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Did you know?

50% of ODU students report feeling more than average amounts of stress (2011 ODU National College Health Assessment).

What is Stress?

Stress is often defined as a reaction to change. Acute stress- short term stress- can be exhilarating and exciting, while chronic stress-long term stress-can potentially damage your health.

Adaptation to different kinds of stress is a continuous process. Some levels of stress can be healthy and can enhance our lives, while too much can affect our well-being. You may not be able to control the stressors, but you can control your reaction to them.

People who manage stress well may:

  • maintain healthy habits,
  • recognize warning signs of physical and mental stress,
  • use constructive rather than destructive reactions to stress,
  • maintain an ongoing sense of meaning in their lives,
  • develop and use a strong support system.

Sources of stress can include relationship problems, conflict between goals and behaviors, self-imposed thoughts like impatience and perfectionism, work overload, economic factors such as unemployment, threat of harm, increasing demands at home and at work, noise and pollution, and too many demands on your time.

Exercises for Stress Reduction

Be Positive. Use positive affirmations as a tool to quiet your mind when stressed. Positive affirmations are a way of sending your brain a message that the desired result can be achieved.

Breathing exercises. Proper breathing is very important and can be a great form of stress reduction. When you have stressful situations, you tend to breathe faster and more shallow. Take deep breaths and exhale slowly when you are feeling stressed.

Exercises for Stress Reduction

Exercise is great method of relieving and managing stress. It is important to make time each week in order to exercise your body and relieve tension. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can help to improve your mood.

Meditation is also tool to use to help reduce your stress. It is the practice of attempting to focus your attention on one thing at a time. You use repeated mental focus to quiet your mind, which in turn quiets your body.

Listening to music. You can choose relaxing music you find peaceful to help manage your stress levels.

Just say no. Say no to requests of your time if you feel as though you're overworked with your obligations.

Avoid procrastination. Keep an organizer to help plan events and due dates. Be prepared ahead of time. Write out to-do lists.

Take a break. Have some "me-time." Get some exercise and fresh air.

Have a support system. Talk to people about your stress. If you need guidance or someone to talk to you can see a professional if necessary. Visit the ODU Office of Counseling Services for more information.