Stress Management | Academic Skills Center

This page focuses on what stress is and looks at some general stress busters to help you out.

Stress: The Facts

What It Is

  • An emotional/bodily reaction to physical, psychological or emotional demands.
  • It can be useful and healthy (viewing events as challenges).
  • Unmanaged stress can become distressful and unhealthy (viewing events as threats).

Causes

  • Expectations we place on ourselves
  • Expectations of others
  • Physical environment—noise, movement, weather, season changes
  • Internal environment—academic pressure, frustration, not enough time, decisions, social life

Symptoms

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; feeling tense, irritable, fatigued or depressed
  • Lack of interest and ability to concentrate; apathy
  • Avoidance behaviors: abuse of drugs, alcohol, tobacco

Stress Busters

Tips for handling stress

  • Add balance to life; don’t overdo studies or play.
  • Know and accept what kind of person you are: strengths and weaknesses.
  • Get a thorough physical exam.
  • Take “time-outs,” especially during study.
  • Expand your support network, reinforce friendships.
  • Spend time with people who are not stressed.
  • Discuss problems with friends, family, dean or counselor.
  • Exercise! It relieves bodily tension and increases oxygen flow to your brain!
  • Walk loosely and walk more.
  • Learn and practice relaxation skills.
  • Focus on immediate issues.
  • Study each subject regularly for moderate periods of time.
  • Credit yourself when things go right!
  • Assume your challenges are all solvable
  • Concentrate on your breathing – see below for deep breathing exercises
  • Assume your troubles are temporary rather than permanent.
  • Get a massage!

Attitude Is Everything

Attitude is important—it affects:

  1. How successful you are in achieving your academic and personal goals
  2. How you feel, mentally and physically
  3. How you look, what you say and what you do.

7 Easy Ways to Develop a Positive Attitude:

  1. Be confident.
  2. Be positive.
  3. Be punctual.
  4. Be patient: some things just take time to do.
  5. Believe in yourself: you are unique in this world, and so are your talents.
  6. Set goals for yourself: then WORK hard to achieve them.
  7. Get fun out of life: don’t take yourself too seriously.

Positive Thinking 🙂

Negative Thinking 🙁

Planning Ahead

“I’ll make a schedule”

Carelessness

“It doesn’t matter.”

Willingness to learn

“I’ll ask for help.”

Fatalism

“If it happens, it happens

Alertness

“I’ll concentrate and pay attention.”

Passiveness

“It’s not interesting.”

Knowing your goals

“I want to improve.”

Ignorance

“I don’t understand it.”

Faith

“I’ll try my best.”

Cynicism

“It’s not worth my time.”

Willingness

“I’ll work on it now.”

Laziness

“It’s too much trouble.”

Adapted by Rachel Fleming ’00 from the pamphlet “Your Attitude and You” by Channing L. Bete Co., Inc.

Additional Resources

  • Managing Stress and Anger (University of Maryland Medical Center)
  • Stress: Is It Your Major? (University of Michigan)
  • Stress Relief Strategies (New York Univeristy)

“There’s a lot of stress out there, and to handle it, you just need to believe in yourself; always go back to the person that you know you are, and don’t let anybody tell you any different…” ~McKayla Maroney

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