Stress and Coping Strategies

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LEARN TO COPE WITH

ACADEMIC STRESS

The ability to manage stress well is a key part of academic success. Our “Managing Stress at University (Undergraduate)” materials are thorough and will help you choose from a variety of strategies to gain perspective, find balance, and manage your stress at university.

Looking for something short and sweet? Read our quick tips on stress management.

If you prefer to jump straight to the tools or if you already know what strategies you want to learn about, feel free to open one of the following:

Note that, since the above are pieces of the larger document, some internal links may no longer work in the individual tools. If you would prefer anything in .docx format, please email us and we can send it along.

Quick TipsUndergraduate ModuleGraduate ModuleSelf-care checklist, tension diary, breathing and muscle relaxationVisualization, eye movements, and sleep hygieneSelf-talk, reframing negative thoughts, and stress inoculation training (SIT)Mindfulness

Quick tips for managing academic stress

1. Identify your sources of distress (e.g., behind in work, poor understanding of new material, unclear expectations on assignments, ESL demands, tight finances, loneliness, trying to do too many activities).

2. Determine what sources of stress may be under your own control, and what isn’t. Aim to “control the controllables.”

3. Anticipate stressful events and plan ahead:

  • Reduce or eliminate optional activities or responsibilities
  • Set priorities, deadlines and timelines to reach your targets
  • Build in extra time for unexpected events or to catch up.

4. Change your mind set or attitude:

  • Ask yourself “are things really that bad? What’s the worst that can happen?”
  • Keep things in perspective.
  • Stop catastrophic thinking.
  • Determine the most important thing to do right now.

5. Change your behaviour:

  • List your academic accomplishments each day and acknowledge them.
  • Promote your health: eat well, sleep enough in the night, exercise appropriately.
  • Break big tasks into small manageable steps.
  • Make room for some fun!

6. Change your situation:

  • reduce e-distractions
  • study somewhere else
  • sleep earlier at night
  • review your course or program with your prof. or Career Services

7. Learn relaxation techniques or do yoga, T’ai Chi, go for a run, etc.

8. Do what you know works for youuse your healthy “stress buster” activities.

9. Get involved with one of the Queen’s Academic Resources.

10. Make an appointment with a counsellor in the Counselling Service or a Learning Strategies advisor.

MANAGING STRESS

FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Managing stress at university
What is stress?
Common stressors and reactions
Multiple life stressors
I. Self-Awareness
Self-reflection questions
How stressed am I? Take a stress test.
My stress symptoms
Self-care checklist
Tension diary
II. The stress response
How our body responds to stress
III. A model of stress reduction: taking on the Creator role
Creators...
Stress and anxiety management strategies
IV. Ways to relax the body
Breathing for relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation
Stretching
Visualization
Guilt-free play
Music
Laugh
Eye movements to reduce stress
Get a good night's sleep
V. Ways to relax the mind
1. Reframing negative thoughts
2. Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
3. Imagining new behaviour
4. Acceptance
VI. Mindfulness-based stress reduction
What is mindfulness?
What is mindfulness-based stress reduction?
MBSR Training Program
Stress management resource list
Websites, books, CDs, and mindfulness-specific resources

MANAGING STRESS
FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

Managing stress at graduate school
Self-reflective questions
What is 'stress?'
Common stressors affecting students
Specific stressors affecting graduate students
Common reactions to high levels of stress
Multiple life stressors
I. Self-awareness
Self-reflection questions
How stressed am I? Take a stress test.
My stress symptoms
Self-care checklist
Tension diary
II. The stress response
How our body responds to stress
III. A model of stress reduction: taking on the Creator role
Creators...
Stress and anxiety management
IV. Ways to relax the body
Deep breathing
Progressive muscle relaxation
Stretching
Visualization
Guilt-free play
Music
Laugh
Eye movements to reduce stress
Get a good night's sleep
V. Ways to relax the mind
1. Reframing negative thoughts
2. Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
3. Imagining new behaviour
4. Acceptance
VI. Mindfulness-based stress reduction
What is mindfulness?
What is Mindfulness-based stress reduction?
MBSR Training Program
Stress management resource list
Websites, books, journals, and mindfulness-specific resources

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

FOR STRESS

Self-care checklist
Tension diary
Ten ways to relax your stress away
Breathing for relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation
Do-anywhere stretching exercises
Visualization: Springtime in the forest
Using eye movements to reduce stress and improve recall
12 rules for better sleep hygiene

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

FOR STRESS

Self-talk and stress
Identifying your stress-inducing self-talk
Thought record for reframing negative thoughts
Ways to accept
Stress Inoculation Training

STRATEGIES AND TOOLS

FOR STRESS

Mindfulness
Riding out your emotions: worry surfing
Mindful walking
Mindful eating: A craisin

 

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Photo courtesy of Bernard Goldbach under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No-Derivations 2.0 license.