Stress is one of the most common emotions that we have as humans. It can be a very beneficial, motivating emotion, or it can feel debilitating and serve only to get in the way of what we want to achieve. We can also use stress to describe many different emotions, including anxiety, worry, fear, distress, guilt, or shame.
Stress is also incredibly common in college students for many reasons. It can be a time of transitions, of feeling academic and social pressures, and learning more about yourself.
Depending on the amount of stress, and how much it is interfering, you may decide which route you decide to take to support yourself.
COPING STRATEGIES FOR STRESS
As with any emotion, there is often something that triggers the feeling of stress. Some common triggers are being very busy with many responsibilities, having issues with technology, performing poorly on exams, or feeling embarrassed in a social situation. There are many more, of course, but it is important for you to determine what your personal triggers are.
One way you can do this is to think back at some of the more recent times that you became very stressed out and try to notice if there are any similarities with those situations.
Once you identify your triggers, you may be able to use relaxation techniques when you are in a situation you often find stressful.
One thing that can be very helpful to identify for stress is to determine what you have control over versus what you do not. Depending on how you assess a situation can then determine what you do next.
If there is something present that you have control over, you may see if there is a way to address it as well as focus on coping with it. However, if there is something that you have no control over, you may instead opt to focus on managing your emotions surrounding the stressful situation.
To learn more, please visit our page discussing control vs no control.
Identifying what your most effective personal coping skills are can be one of the best strategies for coping with emotional distress. For stress, there may be activities that you engage in that help take your mind off of what is worrying you.
Some common coping strategies for stress are exercise, talking to a supportive friend or family member, or listening to music. There are more aspects to identifying what coping strategies work for you and to learn more about coping, follow this link.
We are constantly narrating our personal experience and are often not accurate to what exactly is taking place. The tone of our narration, which is based on many factors, can directly influence our emotions.
For example, if we are running late and there is unexpected traffic, we might tell ourselves “Oh no, I am going to be late for my class and I’ll be so disruptive when I log on late!”
Simply having that thought can lead to feeling stressed out, meaning that it is based on your interpretation of the events as opposed to the events them selves.
Self talk can play an important role in how we experience our emotions, so please feel free to check out our page dedicated to it.
Using deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help with feeling stress. Using deep breathing can help us calm down and feel more relaxed. This can be done through the use of apps, biofeedback equipment, or other means.
THREE STRATEGIES TO TRY TODAY
If you are curious about learning more about your stress, you may find it helpful to take one or more of the following screenings or click here for our general online assessment screenings:
We also developed a COPE stress test to further guide you as well.
ADDITIONAL LINKS AND SUPPORT
- Our sections on academic stress, anxiety, bipolar, depression, homesickness, perfectionism, and time management may provide more information on your struggles
- Explore our popular mental health apps section to see if there is an app that can support you
- Visit our Self Care Strategies and Skills section to learn about various techniques for managing stress.