Stress Management

Once aware of a high degree of stress, it is helpful to identify those situations or experiences that typically evoke tension or worry.

An effective way of pinpointing stressors is by keeping a stress diary in which stressful situations are recorded as they occur. This requires becoming aware of your individual physiological, behavioral, and cognitive signs of stress. A diary would include date, time of day, location, who you were with, what you were doing, symptoms of stress and stress rating (e.g. 1 to 10). By noting these experiences, you can come to understand your own personal stressors and your unique stress pattern. This will help in formulating a plan to reduce the level of stress in your life.

The following are a few tips on how to manage stress:

  • Set realistic, clear goals and prioritize your time. Evaluate goals periodically, and have the flexibility to modify them when appropriate. Many college students take on too many activities without considering which ones are truly important and/or rewarding. If you find yourself overly stressed, consider letting go of some of your activities that you are only doing because you feel you “should.”
  • Deal with both success and failure with a balanced attitude. Recognize that disappointing/negative experiences are a natural part of the cycles of life. Use crises as opportunities for growth, and to reaffirm values and break unhealthy patterns.
  • Don’t “drift along” in troublesome or emotionally draining relationships or situations. Take steps to resolve the problems, or consider ending the relationship or experience.
  • Make time to be with significant others in relationships that are trusting and reciprocal, and that leaves you feeling energized.
  • Find time every day for some form of relaxation or fun, such as watching your favorite show, exercising, laughing with a friend, or spending needed time alone.