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Managing Stress

formerly from the

Delaware State Education Association

Mother and child on beach at sunset


While some stress in necessary in our lives, problems can occur when we react too strongly to life situations or let the daily hassles pile up. However, we can learn ways to approach everyday issues more realistically and reasonably.

The following tips provide you with a program for managing stress.



Get Organized


Take control of the way you are spending your time and energy. Time management is essential in our busy lives, and especially necessary when taking online classes.


Control Your Environment

While we cannot control the behavior of others, we can often make choices that reduce stress caused by our surroundings. Look for stressors within your environment, then take steps to change or eliminate them.


Maintain a Positive Self-image

Give yourself positive feedback, focusing on what you know and do well. Recognize that what you don't know can and will be learned if you give yourself the necessary time and learning support resources. Remember that you are a unique individual who is doing the best you can with what you have at the time.


Reward Yourself

Use rewards as payoffs for adhering to your study schedule, turning in assignments on time, and doing well on tests. Be sure to schedule leisure time into your day. Your mind needs breaks, too!



Regular exercise provides physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Exercise is a major stress reliever, even if it's only 15-30 minutes a day.



Take your mind off your stress and concentrate on breathing and positive thoughts. Dreaming counts, along with meditation, progressive relaxation, exercise, listening to relaxing music, reading, communicating with friends and loved ones. Choose what works best for you!



As regularly as possible, sleep 7-8 hours a night. Take study breaks. There is only so much that your mind can absorb at one time.You need time to process and integrate information. As a general rule, take a ten-minute break every hour. Rest your eyes as well as your mind.


Be Aware of Stress Signs

Distress signals can be insomnia, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, lack of concentration, colds/flu, excessive tiredness. Remember that these can be signs of potentially more serious disorders, so check with your doctor if they continue.


Eat Healthily

Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie foods that are high in fats and sugar. Drugs and/or alcohol have well known negative effects on our bodies. Caffeine will keep you awake, but it also makes it harder for some people to concentrate. Be aware and choose wisely.


Enjoy Yourself

It has been shown that happier people tend to live longer, have fewer physical problems, and are more productive. Look for the humor in life when things daunt make sense. Remember that you are very special and deserve to be treated well by yourself and others.


Web Resources for Stress Management

Find out about your stress level, misconceptions about stress, ways to reduce stress, and more!

woman studying by coomputer
How Stressed Are You?

Stress Quiz: How Stressed Are You? Just 20 questions, so don't stress! (Sweet Briar College)

Stress Test Just 12 questions! Scroll down to Anxiety and Stress Management. pdf file (University of Texas at Austin)


How Do You Reduce Stress?

Coping with Stress: How to prevent, limit, and manage its effects (

Managing Your Stress and Anxiety Short overview with additional links on specific topics related to stress and anxiety (Dartmouth)

Stress Management Resources from Mind Tools A wealth of information if you pursue related links (Mind Tools)
Self Talk for Reducing Anxiety The way you talk to yourself about a situation has a great deal to do with how you cope with it. pdf file (University of Texas at Austin)
Relaxation Exercises

Relaxation Exercises Two ways to reduce stress: Progressive Relaxation and Combination Relaxation (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

Relaxation techniques: Learn ways to calm your stress (Mayo Clinic)

Online Relaxation Exercises On this page you will find a variety of relaxation exercises in the form of QuickTime and RealPlayer audio files that you can play on your computer. (


How Do You Handle the Effects of Stress When Taking a Test?

Overcoming Test Anxiety


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This site was created and is maintained by Barbara J. Speidel, SWC Academic Success Center Coordinator. @ Barbara J. Speidel

The ASC logo was created by Andrew C. Rempt. @ Andrew C. Rempt

Southwestern College