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How to Handle Stress as a College Student

INSIDE: College students certainly have their fair share of stresses to navigate, but with the right guidance, they can thrive. Here are 6 tips to help you handle it all with more ease.


Many college students face short-term stress when studying for exams or writing essays and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It’s when long-term stress is not addressed that it has detrimental side effects.

In dangerous situations, the ‘fight or flight’ response can save lives but a constant release of cortisol over a long period of time has a negative impact. It can lead to physical side effects like irritability, appetite changes, trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and listlessness. 

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What Causes Stress in College Students?

College students often face a great deal of stress and some of their common stressors include the following: 


Many students have to work while they’re at college if they want to afford the high tuition fees and accommodation costs. This can cause a great deal of stress as they try to juggle their work responsibilities and academic schedules. 


Out-of-state students may be living away from their homes for the first time. They have to develop a new level of independence which can be challenging. 

Living With a Roommate 

If it is the first time a student has had to share a room with a stranger, it can take some adjustment. 

Social Obligations 

Shy students often battle to make friends and find social obligations hard to handle. Peer pressure to party every weekend and other social pressures can cause stress, especially for first-year students.  

Romantic Relationships

Students often pair up at college and form romantic relationships. Trying to balance their relationships and studying can be stressful. 

Coursework & Exams

Students often feel extreme pressure when they have to face the workload associated with college-level courses. Exams often make up a large percentage of their grades and can induce extreme stress. 

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Tips to Help College Students Manage Stress

Figuring out what is causing their stress is only the first step towards handling it correctly. Fortunately, there are various ways to reduce the amount of stress they feel and improve their ability to handle it. 

Get Quality Sleep 

Students who get enough sleep have stronger immune systems, better memory recall, and clearer minds. Those who constantly burn the candle at both ends will find it very difficult to cope with all the pressures of college life.

Eat Nutritious Foods 

Eating on the run and snacking on processed and sugary foods is often common for students. A little planning ahead can help them to include more nutritious foods in their diets. For example, bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts into serotonin, which lifts mood.

They also contain a number of vitamins and minerals. Eggs, avocados, and walnuts are other healthy foods that are easy to add to the diet.

Get Help With Writing Essays 

Students struggling with the stress of hectic schedules who can’t seem to find the time to study can get help with homework.

The top choice of students, Edubirdie writing platform, gives them access to professional writers who understand academic writing and can write essays for them that are plagiarism-free and that they will receive within the required deadline. With a good sample of what’s expected, students can work on their own essay writing to improve their academic performance. 

Exercise for Students

Don’t Drink Too Much Coffee

Students who drink endless cups of coffee to fuel study sessions lasting late into the night will feel the negative effects on their bodies. Too much caffeine can increase their anxiety levels, raise their blood pressure, raise their heart rate, give them acid reflux, and cause sleep disturbances.

Exercise Regularly

Students who exercise regularly benefit from the release of endorphins, which improves their well-being and their cognitive abilities. Exercise will also help them to sleep better.

Very strenuous exercise is not necessary to feel the benefits – walking, yoga, and stretching can all have mental health benefits. Being mentally healthy gives students the ability to manage stress better. 

Find Healthy Outlets for Stress

It is impossible to completely avoid stress, but finding healthy outlets for it can prevent it from becoming overwhelming. Spending time with friends, getting massages, exercising, or doing deep breathing exercises can all help to significantly release stress.  

Final Thoughts

It is inevitable that students will experience some stress but if they experience consistent stress for long periods of time, it can damage their health. Finding ways to handle stress is very important and sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and finding outlets to release stress can all contribute to better physical and mental health. Most colleges offer mental health services to students if they feel they can’t cope with stress alone.  

Author’s Bio 

John Marlow is a career counselor who helps students decide the best courses and colleges for their education. He also helps them by writing college essays, personal statements, and other academic assignments they need from time to time. He spends his days off cycling, meditating, and watching NBA games on tv.

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How to Handle Stress as a College Student

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