Reducing Stress

Tips for Reducing Stress

  • Get Organized

    Plan, schedule, take notes and keep good files. Make lists. Organizing reduces stress. Find the scheduling method that works best for you.
  • Break Things Down

    When tasks seem overwhelming, figure out what would be a useful first step toward completing the task, and start with that.
  • Set Realistic Expectations

    Maybe doing just "good enough" is plenty: strive for excellence in another area.
  • Plan on Making Mistakes

    Everyone makes mistakes - learn from them.
  • Keep Life Balanced

    Balance social life, work, and school. Too much of anyone will create stress.
  • Learn Acceptance

    We all have things in life we can do nothing about. Continually fighting losing battles is tiring, demoralizing, and takes our time and energy away from things we can do something about.
  • Get Perspective

    When you feel distressed about something (as all of us do at times), ask yourself, "What difference will this make in ten years?"
  • Focus on Goals

    Concentrating on your future goals can help you get through the rough spots that are an inevitable part of achieving something worthwhile.
  • Learn to Say No!

    Say "No" when your schedule is full; to activities, you don't enjoy; to responsibilities that aren't yours; to emotional demands that leave you feeling drained; to other people's problems that you can't solve.

Managing Time

One of the greatest sources of stress for most college students is feeling like there is not enough time. Although nothing can put more hours in the day, effective time management can go a long way to increasing your productivity and reducing stress. Here are some tips for using time effectively:

  • Prioritize your tasks. Start with the task with the closest deadline or the one most urgent to complete.
  • Make plans and backup plans. There is always a chance that something unexpected will come up. Don’t feel frustrated by not having control, but make backup plans in advance.
  • Keep a master schedule for all your classes so you are aware of the big picture. Include when all major assignments are due, dates of exams, and all time commitments you know in advance such as work schedule and trips you have planned.
  • Don’t over-plan. Know your limits and be okay with them.

Take Charge of Where You’re Going

  • Take responsibility for pointing your life where you want to go.
  • It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to others’ decisions.
  • Decide what you want and go for it! If it doesn’t work out, you can always try something else.

Treat Your Body Right

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. It’s a great stress reducer!

If you establish a pattern of good self-care, you will have more energy and self-confidence, and be less susceptible to the physical side effects of stress.

Overcoming Procrastination

  • Use a wall calendar or monthly planner. Write in each deadline (exams, papers, projects, etc.) on the day it is due.
  • Make sure you are clear about what is expected for each task. If you are unclear, ask your instructor to clarify.
  • Break large tasks into small steps, scheduling each step into your planner. This makes those difficult tasks seem less overwhelming.
  • Minimize distractions while working. Organize your workspace. Turn off the T.V. Restrict computer use to the task at hand (no Facebook!). Go to the library if you’re unable to concentrate in your room.
  • Schedule in breaks so you don't burn out or work inefficiently because you are too tired to do your best.  Study no longer than one hour before taking a short break.
  • Reward yourself for completing a task (catching a movie, buying something you want). Use small rewards for intermediate goals and a larger reward for finishing a project or paper.

Internet Resources

American Psychological Association