Reducing Stress

During stressful times like mid-terms, paper deadlines, finals, and holidays approaching, university students need tips on how to best cope with their stress. In a survey done a Penn, students identified stress as their number one health concern. We at CAPS understand this and want to provide you with some quick and easy strategies to help you deal with these times a little better.

First, you should know that stress is a set of feelings, thoughts, physical, and behavioral symptoms that arise from any situation or event that requires adjustment or change. Stress can be healthy if it increases motivation and concentration, as well as improves performance for an individual.

Too much stress can be unhealthy if it creates negative experiences, decreases ability to perform, creates a sense of helplessness, and threatens overall health. Negative symptoms of stress may include feelings of anxiousness, irritability, worry, self-critical and indecisive thoughts, increase in smoking, alcohol, and substance use, as well as muscle aches, sleep difficulties, headaches, and other physical symptoms.


  • While we a CAPS certainly recognize that you may not feel like you have the time, motivation, or energy to incorporate these tips, we strongly urge you to make these easy and quick suggestions a priority during times you feel stress.
  • Manage your time effectively. Be able to say “no” to various less urgent responsibilities. Break tasks into smaller manageable chunks. Set daily goals in your scheduler. Reduce distractions as a way to prevent procrastination. For example, shut off your cell phones and e-mails when you are studying.
  • 90% of stress is based on our own perceptions that can be viewed as irrational. For instance, not everything has to be perfect. Challenge your “all-or-nothing” style of thinking.
  • Use self-care strategies, such as exercising, eating regular healthy meals and taking small study break times
  • Take deep breaths when you are most stressed while you also use positive self-talk.
  • Keep a good sense of humor and remember “this too shall pass”
  • Seek social support to vent your stress. If your negative symptoms persist or get worse, call or stop by CAPS (215-898-7021) to schedule an appointment with a professional counselor and figure out other strategies to reduce your known set of stressors.