UK center ready to help students cope with stress

By Erica Mitchell

For a person who is stressed out, the world appears a little different than to others.

“The way we respond to the world really changes a lot when we are stressed,” said Linda Hellmich, a staff psychologist for the Counseling and Testing Center at UK.

Hellmich leads stress management groups that meet throughout the semester for students having trouble coping with stress.

Problems with stress hit students throughout the year, said UK health education specialist Fadyia Mohammed.

“A lot of college students tend to get really stressed at certain times of the year and it is usually due to being overwhelmed, having a lot on their plate and not managing their time well,” Mohammed said. “It is easy to do when you want to be social and you want to do everything that is fun.”

To reduce stress, Hellmich said there are four areas that students should address. Students should focus on eating nutritiously, finding time to exercise, sleeping well and using chemicals, such as alcohol and caffeine, in moderation.

Typical symptoms of stress include headaches, a weakened immune system, tenseness, the development of eating disorders and increased emotions, Mohammed said. Being over committed, not managing time well and practicing unhealthy lifestyles are some of the causes of stress.

But stress can also help enhance a person’s performance at times. The right amount of stress can produce hormones that make people more alert and give you bursts of energy, she said.

“We as humans typically perform a bit better when we are under a little stress,” Hellmich said.

Annie Lubicky, a Spanish and journalism junior, said she tends to procrastinate on assignments, but stress can sometimes help her to get the job done more efficiently.

“The adrenaline builds up and then I find it to be good stress because it helps me be more productive,” she said.

But too much stress for too long can leave a person moody, tense and tired, Hellmich said. These symptoms are the body’s reaction to having to deal with an increased workload and responsibilities, and its way of preparing to meet life’s demands.

A person will be unable to cope with stress when it reaches a certain point, Hellmich said.

Mohammed said too much stress also produces tension and frustration.

Exercising, listening to relaxing music, meditating and finding a support group, such as friends and family, can also help to relieve stress, Mohammed said.

Hellmich agreed and suggested that students take control of their schedule and establish priorities to help manage their workload.

“And make sure to give yourself time to play and sleep,” Hellmich said.

Students who need help managing stress can contact the Counseling and Testing Center at (859) 257-8701 or visit its Web site ( for more information about individual therapy, groups and workshops.