Stress Management for College Students: Activities & Tips

Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Without a doubt, college is one of the most stressful times in a person's life. Luckily, there are many methods to combating this stress to live a healthier and more well-balanced life. Read this lesson to to find out more!

College Stress

When you first step foot on campus as a college freshman, you will often feel excitement, anticipation, and maybe a little bit of anxiety about moving to an unfamiliar environment. Yes, there are new friends to be made, knowledge to be learned, and memories to make, but successfully balancing it all can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming. The most important thing to understand is this: you are not alone. Most college students feel this way at one time or another, and there are tried-and-true methods to dealing with the stress.

What Is Stress?

Stress is the term used to describe how the body responds to demands (physical and mental) being placed on it. People who are stressed have trouble unwinding or relaxing because they feel uneasy about everything they need to get done.

Keep in mind that some stress is okay and can even help you be more productive. However, if you sense you're becoming over-stressed, to to the point that it's negatively affecting your life, it's important to make a change in behavior early. Stress can manifest itself into physical symptoms like headaches, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, mood swings, irritability, sadness, trouble sleeping, and frequent illness.

We're going to spend this lesson looking at a few methods that can help you successfully manage stress while you're working toward earning your degree.

Stress Management Techniques

Some of the following tips may seem obvious and many are cliche. However, these techniques for managing stress have the potential to work.

  • Keep a positive attitude and outlook on life: Our thoughts have an amazing ability to influence our mood, so if you focus on keeping positive and optimistic thoughts, your body will respond in a positive way.

  • Watch what you eat: Unfortunately, college students don't have the best track records when it comes to healthy eating. Midnight pizza orders are all too common simply because of convenience, but this can actually aggravate the body's response to stress. Our bodies and brains need a variety of nutrients to function optimally, so keep a small stash of fruits, veggies, and forms of protein (like mixed nuts or yogurt) available to curb those late-night cravings.

  • Stay hydrated: It's easy to over-consume energy drinks during those late-night study sessions, but your body also needs plain old water. Carry a refillable bottle with you so that you're getting plenty of H2O during the day.

Drinking plenty of water to keep the body hydrated can help reduce stress.
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