Stress Management Strategies

1:  Adopt a healthy lifestyle

  • Exercise regularly. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week to release stress and tension.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat breakfast! Keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day to cope better with stress.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar. Caffeine/sugar highs end with a crash in mood and energy.  Reducing your coffee, soft drink and sugar intake can help you feel relaxed and sleep better.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.  Alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is temporary. Don’t avoid problems; deal with them with a clear mind.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind and body. Fatigue increases stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.

2: Avoid unnecessary stress

  • Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits in your personal and professional life and stick to them. Taking on more than you can handle is a recipe for stress.
  • Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t fix the relationship, limit time spent with that person or end the relationship. 
  • Take control of your environment – If something on TV makes you anxious, turn it off! If traffic makes you tense, take a less-traveled route. If shopping is stressful, shop online.
  • Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, stop talking about them. If you argue about the same subject, stop bringing it up or leave when it’s being discussed.
  • Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.”

3: Alter the situation

  • If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something/someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. Otherwise, resentment may build and the situation may remain the same.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend a little, you can find a happy middle ground.
  • Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in life. Deal with problems head on; if you are studying and your chatty roommate just got home, say that you have five minutes to talk.
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. Planning ahead and not overextending yourself, can help alter the amount of stress in your life.

4: Adapt to the stressor

  • If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing yourexpectations and attitude.
  • Reframe problems.  View stressful situations from a more positively.  Instead of fuming about traffic, take the opportunity to listen to your favorite station or to enjoy some alone time.
  • Look at the big picture. Ask yourself how important the situation will be in the long run- a month, a year. Is it worth getting upset over? If not, focus your energy elsewhere.
  • Adjust your standards. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
  • Focus on the positive. Take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.

5: Accept the things you can’t change

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control like the behavior of others. Focus on what you can control such as how you choose to react to problems.
  • Look for the upside. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Look at challenges as growth opportunities. If your choices contributed to a stressful situation, learn from your mistakes.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing your feelings can be cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the situation.
  • Learn to forgive. Accept that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

6: Make time for fun and relaxation

  • Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge

  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles
  • Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy
  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule to recharge your batteries. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach.
  • Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
  • Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.


O’Hare Hall Basement
Phone: (718) 817-3725

McMahon Hall Room 211
Phone: (212) 636-6225

Room 203
Phone: (914) 637-3733


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