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Beating Stress: Tips to Share

Some folks are "stress resistant," but at one time or another everyone will encounter a stressful situation. Your student is in the midst of a pretty stressful time, as the year winds to a close. Here are some stress busting tips to share:

Think & Plan Ahead. Consider what you can do today to reduce your stress tomorrow. Maybe it's picking out your clothes the night before or planning your week's schedule in advance. Or it could involve organizing your computer desktop and filing papers quickly, so things are easy to find when you need them.

Assess the Situation. What causes you stress? Who causes you stress? If you can't turn the situation or relationship into a positive experience, then commit to avoiding it and/or changing your attitude toward that person or situation.

Tap into Your Support System. It's easier to be less stressed if you surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Which friends and family members serve this purpose for you? And how can you return the favor?

Just Say "No." It's easy to say "yes" too many times, and get overwhelmed in the process. Saying "no" is fine too. It is okay to agree to help out or contribute to something, but only if you can fit it into your overall schedule. An occasional "no" can keep things on an even keel.

Steer Clear of Negative Talk. While it's easy to complain and dwell in negativity sometimes, it doesn't do a whole lot of good and can sap your energy. So, steer clear of those who want to engage in "complaint fests" and be the most positive person you can be.

Laugh Regularly. Finding humor in everyday situations and taking every chance to laugh can do you an endless amount of good. They don't call laughter "internal jogging" for nothing! And your perspective is clearer and calmer when you're viewing some things through a filter of humor.

Use Nature as a Natural Stress Reliever. Take a stroll outside. Leave the library and do homework on a bench outdoors. Walk as you catch up with a friend. Just being outdoors will lower your stress and give you a new view on life.

Exercise and Eat Well. How your treat your body will determine how it responds when things aren't going well. Exercise regularly, choose a healthy diet and get enough sleep. If you do these things your body will cope with stress much more effectively.

Don't Try to Control the Uncontrollable. Things we have no control over sometimes cause stress. So practice accepting some things as they are and moving on. Analyzing how or why something happened, that you couldn't and still can't change, will only increase stress levels.

Students don't need us to lecture them on releasing stress — that only causes more stress! Instead, gently remind your student of some simple stress relief techniques that can help her deal with specific issues. And if you see her turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol, other drugs and more, encourage her to check out the campus counseling center or to talk with another trusted adult on campus. Beating stress in healthy ways is possible.

Want to Stay Stressed? • Eat anything you want • Never exercise • Personalize all criticism • Break off all friendships • View everything as extreme • Make more promises than you can keep • Never ask for help • Forget your sense of humor • Become a workaholic • Discard all time management skills • Get very little sleep • Break all boundaries • Procrastinate • Worry about things you can't change • Set impossible standards • View all challenges as problems • Never take time off

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