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Managing stress

Stress is a normal response to the pressures and demands of daily living.  It is the feeling that is created when we react to events in our lives, like study, job requirements, family matters and financial concerns. It is also the body's way of preparing for coming events by creating focus, strength, stamina and often heightened alertness.

Stress can affect your ability to function when it becomes greater than your coping skills can manage and may then stop you from achieving your goals.  However, it can be helpful when it is within your optimum range, as it creates a sense of interest, challenge, excitement and the motivation we need to achieve our goals.

This resource is designed to help you better understand the way stress works and offer strategies to help you manage the stress in your life.


Understanding stress

The body responds to stress by triggering the nervous system and releases hormones of adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. This speeds up the heart and your breathing, as well as significantly increases your blood pressure and metabolism. Your muscle tension increases putting your body on alert, your pupils dilate to improve your sight and your perspiration rate increases to cool the body. These physical changes prepare you to be able to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment - the 'fight' or 'flight' response.

The fight response can be constructive - making positive changes, or it can be destructive - lashing out aggressively. Similarly, the flight response can be constructive, like leaving a physically threatening situation - or destructive, like 'escaping' by getting drunk to avoid facing the issue.

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Strategies for managing stress  

The following are some strategies that can help you to look after your mind and body, and in turn assist you to better control behaviours that result from too much stress.

Your Body:

Your Thinking:

Your Behaviours:

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Useful online resources

If you require further assistance, please make an appointment with a counsellor in the Learning and Teaching Unit on your campus.

Printable version (Word doc 29kb - opens in a new window)

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