Tips for Stress

We all have stress in our lives. Some stress adds flavor, challenge, and excitement. Too much stress, however, can cause problems. Here are 10 techniques to help you manage stress.

  • Learn To Relax. Throughout the day, take mini-breaks. Sit down and get comfortable. Slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. At the same time, let your shoulder muscles droop and relax your body. Visualize a pleasant, restful scene and say something positive, such as, "I am relaxed".
  • Practice Acceptance. Many people get distressed over things they feel they can’t accept. Often these are things that are not under their control, like someone else’s feelings, beliefs, or behavior. Try to let go of things over which you have no control, and see how much lighter your feel.
  • Talk Rationally To Yourself. Ask yourself what real impact the stressful situation will have on you in a day or a week. Are you feeling aggravated by a temporary situation? Try to imagine how large this problem will loom given the passage of time.
  • Get Organized. Develop a realistic schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily To Do list to help you use your time and energy as efficiently as possible. Improve your physical surroundings by cleaning your room and work area.
  • Try Physical Activity. Physical activity has been proven to provide relief from stress. Develop a regular exercise program to help reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress. Try walking, aerobics, jogging, dancing, or swimming--any physical activity you enjoy will work.
  • Reduce Time Urgency. Practice the notion of pace, not race. If you frequently check your watch or worry about being late, allow more time than you think you will need to get things done. The reduction in the amount of stress you feel as you go through your daily tasks will be a reward in itself.
  • Don’t Dwell on Contrasts. Competition breeds stress. Learn to notice the similarities between yourself and others rather than the differences. In so doing, you will replace separateness, greed, and jealousy with compassion, connectedness, and harmony.
  • Balance Work and Fun. Balance school and work demands with some fun and private time. Hobbies are good antidotes for daily pressures. Unwind by taking a quiet stroll, watching a sunset, enjoying time spent with friends or simple activities.
  • Watch Your Habits. Eat sensibly - a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy you will need during the day. Avoid non-prescription drugs and minimize your alcohol use - you need to be mentally and physically alert to deal with stress. Be mindful of the effects of excessive caffeine on nervousness.
  • Talk To Friends. Friends can be good medicine. Daily doses of conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of deep feelings and thoughts can reduce stress quite nicely.

Counseling and Psychological Services offers free, confidential personal counseling to help you deal with stress management issues.