College life can be stressful, with many different demands pulling you in a variety of directions. Students cope with stress in many ways, and some are healthier than others.
Healthy ways to cope with stress
- Deep breathing exercises. When you have a few minutes – before class, while walking back to the halls, or waiting to meet someone at Bernhard – do some breathing exercises. Focus your attention on your breath, and be mindful of how it feels to raise your chest and fill your lungs, and then to slowly exhale. Notice any tension in your neck, shoulders, or elsewhere in your body, and release that tension with your exhaling breath.
- Laugh! Laughter is a great way to relieve stress because it causes us to breathe deeply and it's fun! Check out YouTube for some funny videos or head over to a friend’s place for some well-deserved laughter.
- Be grateful. Researchers are finding that happy people are grateful people. Take a few moments each day to think of three things you are grateful for in your life or go out of your way to thank someone who has made your day – or life – better.
- Serve others. The more you do for others, the better you feel about yourself.
- Be aware of negative self-talk. If we’re not careful, we can often find ourselves beating ourselves up in our internal dialogue. Become aware of the negative things you think about yourself, and start to challenge those thoughts before they make your day worse.
- Drop in on the Chillax group at Counseling Services. Learn to manage stress and anxiety by applying mindfulness techniques to everyday life.
Not so healthy
Some ways of dealing with stress can cause even more trouble for you. If you find yourself in these situations, try substituting one of the healthier methods of stress relief above.
- Consuming alcohol, food, or drugs in an effort to make yourself feel better.
- Denying that there is a problem or stressful situation.
- Shopping excessively or buying things you don’t need because you’re upset.
- Avoiding the stressful situation or problem or withdrawing from your social circles.
- Thinking negative thoughts about yourself and believing those thoughts without question.
Just telling another person what you’re feeling might be enough to reduce the stress you feel. Call Counseling Services at (269) 387-1850 and make an appointment to talk with someone.