University of Southern Indiana

Tips for Managing Stress

Below are some general strategies that may help you manage stress: 

  • Practice positive self-care. Self-care is any intentional action you take to enhance your well-being. Positive self-care includes taking care of your body and mind through good nutrition, adequate sleep, and engaging in other healthy behaviors. It also involves avoiding those behaviors that are not effective to managing stress, such as using alcohol and other drugs to cope. 
  • Exercise. Start moving! Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Not sure where to start? Check out the Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center
  • Reach out to others. It's tempting to isolate ourselves when we're experiencing stress. However, talking with a trusted friend, a family member, or counselor can be beneficial in helping you process what you're experiencing.  
  • Re-frame your thoughts. Take perspective of the stressful situation and challenge negative thoughts. Are there other ways you could view this situation? 
  • Breathe. When we're stressed, our body changes - heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing all increase. One way to counteract these effects of stress is to practice deep breathing. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your abdomen. Take in slow, deep breaths through the nose. Pause, then breathe out through the mouth. The hand on your abdomen should rise and fall with your breaths, while the hand on your chest should move very little. 
  • Engage in a relaxation exercise. In addition to deep breathing, there are a number of other exercises that can engage your body's relaxation response, including progressive muscle relaxation and visualization. Some also find activities like drawing, coloring, and listening to music to be relaxing. For more information and resources about relaxation techniques, visit the stress management resources section. 
  • Spend time with animals. Even if you live far away from your furry friend, you can visit with animals in the community. Take some time to visit animals or volunteer at the humane society, or visit Evansville's Cat Cafe. Also, mark your calendars - each week before final exams, Rice Library, RFWC, and Counseling Center offer a program called Paws & Play, where therapy dogs come to campus! 
  • Write in a journal. Journaling can be a helpful way to process and express thoughts and emotions. 
  • Practice gratitude. Reflecting on the things that we are grateful for can decrease feelings of stress and help cultivate a more positive outlook. At the end of the day, try writing down three good things that happened or three things that you are grateful for. Be as specific as you can!
  • Use adaptive time management skills. Being overwhelmed by competing demands is a common source of stress for students. Learn how to make a prioritized schedule here

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