Managing Your Stress

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Stress is one of the most frequently reported factors that affect students' academic performance and it is a constant presence in the lives of most students. Stress is the body's response to a demand and in fact, a certain amount of stress is not a bad thing. But too much stress can cause headaches, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, and lower your immune system. High levels of continuous stress can lead to long-term negative personal and health consequences. Stress can come from many different sources such as increased class workload, change in sleeping habits, roommate conflict, and computer problems.


Everyone deals with stress differently and there are many different strategies to increase your ability to handle it and reduce your level of stress. The more you do to prevent stress before it happens, the less likely it will be a part of your life!


Stress Prevention

Know what stresses you out

  • Take a few minutes and write down the things that stress you out. Brainstorm what may help you overcome these stressors or what has helped in the past. Choose a few practical solutions and try them out before the next time you know you may become stressed. Then evaluate them, did they help? What might work better?

Take a deep breath!

  • Place your hands on your belly button. Breathe deeply through your nose, feeling your hands rise as your abdomen fills with air. Still inhaling, count to three and feel your chest expand. Hold your breath momentarily, and then slowly release it. Repeat several times.

Eat right

  • When your body is well fed, stress won't have as great of an impact on your health. Make sure to eat regularly, eat your veggies, add high-fiber foods to your diet, have healthy snacks on hand, and trade caffeine for sleep.


  • Regular exercise can increase your energy, overall health, and improve your mood. Pick something that you like doing since almost any type of exercise can help reduce and relieve stress. Feeling too busy to exercise? Even a 30 minute walk can have a positive effect on your stress.

Get enough sleep

Reduce the amount of alcohol and tobacco you use

  • Alcohol use and smoking can actually create stress and worsen its negative effects. Not having alcohol or cigarettes before bed can help improve your quality of sleep and therefore help you be less stressed!

Hang out with friends

  • Having a strong support system of friends and family can act as a buffer against the negative effects of stress. Keep in contact with your family and talk to a friend or family member about your stress. Take advantage of your relaxation time and get dinner, a mani-pedi, or go on a walk with a friend.

Manage your time and money

  • Not having enough time and money is a frequent source of stress. Consider making a monthly budget and a schedule for your week. Here are some helpful tips to start managing your time and money.

Time Management

Practice Mindfulness

  • Practicing yoga, meditation, or Pilates can help you regulate your breathing and become more mindful and aware of your views, thoughts, and feelings.

Tips for Coping – video series

  • Struggling with stress around covid or remote learning? Check out these short videos on mental health tips during this pandemic.

Contemplative coloring book

  • Coloring book for students is full of mandalas and motivational quotes. Coloring can help calm the brain and decrease stress. It is also a great way to rejuvenate during a study break. Downloadable!


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Resources at Student Health Services

Mental Health 101 Workshops


Visit CAPS for a schedule of online, Zoom-accessible groups.


Nutrition Clinic with a Registered Dietitian


Peer Nutrition Assessment Clinic

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1:00-4:00pm


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Resources on Campus

SF State Counseling and Psychological Services

Student Services Building, Room 208

Phone: (415) 338-2208


SF State Holistic Health Learning Center

HSS Room 329

  • Wednesday massages
  • Biofeedback Lab (Biofeedback is a technique that gives you information to learn how to control your body's functions, such as heart rate. The feedback helps you focus on making small changes to your body to relax, reduce pain, or decrease stress)


SF State Tutoring Services and Academic Support

Learning Assistance Center

Campus Academic Resource Program


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Other Resources and Information