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Stress Management

For information specific to exam stress, consult Mastering Exam Anxiety from Athabasca University and the excellent Exam Anxiety Workshop from Concordia University in Edmonton.

  1. Reducing stress has many, many benefits that include better sleep, better concentration, a lower risk of many health problems (e.g. heart disease, headaches, skin problems) and a lower risk of being overweight.
  2. Stress is the body’s response to danger (called the "fight or flight" response).  If you don’t see danger in a situation or event…you won’t experience stress.
  3. To reduce stress you need to remove the danger, either by changing the situation (for real dangers) or by changing the way you think about the situation (for self-created dangers).
  4. Relaxation strategies can help reduce stress in short-term.  These include deep breathing, meditation, visualization, music appreciation and progressive muscle relaxation.
  5. Effective long-term stress management strategies require building and using skills to remove the danger (e.g. problem-solving, decision-making, critical-thinking, communication, budgeting and other skills) or using cognitive strategies to change the way you think about the situation (e.g. cognitive restructuring, Socratic questioning).

Stress is a part of life. A little stress can be helpful: it stimulates you to accomplish your goals. Too often, though, stress becomes overwhelming and is more harmful than beneficial.  Since there are many physical and mental health problems associated with stress, learning to manage  your stress is one of the most important things you can do to enhance and maintain optimal health.

This section summarizes the most important information you need to know about stress management.  For additional infomation consult the "For Those Who Want to Know More" section below.  

   

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