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Consider these ideas to help alleviate the negative impact of stress:
1. Embrace the idea that stress is normal. Get comfortable with it being a part of daily life.
2. Visualize life in its enormity. College is only four years. It is a microcosm of your existence.
3. Know that stress is different from anxiety and anxiety disorders.
4. Start to understand and befriend the thoughts you have during moments of anxiety. No need to run from them. They are normal.
5. Breathe. Oxygen is the best calming agent for our bodies when anxious.
6. Find an action that satisfies the feelings of “flight”. Some people wiggle change in their pockets. Some keep a soft tissue in their reach to rub. Any soothing action can bring calm to most situations.
7. Find that place on campus you can go and collect the chaos in your mind.
8. Convince yourself that any risk you take to pull your mind out of the tumbling thoughts will bring reward. Keep the mind occupied. Remember that good stress is motivation.
9. Interrupt negative thinking processes with a visual, a mind’s eye of calm - may be a nature scene, a memory of security, a family picture.
10. Do a body scan to release tension from where it resides. Stretch it out.
11. If you are not good at multi-tasking, then STOP trying. Practice planning and accomplishing one small goal at a time.
12. Find nature. Green slows down your mind.
13. Seek support through friends, professors, wellness centers, groups, classmates, or a pastor.
14. Volunteer! Studies show that helping others occupies an anxious mind.
15. Smile when you pass other students on campus. On the days you cannot seems to muster a smile, force it!
16. Join one group at a time on campus. Gradually add another activity when you know you can handle your current obligations.
17. Pay close attention to sleep, eating, and exercising. We simply can’t exist without tending to these three important components of wellness.
18. Call someone on the phone. Hear a voice of compassion.
19. Sit on a bench, watch others. Converse with them. They will NOT think you are strange. Secretly, they want a friend, too.
20. Repeat number 2.