Tips for Stress

stress reduction tips for success

1. Exercise: Get the blood moving, it releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously, even if it’s just a quick walk or a stretch. Even when studying make sure you take a break every so often just to get up and stretch.

As little as 20 minutes a day of physical activity can reduce stress levels, and just three or four half-hour sessions can lighten stress considerably.

2. Sleep Better: Manage you time better, so you’re not up late doing school work, or have to pull an all-nighter. Make sure to turn the TV off earlier, or if you like to have it on put on a soothing show or documentaries.

3. Eat Right: Try to make healthy food and have a balanced diet. Some tips for making this an easy goal are: Plan your meals ahead of time. Avoid eating out, instead try to make your meals at home, and if you are going to eat out try to avoid fast food restaurants.

Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress and depression and also boost mental functioning.

4. Avoid Alcohol: Having a few drinks after a hard day of studying may seem appealing, but any unresolved stress that you have will just come flooding back after your buzz subsides. It can also hinder your brain function while you’re asleep so the information you studied won’t be processed and stored as efficiently.  Plus, if you overindulge, you may have to deal with unpleasant consequence in the morning. (If you find yourself drinking regularly before noon, become anxious at the prospect of not drinking, or become unable to “just have one,” you may be developing alcohol dependence. Your student health center or the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service at 800-662-HELP can assist you in finding professional help.) 

5. Avoid Unnatural Energy Boosters: Artificial stimulants like caffeine pills, energy drinks, or prescription meds may help you stay awake for that all-night study session, but putting off your body’s need to sleep will ultimately result in you crashing, which will make you more   susceptible to stress. 

6. Listen to Music: Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body. It can help lower blood pressure, and reduce your cortisol, hormone linked to stress, levels. 


7. Call a Friend: Good relationships with family and friends are important to any healthy lifestyle. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can help put everything into perspective. 


8. Laugh it Off: Laughter releases Endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing and smiling both trick your nervous system into making you happier. 


9. Smile More Often: Smiling causes the body to release Endorphins that both improve your mood, while also decreasing the levels of stress-causing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Smiling will actually trick your body into being happier.   

10. Be Mindful: From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem in the first place.  

11. Reflect on Your Day: Take 15-20 minutes every day to sit quietly and reflect. Learn and practice relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing. 


 12. Breathe Deeply: Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing pattern. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. This technique counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

This is a great video by Kelly McGonigal about how we perceive stress.