Stress Management & Self-Care

Basic Information

Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.  It can lead to cognitive (thinking) and/or physiological (physical) disruptions.  Typically, a person can identify a stressor (a situational/environmental condition) that created the stress reaction.

Anxiety is an intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear that becomes a part of one’s everyday life and occurs regardless of situation/environment.  There may not be an identifiable stressor and the person can become anxious for no reason, or for irrational reasons that do not fit the reality of the situation.

Proactive and prevention-based self-care should help people manage stress and even periods of anxiety without much concern.  Self-care techniques include doing breath-based exercises, yoga, and meditations; getting adequate sleep and eating healthily; using thought-stopping phone applications to track negative thinking patterns and coaching to change the thinking to that which is more helpful; and even spending time outdoors.  These methods can be employed when stress is anticipated and when it has already occurred.


From her acclaimed TED talk, Psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.


Wellness Coaching, a new service through Health Promotion and Wellness Services, provides stress management and self-care coaching free to all undergraduate students. Through this service, students will be assigned a private, peer coach who will walk them through relevant activities.

Want to combat stress?  Just breathe! Really, it’s true.  Practicing deep, rhythmic breathing can increase oxygen to your brain and help you problem-solve more clearly.  It also helps to bring your heart rate into a comfortable pattern and lower your sweat rate.  The positive change to these physiological functions signals to the brain that it can relax.  Ever notice that when your heart, breath, and muscles contract or race, your mind does as well?  Well, taking deep, rhythmic breaths can actually calm your racing mind through this mind-body connection.

So practicing deep breathing is important!  Here’s some places you can go to do it:

The Zen Den at the SCPS Haley Center location is a relaxing sanctuary where you can sooth your mind, body, and spirit as you take a break from the trials and tribulations of college life.

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Last modified: 10/15/2019