Healthy Ways to Handle Stress


To effectively manage stress, it is best to devote attention to all aspects of life, including social, physical, emotional, career, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual. Here are some tips for handling stress:


  • Play. Have fun. Confide in friends.
  • Allow other people to make life a bit easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Develop or join support groups, either formal or informal.


  • Breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Treat your body with respect and compassion.
  • Exercise in a way that is fun and healthy.


  • Be gentle with yourself.
  • Treat yourself with the same patience with which you treat good friends.
  • Seek professional help as a sign of self-care.


  • Set goals, both short-term and long-term.
  • Be reasonable about expectations.
  • Follow your own path.


  • Organize your thoughts, ideas, and time.
  • View new subjects and courses as opportunities rather than as requirements.
  • Seek wisdom in addition to knowledge.


  • Change to a new environment if the old one becomes unmanageable.
  • Be assertive about your desires. There is no guarantee of success, but being assertive can increase the odds.
  • Practice adapting to new situations.


  • Have personal quiet time.
  • Look for meaning in what may be troubling you. Figuring out what is wrong makes it easier to find the best way to address the problems.
  • Trust that your problems will pass in time.

Other tips to help you relax

  • Step outside. Soak in the outdoors to help clear your mind. Nature can act as a diversion and give you a break from a hectic schedule.
  • Accentuate the positive. It’s fine to acknowledge doubts, but always keep an image of success in your head. This focus can help bring out your best when needed most.
  • Eat well. You need energy to excel. Aim for balance, variety, and moderation in the foods you choose.
  • Sleep—ideally around eight hours a night. Realistically, however, four to five hours is far better than pulling an all-nighter.

Special Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Health Services.