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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

I don’t know about you, but my stress levels have been through the roof lately. It seems like every corner I turn, there is another task, another homework assignment, or another midterm awaiting me. And, it’s stressful, let me tell you! 

I have so often felt like I can’t catch a break, and at times I have felt like I want to run away from all my stressors and from all the assignments hanging over my head. But, of course, I know that I can’t do that, and ultimately, I know that procrastinating that inevitable due date will just make me feel worse. 

So, I’ve had to learn to find ways to cope with and manage my stress amidst it all. And, while I am certainly no stress-squashing master, I can confidently say that I’ve experimented with enough stress reducing methods that I have some valuable tips to share. Well, to be exact, I have 5 stress-squashing methods that have helped me reduce my stress immensely to share. 

Stress-Squasher #1: Meditation

I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before, and you’ve probably already written it off because it takes too much time and you have no idea where you would even start. Believe me, I’ve been there, but I promise you that meditation has single handedly changed my life. And trust me, you only need to set 5 minutes of your day aside to reap the benefits. 

I like to meditate in the morning right after I wake up because I’ve found focusing on my breath and taking a few moments to be still before the craziness of my day unfolds, puts me in such a better headspace when I inevitably come up against a stressor later in the day. 

I use an app called Insight Timer, and I typically follow a guided meditation, but when I am short on time, I use the self-timer feature because it allows me to be flexible with my meditation practice. The self-timer feature gives you the space to set as much time as you have available and take some deep breaths while listening to a soothing sound of your choice whether that be rainfall, music, chimes or otherwise. 

Meditation is an incredible tool to add to your stress-squashing toolbox; I whole-heartedly believe it is the reason why I am able to cultivate more patience throughout the day (P.S. I am not the most patient person inherently, so that’s saying a lot!), and have been increasingly more able to take a step back when I am feeling stressed and remind myself that this discomfort is temporary and I am capable of handling whatever comes my way. But, don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself! Start small, set aside just 2 minutes, and whether you use an app like insight timer or you just close your eyes and focus on your breath, I promise you will feel and see a difference in your stress levels. 

Stress-Squasher #2: Journaling  

Journaling has been my go-to stress reduction technique for years and there’s a good reason for that: your journal will never judge you for what you write in it. You have free reign to write about anything and everything you are feeling, and you don’t have to worry about anyone invalidating your emotions or not fully hearing your concerns. 

By journaling and writing all of the painful, stressful, anxiety ridden thoughts and emotions that have been running rampant in your mind down on paper, you’re able to validate your emotions for yourself and begin to heal from them. You’re also able to see that some of those thoughts and emotions might be irrational, and maybe you can even recognize that those test results you’ve been agonizing over really aren’t that deep, and that you are so much more than what is stressing you out. 

Journaling has saved me from going down a mental spiral of anxiety, time and time again, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to reduce their stress, relieve their anxiety, validate their emotions, and remind themselves that while sometimes it can feel like you’re emotions are running you, you are in control, and you get to decide what you let stress you out.    

Stress-Squasher #3: Exercise

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard about this stress-reducing tip before, but I just wanted to emphasize it for you again, because wow does a good sweat help relieve any tension and stress you might be feeling! 

When I was younger, I would tend to get extremely overwhelmed, and I would kick and scream and beg my mom not to make me go to soccer practice or gymnastics class, but she always made me go, and little 5-year old me wouldn’t believe it, but I can’t thank her enough for that because it showed me that moving my body helps me get out of my head.  

And believe me, when I’m really stressed and it feels like the weight of the world is resting on my shoulders, most of the time, the last thing I want to do is exercise, but when I push myself to do it, even if it’s just a 10 minute walk outside, I feel so much better. That’s the thing, you don’t have to exercise for hours on end to release your stress; I’ve found that even 10 minutes of movement does the trick. And, hey, exercise doesn’t have to look like a walk or a run outside, it can literally be dancing around your room to your favorite song to just get that stagnant and stressful energy out (actually this is my preferred method of exercise for stress relief!).

So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, give a good ole sweat a try! 

Stress-Squasher #4: Have A Good Cry

Oh boy, never underestimate the power of a good cry in releasing your stress. 

You know when you are so overwhelmed and you feel like you are on the verge of tears at every moment, but you don’t want to let yourself cry because you feel silly crying because you’re stressed out? No, just me? Well, if you’re anything like me and can get emotional when you are stressed, I say, let the tears flow. 

I always fight them, but when I finally let myself cry, I don’t know how to explain it, but I can physically feel my stress melting away. I think it has something to do with letting myself feel my emotions fully and finally releasing the self-judgment about feeling stressed. 

Being stressed out is reason enough to cry, you don’t have to justify it, and speaking from personal experience, 9 times out of 10, crying it out reduces my stress and clears my head so that I can actually focus on what my next steps should be in tackling the stressor in front of me. 

So, next time you are feeling so stressed you could cry… cry, let it all out, because I promise you will feel so much better once you do. 

Stress-Squasher #5: Make Time For Fun

Yes! Going out with your friends, finally trying that new restaurant everyone’s been raving about, or watching that movie you’ve always wanted to watch can all help you reduce your stress. 

Making time for fun, and allowing yourself to really enjoy it, will do wonders for  your stress levels. Trust me, as somewhat of a perfectionist, I have a really hard time pulling myself away from my work, or justifying participating in an activity that takes time away from my studying, but when I make a conscious effort to do things that are fun and silly even, I notice that I feel so much less stressed and am so much more productive when it comes time to actually get work done.

Take it from me, making time for fun in your life, will not only reduce your stress levels, but it might even make you more productive. So, I say, go on that ice cream date, watch that movie, go to that party; your mind and body will thank you. 

So, there you have it, 5, dare I say foolproof, stress-squashing tips! And listen, I’m no expert, I’m simply a girl just trying to figure it all out, but I can promise you that these tips have been invaluable in reducing my stress and reminding me that I have my own back. Sometimes, life can feel so overwhelming, it can feel like you are drowning in all of your responsibilities, but you’re not, you have the power to ease your mind and calm your body. You can have your own back! Implementing these 5 tips into your life is a stepping stone in the direction of stress reduction and self-compassion, so give them a try, and let your more peaceful mind speak for itself!  

Kelen Tamurian

Washington '26

Hi! My name is Kelen Tamurian, I am a writer for the HerCampus team at the University of Washington, and I love writing and being creative more than anything in the world. My favorite thing about writing is the ability it provides to connect with others; I love how writing can bring people together, encourage difficult and probing conversations, generate smiles and laughter, and create a safe space for people to be vulnerable with themselves and with others. My hometown is Fox Island, Washington, aka the home of the most incredible sunsets on earth! My favorite food is sweet potatoes... I know, I know, it sounds weird, but hear me out, you can put literally anything on a sweet potato and it tastes good: avocado, peanut butter or almond butter, cheese, ketchup, chocolate, literally anything! My favorite activities are painting, making ceramic pottery, reading in the sunshine, going for walks along the water, listening to podcasts or music, and cooking or baking. My best friend is my little brother and family is everything to me!