Stress management consists of a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s level of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of improving everyday functioning. Stress is a normal and healthy reaction to challenges or change, but unmanaged stress can negatively impact your physical and mental health. While stress is inevitable, it can still be overwhelming. However, learning different techniques that work for you can make you feel at ease when you are in a stressful situation and can make situations more bearable and manageable. Everyone has a unique response to stress, thus there is not just one solution for managing it.
Managing stress becomes more important the older you get and can boost resilience, improve your emotional awareness and reactions, acknowledge stress triggers, increase your sense of control, and cultivate optimism. When you are undergoing a stressful situation, tackling the problem can help tremendously. It may help to break the problem into smaller pieces and look at the project or assignment one piece at a time, which can make the work seem less daunting. It also helps to make lists of what you need to do so that you do not feel like you are behind. Utilizing a calendar, writing to-do lists, or having post-it notes are all great tools to manage your time properly and stay on top of immediate tasks. Creating a timeline can also help with big projects that you may want to accomplish.
Circumstances like studying, applying to jobs, and even driving for the first time can all produce stress and it is common for most individuals to put stressful tasks or problems on the side., but that can exacerbate symptoms and make an individual feel worse. Identifying and addressing why you might be stressed can help you think clearly and handle the problem head-on. For example, if there is an exam coming up or responsibilities like making plans or signing up for classes, it is best to tackle these situations as soon as they come up. Time managementis extremely crucial in reducing stress levels.
A few other key tips in managing stress are to set realistic expectations for yourself, avoid procrastinating, establish healthy coping mechanisms, exercise regularly and take time to relax. It is important to focus on what you and your body need. Stress is a part of everyday life, but implementing a healthier mindset can lead to a happier lifestyle.
Know your limits and stick to them. Do not take on more than what you can handle.
Take control of your surroundings. If you know you have a tough project or assignment due, try making it enjoyable by listening to music or going to a cafe or a scenic area.
Choose to be around people, places, and things that keep you focused and grounded.
Alter: Attempt to change your situation
Manage your time better. For example, utilizing a calendar can help break down tasks by scheduling specific times for prioritized tasks. Other ways to manage time are creating daily and weekly tasks, setting goals while sticking to them as well as tackling the most difficult task first.
Communicate clearly and learn to state your boundaries. Express your feelings in a respectful way and state your expectations. If someone is asking you to do something for them but you already have a lot on your plate, it is okay to voice your concerns.
Accept the things you cannot change:
Focus on the things you can control and focus on the current stressors. Some circumstances like social likability, how others think or act, and illnesses cannot be controlled. It can help to focus on your own feelings, actions, and mindset.
Talk to a trusted person about how you are feeling. Identify who you can reach out to when you are under a lot of stress and reach out accordingly to your support system when you need to.
Forgive yourself and try not to dwell on past actions or regrets, especially if they are uncontrollable.
Adapt to the stressor: Change your standards and expectations of stressful situations
Reframe problems/struggles. Acknowledge your feelings towards your struggles. Acknowledging the current problem and bringing a positive perspective to the situation may help you heal and reduce chronic stress and anxiety.
Take a look at the big picture. Developing a complete perspective of the situation allows you to focus on the struggles or stress that will drive long-term decisions. Focus on the situations or tasks that are impacting you and are important right now.
Start your day strong by having a healthy, well-balanced breakfast
Connect with your friends and family
Avoid large amounts of caffeine and processed foods
Stress is a mind and body signal that prepares you for challenges. While stress is unavoidable, it is highly manageable and motivates you to reach your goals. However, when stress becomes unmanaged and constant, it leads to chronic stress. Stress management can help with body adaptability, improving productivity and focus, increasing resilience, emotional awareness, and cultivating positivity. Implementing new mindsets, understanding your stress triggers, tackling stressful situations head-on, having good time management, and incorporating healthy coping mechanisms can improve stress and lead to a healthier, happier life.
Neolth is a digital stress and mental health support platform that provides preventative mental health support for students by administering on-demand, personalized care to mitigate the youth mental health crisis. Our technology supplies personalized interventions that aid in stress management and building resilience. Neolth has a growing community of Student Ambassadors from 170 schools and works with schools to improve access to mental health support for their students and teachers alike. You can learn more by going to our website, following our Instagram, and signing up for our platform! Our student ambassador program and intern program are currently open for applications as well.
About the Author:
Aaditi Ahlawat (she/her) is an Outreach & Engagement Intern at Neolth and a graduate student at Emory University. She is currently working toward her MPH in Health Policy & Management with a focus on Health Management. She graduated from Stony Brook University with a BA in Psychology & Sociology where she discovered a passion for mental health, health disparities, and improving health outcomes on the business level. She is eager to work towards improving the health delivery system while collaborating with other passionate individuals to make a difference in health outcomes. She aims to integrate her passion for mental health, health technology, and strategy initiatives to improve the health system and the way patients receive care.