How to Manage Stress

Imagine that you are a giant, a titan even, and your occupation is to throw boulders into various caves on the mountain. You start with tiny pebbles, lobbing them with ease. However, one day you’re given a boulder with a far destination. You try to pick it up, but it’s heavy, and it weighs on you. While this is happening, you still have other rocks to throw, each varying in size and end location. Now, there you stand, a proverbial Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders, still so much left to do. 

For a lot of college students, stress can feel like being Atlas. There are copious tasks to complete, ranging from single homework assignments, to big exams, to achieving one’s overall dreams. Stress in small doses can be beneficial, as psychology tells us that eustress (healthy stress) can aid in improving overall performance. However, large doses and constant stress isn’t healthy. In fact, high stress levels can be damaging both physically and mentally. To keep your stress under control, here are my favorite stress management tips!

  1. Breathe

Taking a moment to breathe can be extremely beneficial. When stressors hit you, they can be emotionally overwhelming. Giving yourself a moment to breathe will allow you to dissipate some of the emotional response. Then, you can tackle your stressor with a clearer mind and make better decisions. Some ways to accomplish this are by counting backwards from ten slowly or breathing in and out deeply.

  1. Organize Yourself

To really take control of your stress, you’re gonna need to know what’s coming up. Being able to anticipate future stress can aid in lowering your stress levels, as you can break down future tasks or know about future commitments. You can accomplish this by having a physical planner, online planner, and making to-do lists. Try to create a routine schedule so you know which days you are free and which days you are busy.

  1. Try Mindfulness

Mindfulness is essentially training yourself to take a look into your stressors, accept your bodily responses to them, and then begin working through them. Center yourself with the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Engage in positive affirmation, for example, tell yourself “I get better every day”. And finally, try a self-compassion pause.

  1. Engage in Self-Care

Taking time for yourself is important! Being healthy both physically and mentally will aid in the decisions you make regarding your stress. No sleep, poor diet, and a lack of water will only exacerbate the symptoms of stress! Take a nap, spoil yourself, do a face mask, exercise, and spend time with people you love. It is important to set aside time for the little things that make you happy.

  1. Break the Stressor Down

A good way of tackling a stressor is to break it into smaller pieces. Write down all the pieces involved with the stressor, decide which tasks take priority, space out tasks over time by making a schedule, and stick to the schedule you’ve created!

  1. Consult a Counselor or Therapist

If you find that your stress is getting to be completely overwhelming, it could be a result of a larger issue. Consider going to a counselor or therapist, as it’s good to have a trained unbiased individual to discuss your problems with. Therapy/counseling can be beneficial to ANYONE! There are counseling and mental health resources on campus, you can ask your doctor for a referral, or talk to your parents about finding a therapist.

Utilize these tips to help take your boulders to their destination!

5-4-3-2-1 Technique -

Self Compassion Pause -