Stress Management Skills

With additional time commitments and anxiety sources being added to students’ already full plates, now is a great time to begin building stress response routines.

One of best ways to manage stress is through focused breathing exercises. Various studies highlight the ability of focused breathing and meditation to increase oxygen intake, decrease blood pressure, and mitigate the “fight or flight” response. That is why this month’s study tips are:

→  Pick one day to practice focused breathing for 10 minutes.

→  Record each time during the week that you feel significantly stressed.

Identifying moments of stress and developing healthy response routines can be challenging for students, so leveraging available resources can help. Several tools that we will be discussing during this week’s sessions are included below:

  • Videos like “triangle breathing” can provide guidance on how to time breaths.
  • Happify is an app that provides students with activities and games to help reduce stress and overcome negative thoughts.
  • Pacifica is an app with breathing exercises and a daily mood tracker.

3 ways developing Stress Management Skills make students more college-ready:

  1. A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that the academic and social pressures of college have led to 75% of college students reporting ongoing stress and 20% of college students reporting suicidal thoughts.
  2. Research from New York University highlights that chronic stress among students “impedes their abilities to succeed academically, compromises their mental health functioning, and fosters risk behavior.”
  3. Even as a college student, your brain is still maturing. The pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls rational thought is not fully developed until the age of 25, making students acutely feel the impact of stress.

Take it to the next level!

  • Limit your intake of caffeine, sugars, and sodium, all of which can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and irritability.
  • Set alarms during study sessions to remember to go outside—fresh air and exercise increase vitamin D levels, release serotonin, and enhance creativity.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling.

Remember, developing great habits takes consistent practice so keep at it!

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