Stress management tips

Mally Nichols, Reporter

According to the American Psychological Association, 61 percent of college students report feeling anxious or stressed. With everything going on in the world, it isn’t surprising that students are feeling the pressure and reacting in negative ways. 

Some have relied on unhealthy habits like alcohol and drug use to cope with overwhelming feelings related to global issues, and coursework.  What can you do, as a student, to help reduce and manage your stress in healthy ways? 


Regular exercise has been proven to not just keep your body fit, but also your mind. It can relieve tension, anger, and stress, as well as increasing the production of endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that create an almost euphoric feeling after exercising.  Getting active might not just reduce stress, it might also make you a little happier.


Sometimes it’s useful to just remove yourself entirely from the stressors bothering you and just get some rest. Short naps have actually been proven to reduce stress and even boost the immune system. This applies to sleep-deprived people for the most part, which is a lot of students these days. Next time you’re feeling stressed, maybe try a power nap!


Meditation for stress relief is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the rise of wellness apps like Headspace which offer a subscription to help with stress, anxiety, focus, and more. While these apps can be helpful, they’re not completely necessary. Meditation is intended to help clear the mind and push aside all the chaotic thoughts, so all you need to do is sit, close your eyes, breathe, and continuously focus on breathing.

Listen to music

Reducing stress can be as simple as turning on a good playlist with all your favorite songs on it. Music has actually been proven to be effective for stress relief.  Gather all the bops you love, put them on shuffle, and get lost in the music.You may find yourself forgetting all about stress.

 Make sure you’re eating well

Not surprisingly, diet can have a big impact on stress levels. Remember to eat a balanced diet and a colorful array of different foods. Keep in mind that binge eating is not a good method of stress relief, and perhaps most importantly, try to limit caffeine intake. This can be difficult for students who practically survive on coffee, soda, and energy drinks, but caffeine actually just makes stress feel more intense! 

Cut out unnecessary stressors

Getting stressed out over things that you can control? Get rid of them. Oftentimes, some things that lead to stress are things that are unnecessary and can be easily removed. Bad friend getting you down? Move on. Too much going on between work and school for you to keep up with all your extra activities? Cut a few stressors out to free up some time and cut back on stress.

Reach out to a friend

Sometimes, it’s best to just talk about what’s got you stressed out. Call your best friend, your mom, your dad, your grandma, your uncle Jim, whoever you feel comfortable with. Talk to them about why you’re stressed and notice how it starts to feel a little more manageable. They might even have advice for how to deal with your situation.

Avoid procrastinating

One of the best ways to not stress about an assignment is to not wait until the last minute to complete it. If there’s a big project coming up, try to tackle it in small amounts at a time before the deadline. Waiting until the day before is just going to make you feel worse and reduce the quality of your work.

Play with a pet

Nothing is more soothing than the softness of a cat’s fur or the warmth of a dog. If nothing else works, try playing with a pet! Animal interactions lead to a reduction in cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone, and it can also lead to a decrease in blood pressure.

The bottom line is, stress impacts everyone, especially students. So if you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone, and it will get better. If you’re looking for other resources to reduce stress, try reaching out to the UNF Counseling Center. 


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