. You’d be surprised to see how those quick Facebook checks add up throughout the day.

Bonus: Create a desktop on your computer free of clutter icons, files, links to other sites get rid of everything that isn’t a Word file for your paper and a web browser for research.

4. Exercise

We talked about the effect of exercise on the body during the college years, but it can have an ever more positive effect in mind, as well. Exercise doesn’t have to be 90 minutes at the gym or a 5k run around the campus. It can be a five-minute walk around the library between chapters or get a bike to ride to spots around town that might otherwise be a short car ride.

Bonus: Try taking the stairs to class instead of the elevator. The calories you burn by ignoring the easy ride will add up.

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