College Students & Stress
Stress or Overstress?
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Too much stress, however, begins to interfere with your functioning. Stress levels tend to build over time, and chronic high levels of stress can lead to a condition called overstress. When not managed well, overstress can result in physical illness as well as anxiety and depression.
- Engage in arts and crafts or other hobbies.
- Listen to music, sing, or go dancing.
- Practice yoga and/or meditation.
- Try a basic breathing strategy: sitting in a comfortable position, count "one" to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count "two," and so on up to "five." Then begin a new cycle, never counting higher than "five" and counting only when you exhale. Try to do for 10 minutes. Or, try diaphragmatic (deep) breathing--review this handout, Just BREATHE!
- Use an app for that! We have researched free apps that can assist with meditation, breathing, anxiety management, and other forms of de-stress such as coloring!
Utilize Health & Counseling Resources
- Check for hidden illness or physical causes; call Health Services at 585-245-5736.
- Receive help with stress though short-term therapy; call Counseling Services at 585-245-5716.
- Attend Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, a series of programs that focus on building healthy life skills, including managing stress.
Go on a Stress Recess!
- The Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas at Austin offers Stress Recess: Stress Management and Reduction, a program designed for college students. On their pages, you will find videos to guide you through relaxation strategies, tips on stopping stress both now and in the future, and countless other helpful techniques.
Get More Information
- Check out these past editions of the "Healthy Happenings from the Healthguards" newsletters: Stress, Anxiety, and Nerves...Oh my! and The Stress Issue.
- Mindfulness/Meditation Resources:
- Try the apps for meditation, stress, and anxiety listed on our Free Apps page.
- If you already have a meditation practice, use this simple online meditation timer--you can set it to count up or down and to chime at the start, end, and during your practice.
- Take a look at University of Pittsburgh's Stress-Free Zone pages, which include a variety of Audio Guided Meditations.
- Also try the following resources: Wherever You Go, There You Are (Kabat-Zin, 1994), a book on mindfulness meditation; Breathe to Beat the Blues (Weintraub, 2003), an audio CD offering yogic meditations and breathing practices; and Insight Meditation: A Step-by-Step Course on How to Meditate (Salzberg & Goldstein, 2001) a 2-CD set offering a total of nine meditations.
- College Students and Stress--Ulifeline.com offers additional information on recognizing warning signs and proactive stress management.
- Audio Relaxation Exercises--If you are one of those people who say, "I just can't relax," click on this link now! Hobart and William Smith Colleges offer two audio relaxation exercises; you can use them directly from their web site or download as MP3 files put on your iPod and use any time you need them. Ithaca College offers MP3 files as well, including ones designed for both reducing stress and improving sleep.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation--More relaxation! Learn how to fully relax with this 10-minute YouTube video.
- Finally, don't forget Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds! These programs, offered through GOLD and facilitated by Health & Counseling professional staff members, are offered frequently throughout the academic year, and many focus on stress management and related issues.
If you think your stress may be causing anxiety, panic, depression, or other related problems, check out the Counseling Services page on Common Mental Health Issues.