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What is Stress?

Stress is the body's response to any demand or change in the environment, and all animals have a stress response. Stressful events can be positive (such as a wedding) or negative (such as an exam), and the effects of stress can be beneficial or detrimental.

Learn more about Stress at Ulifeline.

How to Make Stress Your Friend
TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal

Assess your stress

You can learn to assess your stress level by paying attention to your body and behaviors. Stress can cause changes in:

  • Eating patterns
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Heart rate
  • Emotions: more irritable, more anxious
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestion
  • Headaches
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Energy level
  • Motivation
  • Sex drive

Manage Stress

Some tips for healthy ways to take care of yourself when you are feeling under pressure:

  • Practice Mindfulness or other relaxation practice.
  • Find and use the "emergency stress stoppers" that work for you - take two deep breaths, count to ten, pet your dog or cat, squeeze a stress ball, etc.
  • Get a healthy amount of sleep.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol may seem to alleviate stress in the moment, but will not fix the problem, and will probably make it worse.
  • Talk about it. Share how you are feeling with a friend, family member, pastor, counselor or doctor.
  • Take a breather and give yourself a break.
  • Use positive self-talk.
  • Do something that's fun - go for a run, spend time outside, listen to music, etc.

Recognize when you need more help. If you continue to feel distressed by the amount of stress you feel, or you cannot function the way that you would like to, talk to a professional such as a counselor, social worker or psychologist.

References:
Center for Disease Control Healthy Tips for Coping with Stress: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html

American Heart Association Four Ways to Deal with Stress: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/FourWaystoDealWithStress/Four-Ways-to-Deal-with-Stress_UCM_307996_Article.jsp

National Institute of Health Fact Sheet on Stress:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

TED Talks and Videos related to Stress and Happiness

ASAPScience: Can Stress Kill You?

TED Talk Shawn Anchor : The Science of Happiness

TED TAlk Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness

Campus Resources

Stress Management through Mindfulness at UH Hilo

See our Mindfulness page for more information.

UH Hilo has a wide variety of services and organizations to support you as a student. Reduce stress by utilizing Campus Resources and becoming active in Campus Life.

Hawai'i CC - The Learning Center



Ulifeline Online resource for college mental health www.ulifeline.org/hawaii/

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Counseling Services are free and confidential for all UH Hilo students.
We welcome questions, comments and feedback about our webpage: uhhcouns@hawaii.edu.