Stress is defined as strain and pressure from physical, chemical, emotional, or environmental factors, resulting in increased tension or “wear and tear” on the body. Sometimes stress can serve as a positive force, improving our performance and increasing our productivity. Too often, however, the stresses of our lives leave us feeling drained and overwhelmed. Since stress cannot be completely eliminated, learning to manage stress more effectively is the best solution.

Keys to Managing Stress

  • Notice that you are stressed as early as possible
  • Identify who or what is stressing you
  • Learn to be appropriately assertive and say “No” to yourself and others
  • Develop realistic goals
  • Change the negatives if you can, and change your attitude about them if you can’t
  • Learn not to panic or over-react when things don’t go well
  • Take time out to relax daily and exercise at least 3 times a week
  • Eat and sleep well, and limit alcohol and tobacco use
  • Take care of academic, medical or other personal problems as soon as you notice them

If you find that you are feeling irritable, tired most of the time, unable to concentrate, or experiencing restlessness and sleep disturbances, you may want to seek professional help for stress management. Relaxation techniques are often helpful, and a professional can assist you in exploring more adaptive stress management methods. Contact the Counseling Center at 348-3863 for an appointment. You may also want to learn more about stress by viewing the Mind/Body Health Interactive.