Anxiety & Stress Reduction

Stress and anxiety inevitably play a role in our lives at one time or another. We feel stressed when the demands on our life are not met with equally effective coping strategies.


General Information on Anxiety

Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. Anxiety is hardwired into our brains. It is part of the body's fight-or-flight response, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. It is a normal response to uncertainty, trouble, or feeling unprepared. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States affecting approximately 40 million adults every year. In 2018, anxiety and depression were the two top concerns of college students seeking mental health services, specifically 18.9% of college students reported they had experienced overwhelming anxiety within the last year. 

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety 

  • Feeling nervous, irritable or on edge
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, and/or trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

General Information on Stress 

Stress may be beneficial to us in small doses such as acting as a motivator for accomplishing goals. However, too much stress can become overwhelming and affect your physical and mental well-being. Recurrent physical and psychological stress may cause diminished self-esteem, decrease interpersonal and academic effectiveness, and create a cycle of self-blame and self-doubt. Stress affects each of us in different ways. It is important to be aware of your unique stressors and how stress manifest for you. 

Common Stressors

  • Academic demands
  • Managing relationships
  • Coping with social anxieties
  • Making career choices
  • Financial issues
  • Personal growth worries
  • Managing overall wellness

How to better manage stress and anxiety

Strategies to help you assess, prioritize and manage stress

College is an ongoing challenge. To be successful you must accept change, develop a support system and most importantly: believe in yourself!

  1. Assess your priorities Determine what should require the most energy and what should not. Organize your day according to activity priority.
  2. Find your weakness Do not leave planning for stressful situations to the last minute. Visualize the event, recognize points of stress, plan accordingly, and get it done.
  3. Adjust expectations  Base your expectation in reality! High levels of stress and anxiety are more likely to occur if you feel the need to perform perfectly, behave like someone you are not, or are inflexible with your priorities. 
  4. Stay healthy – Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and relaxation can decrease your blood pressure, strengthen muscles and reduce stress and anxiety.

Counseling Center Resources

Many of us have excellent coping strategies in some areas, but may lack adequate resources in others. Fortunately, we’ve compiled quite a few resources to help you manage these anxieties.

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others. View How to Make Stress Your Friend.

Online Resources

Additional Self-Help Videos