Coping

Just like it is important to take care of your physical health, attending to your emotional well-being is imperative to your success and happiness. Being a student is a challenging balancing act. Academic responsibilities, social life, declaring a major and other personal matters can create a lot of anxiety and stress for students. Stress is a normal part of life but when we feel overwhelmed, it's difficult to remember the strategies for effectively managing stress. We recommend the following tools to help you prevent and/or manage stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.

1. Unplug.

Social Media pictureWhile technology allows us many luxuries and immediate access to resources, it can also be a trigger for envy, depression, and anxiety for some people. One of the greatest benefits of being in a college environment is the opportunity to meet new people and interact with other students. Students who are constantly connected to technology, miss out on those opportunities and begin to lose the social skills of how to talk with others face-to-face (versus communicating via text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc). One way to manage stress is to "unplug" from all technology for at least 10 minutes daily. Students often ask us, "What do I do if I'm not on my phone?" Our answer: live, breathe, feel, think, sit, talk, eat, etc.- there are so many things in our lives we don't take notice of because we're on our phone while we're doing it. 

2. Quiet your mind. 

Quiet Your MindWhile we expect there to be noise and chatter from the outside world, the inner chatter that takes place in our own minds is often louder and unrelenting. Constant thoughts of the future and ruminating on the past can lead to increased anxiety and depression. Many people falsely believe that quieting the mind equates to doing nothing, and while doing nothing can be a useful route to quieting the mind, most of us don't know how to sit and do nothing. To "quiet the mind" simply means to take a break from the endless inner and outer chatter by choosing to shift your attention to one thing. Please review the resources below to gain some additional insight on how to quiet your mind.

3. Take care of your body.

Take Care of Your BodyWhile this may seem like a pretty obvious tip on how to manage stress, many college students struggle with taking care of their basic needs such as, getting enough sleep, eating regularly, and exercising. Often, when under pressure to complete multiple tasks and meet deadlines, taking care of our bodies is no longer a priority. However, most of us have experienced the negative side effects of not doing these things, which can affect academic performance, mood, and social life.

4. Reach out to your support system.

Many students tell us they are hesitant to talk with friends or family members about their troubles because they fear they will be viewed as "weak" or, they perceive themselves as "burdening" others with their problems. We all have problems- this is precisely what connects us with other human beings, not separates us. Avoiding sharing your concerns with others only makes the problem worse and leaves you feeling alone. Not everyone in college is having a great time nor does everyone have tons of friends. Your are not alone. Without support from others, life seems bleaker. If you are unsure about reaching out to others, or if you don't know how, please take some time to look at these helpful resources:

5. Practice self-compassion.

Self-compassionContrary to popular belief, being critical of yourself is not a motivator for improvement. Negative self-talk and self-judgment actually decreases personal motivation for change. Most of us would never consider talking to a friend as harshly as we talk to ourselves. Therefore, we have to practice being kind to ourselves on a daily basis. It is only from this place of self-compassion that we can grow and change.

6. Phone Apps for coping.