Managing Stress

Within the last 12 months, 29.4% of Stan State students reported stress as the number one factor affecting their individual academic performance.*

*Factors affecting academic performance were defined as: received a lower grade on an exam or an important project; received a lower grade in the course; received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research, or practicum work (ACHA-NCHA II).

What is stress?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of physical or emotional tension. It is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious.  Stress can be positive (starting a new job); known as eustress. Stress can also be negative (financial problems); known as distress. Negative stress can be harmful when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and unable to manage.

Symptoms of Stress

Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Other common symptoms include:

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Tension and irritability
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling numb
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Feeling powerless
  • Crying
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches, back pain, and stomach problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression

Tips for Self-Care

  • Find support
    • Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, etc. Having a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress can really lighten the burden.
  • Connect socially
    • It can be easy to isolate yourself when you’re feeling stressed. Make sure that you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activities with your friends, partner, or family.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
    • They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stress – instead of take it away.
  • Take care of yourself
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A proper diet can counterbalance the impact of stress by strengthening your immune system and stabilizing your mood.
    • Exercise regularly. Exercise is effective at reducing fatigue and enhancing your overall cognitive function.
    • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest.
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out – for example, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
    • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Develop a “de-stress toolbox”
    • Create a list of healthy ways to de-stress and recharge. Try to implement one idea each day, even when you’re feeling good! Some ideas include:
      • Go for a walk
      • Call a good friend
      • Sweat-out tension with a workout
      • Write in your journal
      • Take a long bath
      • Light scented candles
      • Play with a pet
      • Curl up with a good book
      • Get a massage
      • Listen to music
      • Watch a comedy

Campus Resources

Online Resources