Skip to main content Rasmussen College Online Library

Student Success Guide

Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress Management for Students

Do you feel overwhelmed with so much stuff to do? We can help!

Learn how to look at stress from a different perspective by watching the video below.  Also, check out these additional resources to help manage stress:

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Finding the “Sweet” Spot for Stress

The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

 

 

 

Stress is a reality.  

It can have a negative impact and it can also have a positive impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Coping Techniques for Stress Reduction:

1. Figure out what’s stressing you & then problem solve  

  • Write through it.  Many times it’s not as bad as we think it is.  E.g. Not meeting deadlines > Meet with Peer Mentor & get organized

2. Positive thinking & Perspective

  • Stress can start to overwhelm you so that you feel like you are drowning. View the events causing the stress as challenges to be overcome. Positive thinking will definitely take you further than negative thinking.

3. Eat right

  • Cut out fast food.  A healthy diet can help fight off illnesses, maintain a healthy weight, and focus better.

4. Stay hydrated

  • Your body needs proper hydration to operate at peak levels. Water is the best option.
  • Avoid overloading on coffee, energy drinks, or soda pop as they can actually rob your body of hydration.

5. Get plenty of rest

  • Get as much sleep as your schedule allows.  You can deal with stress more effectively if you’ve had enough sleep.

6. Take breaks

  • Breaks and other short rest periods will help with concentration and retention of information.
  • Breathing techniques (breathe in 4, hold 4, exhale 4). 

7. Exercise

  • Fit exercise into your schedule (yoga, walking, etc.)
  • A 30 minute walk can do wonders for you mentally and physically.
  • If you have kids, engage in activities where movement is front-and-center.

8. Say "no"

  • You should not feel guilty saying "no" to others so that you can concentrate on your studies.
  • You can’t please everyone.  You do need to take care of yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who support you rather than take away from you.

9. Alone Time

  • Time away from all of the chaos and excitement of the day is essential.  Listen to music while commuting or enjoy a few moments of peace when you get home at the end of the day

10. Remember that feeling stressed is normal and that it can actually benefit you.

  • Connect with other students—they understand. 

Benefits of stress:

  • Give you a heads up to make an adjustment now to avoid worse things later on
  • Sharpen memory & boost the immune system
  • Keep one accountable for his/her actions
  • Motivate and inspire to better performance
  • Build confidence & resilience (I can handle that, look what I’ve already conquered!)   

                                               References

Ellis, D. (2011). Becoming a master student.  Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Grippo, A. (2016).  Why stress is both good and bad. Psychology Today, January 20,   2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wide-wide-world-  psychology/201601/why-stress-is-both-good-and-bad

Isaacson, K. (2003). stress doesn't have to be distressing. Women In Business, 55(4), 26.

University of Florida/Counseling & Wellness Center. (n.d.).  Maintaining the   balance: A self-help guide for students.   Retrieved from   https://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/maintaining-the-balance-a-self-help-  guide-for-students.aspx

Stress Reduction Tips- Print Me

It can be hard to find time and relax when life gets crazy with work, school, and family. Technology is always at our fingertips and there are great apps available to help refresh and unwind even if you only have 5 minutes. Games and coloring are a fun way to relax and relieve stress. There are also apps that help with breathing, mindfulness, and meditation as well as exercise routines such as yoga. 

If stress ever gets to be too much:

  • Reach out to your Student Advisor, a doctor or therapist, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • You can also visit 211.org

Before attempting stress reduction techniques, it is important to recognize stress indicators. Here are some stress indicators:

  • Sore or tense muscles
  • Cramping or aching pains in your stomach
  • Clenched hands or jaw
  • Shallowed breathing

Once stress indicators are recognized, try to identify your stress response

  • If easily angered, agitated, or emotional, stress relief activities will work best to reduce stress.
  • If depressed, withdrawn, or “spacing out” stimulating and energizing stress techniques will work best

Here are a few apps that others find helpful:

Breethe- This app helps with sleep and meditation along with other ways to promote health and wellness and productivity. There are hours of soothing music, bedtime stories and mediations to help fall asleep, 100’s of guided meditations, breathing exercises, nature sounds and videos to calm down on the go, alarm clock with gentle tracks. This app is free however very limited unless you get a membership. Download to check it out and if you like the free exercises, it is worth the membership!

Oak- This app is great for those who suffer from anxiety or stress daily. It includes meditation and sleep exercises and promotes mindfulness. There are also relaxing sounds and guided breathing exercises designed to help with sleep and relaxation. Another cool feature is that Oak sends you an inspirational quote every day! This one is free.

Headspace- Headspace is a great app for those who are short on time. This app offers short two-three-minute meditations that you can do just about anywhere. Headspace focuses on living a happier and healthier life by becoming less distracted and more focused, and more mindful. There are also sleep exercises. If you are a meditation newbie, they offer a free basic course through the app to get you started. There are also guided meditations for kids! How cool is that? Membership costs $12.99 a month or $94.99 a year. (This app is also the ‘Editor’s Choice’ in the Apple store).

Pigment- Adult coloring is all the rage these days and with the help of your devices, you can color anywhere and everywhere. There are a lot of coloring apps to choose from but I really liked Pigment. Every day, you get a free page to color, which is perfect for those who only have a limited amount of time during the day to get creative. This app also features in app purchases if you want to color more or choose your own pictures.

Motivational Quotes- This app helps those who just need that little bit of motivation and inspiration to get through the day. Motivation offers a collection of hundreds of quotes that you can browse and share with friends and family on social media. There are quotes to help with depression, life lessons, love quotes, motivational quotes, verses from the Bible, and more. This app is free but offers a premium membership for more feature’s ad free enjoyment.

Yoga Workout- It has been proven time and time again that exercise helps reduce stress, but sometimes we don’t have time to exercise as much as we would like. Workout apps such as Yoga Workout are a great option. Yoga Workout is completely free and includes challenges, expert instruction and lessons, and even workouts you can do in bed! Namaste!

Games- It should be no surprise to most of you that game apps are great for stress relief. Here are some great ones to get you started: Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Spill It, Zen Koi, Office Jerk, Criminal Case, and Wordscapes. For more ideas check out the list here: https://www.thecollegejuice.com/2018/10/9-mindless-games-to-play-for-stress-relief/

Techniques specifically for college students:

  • Eat well- A unhealthy diet will increase stress levels. Good nutrition fights against stress.
  • Exercise- Exercising produces positive endorphins which can help reduce stress and improve overall health.
  • Make an outlet- The most important time to take a break is when you don’t think you need to. Finding a positive outlet can help release tension of everyday stressors.
  • Build a support system- Surrounding yourself with positive people can create a strong support system. A strong support system is essential to creating a positive and sound perspective and can offer encouragement when needed.
  • Make a plan- By scheduling and organizing your obligations each week, you can plan for free time accordingly. Sticking to a schedule will lessen the amount of time spent each day on current obligations and decrease stressors. No more “I don’t have time for this.”
  • Think positive- Positive thoughts can create your reality. Turn negative thoughts such as “I can’t do this” or “I’ll never get this right” to “I can do this” or “I will always put forth my best effort and overcome any challenge.”
  • Meditate- Something as simple as creating your own mantra can have tremendous results. Practice deep breathing, guided imagery, and repeating a mantra to reduce stress.
  • Aromatherapy- Essential oils such as lavender, lemon, and jasmine have been shown to reduce stress. Aromatherapy can also reduce anxiety while improving “Physical and emotional well-being” ("The College," 2018).
  • Journal- Journaling one’s thoughts and feelings can help process the roller coaster of life. Journaling can help deal with everyday stress as well as decrease asthma or arthritis symptoms.

Universal stress reduction techniques:

  • Breath Focus- While focusing on your breathing, take long but slow deep breaths. This stress technique will disconnect your brain from any distractions. This technique may be known to some as belly breathing.
  • Body Scan- This technique includes breath focus. Continue to take long but slow deep breaths and change your brains focus to a certain part of your body, preferably where you feel tension. This technique will help your brain realize a mind and body connection.
  • Guided Imagery- This technique uses a calming scene, place, or memory to help you relax. The key is to pick an imagery that has significant value and picture it in your mind. This helps create a positive vision of one’s self.
  • Autogenic relaxation- Use both imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. Repeat positive words or phrases in your mind while relaxing your body one body part at a time.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation- Use your muscles as a stress reliever. Tighten and then relax each muscle at a time. Use 5-30 second intervals. Tense muscles for 5 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds before repeating.
  • Use your senses to calm yourself. Sight, smell, touch, taste, movement, or sound.
  • Take a break from technology
  • Get in the habit of making stress relief a routine.

 

                                                      References

The college students guide to stress management. (2018). Retrieved from Purdue
     Global University website: https://www.purdueglobal.edu/blog/student-life/
     college-students-guide-to-stress-management-infographic/

Corliss, J. (2016). Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Retrieved from
     Harvard Health Publishing website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/
     mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress

Segal, J., Smith, M., & Robinson, L. (2018). Quick stress relief. Retrieved from
      HelpGuide website: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/
     quick-stress-relief.htm/

Stress management. (2017). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic website:
     https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/
     relaxation-technique/art-20045368