How to Stress Less: An interview with Maria Pascucci of

campuscalm_com_refl.jpgI’m happy to announce that I’ve just signed on as a “networking expert” with Campus Calm, a website that promises to help college students manage their stress and personal well-being. The site was founded by Maria Pascucci, a reformed “stressaholic and perfectionist,” who had the brilliant idea to provide a forum and tools for college students dealing with stress.

Check out my interview with Maria to learn more about Campus Calm and how it can help you:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Campus Calm?

Maria: In 2001, I graduated summa cum laude from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. I had a double major, two minors and I worked both on and off campus. My resume was perfect, but I was a wreck. I was burnt out, battling anxiety induced health problems and a paralyzing uncertainty about my future. During my last final exam, I ran out of the classroom when my professor started handing out exam booklets, bolted for the nearest bathroom, locked myself in a stall and, for the first time in my life, had a full-blown panic attack.

Through counseling and soul-searching after graduation, I ditched my inner perfectionist. Now I’m on a mission: To spread a dose of “Campus Calm” to stressed-out students and recent college graduates world-wide so you don’t have to suffer needlessly like I did.

Q: You talk about being a “stressaholic” in college. I can relate. How can you tell if you’re a stressaholic – what are the symptoms?

Maria: Based on my personal experience:

• Change in sleep patterns (too much sleep or too little sleep)
• Change in eating habits (either too much or too little)
• Becoming angry over “nothing” or crying very easily
• Frequent stomachaches, headaches, skin breaking out
• Constant negative self-thoughts and worry over everyday things
• Withdrawing from friends and loved ones.

Q: What are some steps a stressaholic can take to live a calmer existence?

Maria: Here are a few suggestions:

• Avoid catastrophic thinking and correct with rational thoughts. “Oh my God, I got a C on my quiz, I’m not going to graduate with honors, I’m not going to get into grad school, I’m not going to find a good job, I’m not going to be successful, I’m going to live with my parents forever and eat Ramen Noodles in the basement.” Sound familiar? Stop!

• Listen to your body’s cues. I was recently working way too hard and stressing out. I had trouble sleeping, my skin broke out and I wanted to punch a wall. How’s that for some campus calm? So I slowed down, made sure I made enough time to sleep eight hours that week and I loaded up on nutrient-rich foods, herbal teas and juices. I definitely felt better within days … and my skin cleared up too!

• Develop resilience. Read books like The Resiliency Advantage and The Power of Failure.

• Practice gratitude. From one high achiever to another, good health is an achievement to be VERY proud of.

Q: Share some scary stats with us about the dangers of stress.

Maria: In an article published on, Herbert Benson, MD, founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute, said that chronic stress can lead to the following stress-related symptoms:

* Anxiety
* Depression
* Excessive anger and hostility
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)
* Insomnia
* Heart irregularities
* Recently it has been demonstrated that stress is a risk factor for heart attacks

And there are a number of gender issues directly related to stress.

* In men: decreased sperm count, decreased sexual performance
* In women: PMS, infertility, and menopausal hot flashes made worse by stress

Q: Those are scary! Calm us down–tell us about your forthcoming book!

Maria: I’m very excited to be releasing my first book for back-to-school 2008. It’s called Campus Calm University: The college student’s 10-step blueprint to stop stressing and create your happy, purpose-driven life. If you’d like to learn more about my book, I invite you to check out and sign up for our free Stress-Less kit, which includes an excerpt from my book. You will also receive a free subscription to Campus Calm Connections, our weekly e-newsletter.

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hi, i'm lindsey!

Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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