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Coping with Stress | Sexual Assault | Depression and Suicide 
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Coping with stress in college

Attending college is all about engaging in new experiences, dealing with changes and facing challenges. All this can be exciting, but it can also result in experiencing a good deal of stress. In fact, stress can be defined as an emotional, intellectual, and physical reaction to change or demands. Stress is the way our bodies prepare itself to react to situations that are new, threatening, or otherwise.

  • Recognize and accept your limits. None of us are perfect, yet we have a tendency to set unrealistic and perfectionist goals. When we set unrealistic goals, we set ourselves up for failing no matter how hard we work, or how well we perform. Try to set realistic and achievable goals.
  • Learn how to plan and manage your time. Disorganization leads to stress. Having too much to do at one time leads to confusion, forgetfulness, and feeling overwhelmed. Learning to manage your time and control any tendency toward procrastinating can reduce your stress level significantly.
  • Exercise. Pick an exercise that you will enjoy, and not one that seems popular or in vogue. Also, an exercise routine that is not seen as drudgery will more likely become a habit. Remember, a few times a week is all you need to do.
  • As a college student, you are facing changes and challenges almost daily. Dealing with roommates, keeping up with academic demands, maintaining a social life, and developing romantic relationships are just some of the ways that being a student can be both exciting and very stressful. Dealing effectively with stress while in college may be as important as doing well academically or having a lot of friends. In fact, if you don't cope with stress well, being successful academically or having a good social life may be down right impossible.
  • Coping with stress effectively can help ensure a successful and enjoyable college career. Try out some of the following tips to reducing stress. They do work, and they can work for you:

  • Learn a systematic, drug free way of reducing stress. Meditation, progressive relaxation, breathing, and yoga are some popular ways we have discovered to reduce stress.
  • Be positive. Focusing on the good in others will allow you to do the same for yourself.
  • Go to bed and awaken at a consistent time. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
  • Talk. Find a friend, family member, significant other, clergy person, or counselor that you can be open with. Expressing thoughts and feelings to a good listening ear can provide a great deal of tension relief.
  • Increase your tolerance. Intolerance leads to conflict and anger. Learning to accept others who think differently, feel differently, and act differently will not only help you grow as a person, it will also assist in keeping you out of stressful interpersonal interactions.
  • Learn to have fun. Find activities that are both enjoyable and absorbing no matter what your level of ability is.

Remember the key idea is that all things change. Some changes are under your control, and others are not. Your ability to adapt to change will determine how well you cope with the numerous stressors that are present while at college.


Student Health & Counseling Center 503.838.8313 | or e-mail: