We can all use help managing the stress level in our lives, but stress management tips for college students are a no-brainer. The 2020 Stress in America survey found that Americans report their stress level at a 5.4, higher than in 2019 when stress levels were rated at 4.9.
Stress is a fact of life. From working professionals to parents to college students, we all have unique strains that may significantly reduce our happiness and quality of life if left unaddressed. The good news is, you can proactively address the causes of your anxiety and mitigate the extent to which it disrupts your life.
Stress management tips for students start by pinpointing the specific causes of their stress, consider solutions for handling those stressors, and start living life feeling happier, stronger, and less anxious. These will all help with managing stress and improve your mental health. Follow these tips to get stress levels under control.
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Stress Management Tips
Use these tips to ease academic stress and even other stressors in your daily life. They’re surprisingly easy and won’t add to your stress level.
Identify Sources Of Stress
Pinpoint the sources of stress. You don’t have to accept stress as a fact of life that can affect your mental health. Instead, grab a pen and a couple of pieces of paper and write an exhaustive list of anything that increases the stress level in your life. Some examples of everyday stresses include:
- Marital problems
- Academic projects
- Moving to a new home
- Deadlines at work
- Underemployment or unemployment
- Changing jobs
- Major life events
- Lack of time
The last stressor, lack of time, is one of the most pervasive causes of stress. Increasing your time management skills is important. OnePoll, a survey-led market research specialist based in Bristol, determined the average American has merely half an hour of free time each week. Between work, college student workload, parenting responsibilities, taking care of yourself, and more, it seems as though there is hardly any time remaining for the fun things in life.
Once you write down all the sources of your stress, from time to relationship challenges, you may even feel some immediate relief. This is the first step for managing stress. Simply putting it all down can be therapeutic in allowing you to finally see it all in front of you, rather than letting it swirl around in your head.
However, writing down your sources of stress is only the first step to conquering those stresses and getting the most out of life. Next, it’s time to address the challenges.
Address the Causes of the Stress
The next step is to write down what you can do to reduce or even eliminate stress. As an example, if you’re worried about a deadline at work or school as a student, consider that the actual cause of the stress might be your procrastination, which is delaying progress.
In addressing the causes of stress, look at how your inaction, bad habits, and/or attitude contribute to the buildup of stress in addition to outside factors, like family life, work-life, or global crises. When you get to the root of your cause, you might find that others play a role in your stressful life, yet they’re not the sole cause of the problems. In other words, you likely have more control over the stress in your life than you think.
When you recognize this and act accordingly, you can start to do your part to minimize your stress. Here are some ways to dig into those potential stressors.
Create a Stress Notebook On Your Smartphone
It’s easy to lose sight of the exact stressors in our life because there is little free time remaining for introspection amidst hectic work and college stress filled school days. Add the pressure to maintain friendships, parenting duties, and household responsibilities into the mix, and overlooking the actual causes of student stress proves that much harder.
Identify what boosts your stress levels by keeping track of triggers and causes with a note-taking app on your smartphone. When something or someone stresses you out, add that specific stressor to the list. Review this list weekly and it will be easier to uncover common themes and trends that reveal the causes and will help with managing stress.
Mind Your Breathing
You’re that much more likely to take quick and short breaths when stressed out. If you feel your blood pressure rising or are quickly triggered by noises, co-workers, other students, or other stimuli, it is time to mind your breathing. Shift from shallow breathing to taking deep breaths, which is proven to reduce stress.
This stress management technique is simple: Close your eyes, breathe in deeply for four seconds, hold the inhalation for another four consecutive seconds and exhale for four more seconds.
Repeat this breathing exercise five times, open your eyes, and you may notice you feel less stressed and more relaxed. This stress-reduction technique is referred to as abdominal breathing. This type of breathing stabilizes blood pressure and also lowers the heartbeat.
When tuning into your breath to relieve stress, do your best to refrain from thinking about the sources of your stress. Clear your mind, focus on your breathing, and the pressure will begin to drift away.
Exercising for just 20-30 minutes or just increasing your physical activity has been proven to create a calming effect that can last several hours after finishing. Physical activity releases these “happy chemicals” within the brain known as endorphins. These endorphins will overpower your stress, ultimately helping you feel that much better about yourself, your mental health, and your position in life.
If you’re worried about spending money on exercise, remember that there is no need to spend $60 a month on a gym membership. You can easily increase your physical activity and work up a sweat in your home with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and planks. Other home-based workout options include free weights, resistance bands, and fitness video games such as the Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure.
Read More: Benefits Of Bodyweight Training
Though exercise will not eliminate stress, it can provide the relief you’re looking for. Aim for a 20-30 minute workout (the proven standard that reduces stress) at least four times each week and don’t forget about low-impact exercise options as well, including dancing, taking walks, doing yoga, rollerblading, or playing tennis.
Spend More Time With Friends and Family
Spending time with people you love has been proven to reduce stress and increase vitality. If you don’t have a lot of close family or friends, consider joining a book club or sports club, which will provide you with an outlet to connect and let the stress melt away.
Confront the Causes of Your Stress
Living with stress that can be proactively addressed isn’t necessary. Use these tips and ideas to figure out what is causing stress in your life and then take action. Make more time to move your body, spend time with loved ones, focus on your breath, and keep notes on what stresses come up regularly. Give your stress the attention it needs to release the tension and start feeling less anxious and, more importantly, happier!
At Lionel University, we’re committed to your academic success and professional fitness future. And we’ll help you enjoy the process rather than add more stress to your life. Contact us today for more information!
When you get a degree in exercise science from Lionel University, you’ve got an entire team invested in the success of your academic studies and professional future. Therefore, we’re here to help! Regardless of what degree program you’re in (associate's degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree), the team at Lionel is here to help make your academic journey easier and more rewarding than you thought possible.
Powell, T. J., & Enright, S. J. (2015). Anxiety and Stress Management. Taylor & Francis Limited.
Schmall, T. (2019). Six in ten Americans struggle to keep up with day-to-day tasks.
Tetrick, L. E., & Winslow, C. J. (2015). Workplace Stress Management Interventions and Health Promotion. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032414-111341.
Varvogli, L., & Darviri, C. (2011). Stress Management Techniques: Evidence-Based Procedures That Reduce Stress and Promote Health.