Stress often brings emotional, physical, and mental responses for individuals when experiencing change. Some stress is actually good since a stress reaction can give a rush of adrenaline that helps you complete an upcoming deadline, compete in sports, or meet other daily challenges you might face. Despite its benefits, there are also negative aspects of stress. These can become problematic if your body does not return to a relaxed state, every day items may begin to feel overwhelming.
According to the 2015 American College Health Assessment National College Health Assessment results, Illinois State University students identified stress as having the most negative impact on their academic performance. Faculty and staff of Illinois State report stress as one of their top five health concerns in the 2013 Faculty-Staff Health Status Survey.
Simple Ways to Reduce Stress
- SLEEP - Commit to 7 - 9 hours each night
- Time management skills: Write it down! Keep a calendar that includes work and study times. Also, concentrate on one problem or project at a time to keep you focused. Learn more about time management.
- Be realistic when setting your schedule. When it's time to plan next semester's schedule, don't overbook yourself. This adds stress and can make matters worse.
- The Julia N. Visor Academic Center can assist students with academic challenges - check out all the help they offer.
- Exercise!!!! Exercise is known to be one of the best stress reducers. Get moving, it's fun! Visit Campus Recreation or go for a walk on the quad.
- Proper nutrition and a healthy diet lowers stress levels. Enjoy your food and the eating environment - Information on Healthy Eating and Nutrition
- Something as simple as taking a deep breath can make a world of difference! Learn how to practice deep breathing and other relaxation techniques.
- Find time to be social. Participate in an activity or event you enjoy doing that takes you away from work or school. Find out about campus activities through the Dean of Students and the University Calendar.
- Have you tried yoga, meditation, or Tai Chi to help reduce stress? Practice these easy massage techniques Massage for Stress Relief.
- Focus on the things you can control and try to worry less about those you cannot change. Can you reframe your perspective? Ask yourself, "How big of a deal is it? How can I solve it? Can I let it go for now?
- Talk with friends or family members who are supportive. If things become too much for you to handle, students may make an appointment at Student Counseling Services; faculty and staff can contact their healthcare provider or call the Employee Assistance Program (866) 659-3848 (24 hours, 7 days a week).
- Remember, mistakes are a natural way learn.
Resources Available from Health Promotion & Wellness
- Free guided relaxation audio is available for download. Led by Tona Schenck, the audio leads you through an exercise to help clear your mind and relax. The audio is approximately 11 minutes long. Download the relaxation audio file. File should open up in your computer's default audio player. The file can also be saved and added to your MP3 player's library.
Massages by Aches Away Massage Specialists are available on campus on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year. The cost is $15 for 15 minutes. Visit the online system to schedule your appointment.
Mindfulness Class is a free four week course that helps you learn about and practice various mindfulness and meditation techniques that can improve sleep; reduce stress and anxiety; improve focus, academic performance, and eating behaviors; and contribute to a greater sense of well-being and overall happiness. Register online.
Practicing Mindfulness on Your Own: If you can't attend a mindfulness class, or if you are just curious about mindfulness and meditation, the Center for Koru Mindfulness has free resources which include video tutorials and audio guided meditations. Many of these are the same or similar activities that we practice in class.
Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: an eight-week online MBSR training course that is 100% free, created by a fully certified MBSR instructor, and is modeled on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. http://palousemindfulness.com/index.html
Yoga classes and T'ai Chi are available through the Lifestyle Enhancement Program.
- Yoga at Your Desk and Guided Meditation workshops are available to schedule for your area. Typically sessions last 30-60 minutes. Two week notice to schedule is preferred. Contact (309) 438-8845 to schedule.