Stress is very normal especially for college students who are facing multiple transitions, adjustments, and stressors. Both positive and negative changes and adjustments can lead to stress. Unfortunately, stress can lead to many problems if not addressed in a healthy manner.
The Six R’s of Stress Management
Because each person is unique, some of these stress management strategies will be more helpful for you than others, and some will be new skills that require practice to be effective. Think about learning to ride a bicycle. There was a time when this was a new skill and felt very unnatural and awkward. You probably needed help at first. With some coaching and practice, stress management, like cycling or any other skill, becomes easier and more effective.
Breathing: Abdominal (Diaphragmatic) Breathing - Put one hand on your chest and the other hand on your navel ("belly button"). Now, inhale so that only the hand on your navel moves-as you breathe in the hand moves out and moves in as you exhale. The upper hand on your chest does not move. Take long, slow breaths. When you exhale, imagine all of your stress is leaving your body in the breath. Inhale and exhale like this 10 times.
Muscle Tension: Tense-Release - Tense yourself all over, one body part at a time. Pull your toes up as if to touch your shins and hold it. Tense your thigh muscles... your buttocks... tense your fists and your arms... tense your abdominal muscles and chest, tense your back and shoulder blades. Clench your jaws and close your eyelids tight. Hold yourself tense all over for four or five seconds... Then let go all at once. Don't ease off, let go. And feel the tension leave each body part. Pay attention to what it feels like to have your muscles relaxed. Focus on each muscle.
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