College Planning Expert’s Tip of the Month – December

10 Ways to Cope with Stress

If I were going to be you for a day, what could I expect? Do you have a paper for English due? Do you need to read 100 pages for history? Did you fight with your mom this morning? Seriously, how much can you possibly fit into a day?

Do you know when you are stressed? Can you tell? Do you know what stress feels like? How do you cope with these feelings? How do you de-stress?

Use these 10 ways to deal with stress to help build your stress-busting skills.

10. Be proactive. Try to do things early to leave time and room for errors or minor setbacks, especially if what you are doing impacts someone else. You will save yourself a lot of anxiety if you get things started or completed ahead of schedule.

9. Take time for you. It is important to have down time to take stock of where you are physically, mentally and emotionally. If you take the time to reflect on what you need, you are more likely to take care of yourself, and this is a major priority!

8. Listen to music. Isn’t it funny that when we are in a good mood, music puts a smile our face and a little wiggle in our step? Why shouldn’t it have the same effect on us when we aren’t in a good mood? When you are stressed and tired of whatever ails you, turn on your favorite music and watch as it breathes new life into your muscles and puts a song on your lips!

7. Use your support system. Use your family and friends as your support! Your relationships are a source of strength and comfort. Confiding in someone is helpful and necessary. Everyone needs help some time, so learn to count on the people around you.

6. Honesty is the best policy. When you tell the truth, you are always going to fare better than you would if you didn’t. If you show respect toward and communicate with the people around you, they will return the favor. The next time you have trouble with an assignment, and it is really stressing you out, tell your teacher. It will save you the stress of worrying, and the teacher may be able to give you the push you need to get it done. (Hint: This also works with your parents!)

5. Don’t forget to breathe. Deep breathing can be helpful and physically restorative. If you sense a stressful or upsetting thing is happening, five deep breaths can bring back balance and well-being.

4. Stay positive. The more positive energy you put into the world, the more you get back! Even when things are at their hardest and most challenging, if you can keep a positive outlook on things, they always get better. When in doubt, smile. Studies have shown smiling makes people feel better!

3. Expect change. Change can be hard, but it is inevitable. There will be many transitions in your life. If you can be open to the little changes in your life, it will prepare you for the more challenging ones.

2. Take care of yourself. This life is the only one you have. You only get one chance, so do it right! Eat properly, exercise and get plenty of sleep.

1. Be yourself. Sometimes it is hard to be true to yourself when you are trying to please everyone: your parents, your teachers, your coach or your friends. Being your authentic self can be hard. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! Don’t sacrifice who you are for anything. People will respect you and not take you for granted when you are clear about who you are and what you need.

Christine Scafidi is associate director of undergraduate admission for Lasell College ( in Newton, Mass.

~ Courtesy of Next Step Magazine
David Mammano, College Planning Expert, Campus Calm

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