Stress Management

Stress is your body's response to an external pressure, such as a big test, or a fight with a friend. A stressor, what is a causing your stress response, can be a one-time, short-term occurrence or it can happen repeatedly over a long time. While stress may cause excessive worry, uneasiness, body pain or loss of sleep, these symptoms, and stress itself, should go away once the situation is resolved. [1] 

Stress sometimes gets a bad-reputation. Stress is a common reaction, and can be positive. Learning to recognize and acknowledge your stress creates a more helpful response in your body, such as the excite-and-delight experience some people have to stress (think thrill-seeking experiences such as sky-diving!), or tend-and-befriend, where connection with loved ones provides comfort and resilience in the face of stressful situations. [2]

Chronic Stress

Repetitive, long-lasting stressors that are always present and cause long-term activation of your stress response system is known as chronic stress. This type of stress can take a toll on your well-being. [3] Learning how to care for yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stress is a helpful way to teach your mind and body how to experience calm.  

Tips to Harnessing the Benefits of Stress

  • Don't deny the stress, but redirect energy away from stress and toward the task at hand.
  • Trust in your ability to handle stress. Ask yourself if the situation matters to you, and if the stress is demonstrating meaning and purpose in your life.
  • Identify your body's physical responses - pounding heart, sweaty palms, or increased breathing - as a positive survival response, ways your body is channeling energy and preparing you to meet the challenge you're facing.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed with worry, try doing a small act of kindness for someone ...and notice the emotional benefit you experience!

Techniques for Self-Care in the Face of Stress

  • Stick to the basics
    • Keep a nighttime routine and try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night
    • Eat healthy, regular meals
    • Move your body in ways that you like (walk, dance, yoga!) every day
  • Avoid drinking excess caffeine
  • Identify and challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts
  • Keep a journal to track your thoughts and feelings
  • Practice gratitude... be specific -and write down!- the things you are grateful for each day
  • Incorporate relaxation exercises -meditation or calming breaths- into your daily routines. Apps such as Sanvello, Calm, HeadSpace, or The Mindfulness App are a good place to start
  • Try guided imagery, such as this guided visualization to calm your mind
  • Stay connected... reach out to family and friends who help you to cope in positive ways

Additional Resources

MTU offers different workshops designed to help you understand stress and create helpful coping skills... check-out what is currently being offered at the Center and sign-up on our workshops' page

If your stress is feeling overwhelming or unmanageable, and the symptoms of stress are interfering with your everyday life, you may be at risk for an anxiety disorder. Please contact the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being or download the My SSP app for additional help. 

Helpful Links for Even More Stress Management Information

How and Why You Should Befriend Your Stress

Additional Guided Imagery Practice

Additional Information about Stress


[1] National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH]. (2022). I'm So Stressed Out! Fact Sheet. Retrieved on June 28, 2022, from

[2] Harvard Medical School (February 19, 2020). Harnessing the Upsides of Stress. Retrieved on June 28, 2022, from

[3] Mayo Clinic. (July 8, 2021). Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk. Retrieved on June 28, 20222, from