How to Easily Cope with Stress During College Years

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Stress in College Students

College is stressful. The academic stress students are under is tremendous and more and more college students are facing peer pressure and social pressure. But, college is more than this pressure. There is a tremendous amount of fun and opportunities for learning.

cope with stress during college

College students stress about many things from grades to social clubs to drinking to their safety. Many times, the academic stress college students face is first on their mind. All of the other problems come in once students are actually at school.

Is college stress worth it? Most people will tell you absolutely.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how to reduce college stress, why students stress in college, and how to control stress.

What Is Stress?

Stress is any variable that causes us to react, stretch, and grow. But, we know you're thinking more about things you need stress management for the bad stressors, problems, and issues.

Most of the time, when we think about stress, we think about the negative things that impact our lives, but that’s not always the case. The top things that stress people out include getting engaged, getting married, vacations, moving, and starting a relationship. Typically, all of these things are considered happy events, even though they are very stressful. All of these can happen during college.

Even good stress can be unhealthy. However, if you look at stress as a motivator, it can help you out. For example, some people work very well under a deadline. This is a type of stress used for useful purposes.

Much of the research into how to overcome stress comes with managing our expectations and reactions to stress. Some of the ways to survive college stress come from handling the stressful situations themselves. We’re going to go over much of this a little bit later on in the article.

Some of the reasons why college causes stress comes from where university students place their focus. Some students put their emphasis on academic affairs, which means they stress over grades. Other students place their attention on social aspects, and political, regional, and personal issues.

Some college students are stressed because they are away from home for the first time. The sudden of freedom and lack of oversight creates a stressful situation. It can cause some students to become wild and disregard all safety and others put up additional rules and walls to mimic parental control.

There are many books about stress on the internet and in student bookstores. Small and straightforward manuals are a great help when you're looking for ways to relieve your student stress. Here, we have some of the ways you can start implementing in your life.

Stress Tests

The formal stress test that most doctors talk about is a cardiac stress test to uncover blockages and damage to the heart. They aren't talking about stress questionnaires or getting your level of irritation managed. Currently, heart stress tests are critical, and are being conducted more on college campuses due to the high level of stress students are being put under.

There’s some blood test that measures the level of andesine produced by stress. These tests can give a chemical breakdown of how your body is reacting to various stressors. Only your doctor can order these tests, so if you feel you may be suffering from increased physical reactions to stress, you will want to talk to your doctor.

Symptoms of Stress

The effects of stress on college students is sometimes easy to see and other times more difficult. Some students experience stress headaches and stress disorders and can cause some college students hair loss. We know many people who started to go grey in college.

Because stress can lead to many health problems, some campuses have been setting up specific rooms where students can yell, scream and de-stress. Usually, in conjunction with the health center, these areas are equipped with information and people for getting tips on how to deal with stress and prevent it.

screaming for stress relief

Many times homework and essays can create stress and depression. It’s more difficult to help this type of stress because generally, the students cannot take a break whenever they want. That's why many universities are helping to prevent student stress over their essays by educating professors on tips to make it easier.

While stress can cause college students to lose sleep, other factors play into this as well. Noise, alcohol, and other campus activities can alter sleep schedules. When stress combines with sleep deprivation, it can lead to other health issues.

Some of the effects of stress on high school students are very similar to that of college. If you have a high school student, we recommend following many of the tips we have below to help reduce the anxiety and stress they may be experiencing and prepare them for college.

Emotional symptoms of stress:

stress symptom easily frustrated

Easily Frustrated

stress symptom loss of control

Feeling Out of Control

stress symptom feeling overwhelming

Feeling overwhelmed

stress symptom feeling moody


difficulty to relax stress symptom

Difficulty Relaxing

stress symptom depression

Feeling depressed and like a failure

stress symptom avoiding people

Avoiding People

Physical symptoms of stress:

stress symptom headaches


stress symptom low energy

Low Energy

stress symptom diarrhea

Upset digestion, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea

muscle pain symptom of-stress

Tense muscles

dry mouth symptom of stress

Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing

heart problems symptom of stress

Chest  pain and rapid heartbeat

insomnia as a symptom of stress


frequent sickness as a symptom of stress

Frequent illnesses

loss of sexual drive as a symptom of stress

Loss of sexual desire and/or ability

nervous as a symptom of stress

Nervousness and shaking

ringing in the ears as a symptom of stress

Ringing in the ear

sweaty hands symptom of stress

Cold or sweaty hands and feet

grinding teeth as a symptom of stress

Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress:

anxiety as a symptom of stress


racing thoughts symptom of stress

Racing thoughts

forgetfulness as a symptom of stress


pessimism symptom of stress


disorganization as a symptom of stress


inability to focus as a symptom of stress

Inability to focus

Behavioral symptoms of stress:

eating too much as a symptom of stress

Eating too much

loss of appetite as a symptom of stress

Not eating enough

procrastination as a symptom of stress


alcohol abuse as a symptom of stress

Needing alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes

nail biting as a symptom of stress

Nail biting

fidgeting as a symptom of stress


pacing as a symptom of stress


Facts About Stress

One of the things high school and even college prep courses don’t do is teach students how to handle college stress. Many will acknowledge that college is highly stressful and it takes a lot of time and effort, but they rarely give students the stress management skills or emphasize that such facilities exist.

Stress levels in college students have reached an all-time high. There is tremendous pressure on students to conform not only to academic requirements but social and peer pressure. These pressures vary with the different types of colleges and universities and can change in different areas. In large cities, where there is significant diversity, the demands for social conformity is higher than in smaller colleges.

suicide due to college stress

Some of the stress in college students center around the extent of work students have to do. Many students suffer from essay stress and the need to write thousands of different words under precise guidelines.

One of the ways for students to reduce stress is a homework ban. It started as a movement in elementary schools and has spread to high schools and even colleges. Homework was often seen as a time to practice and to catch up with materials not covered in class. But, the amount of stress it places on a student is very high.

To try to reduce some of the stress levels in college students, some professors decided to eliminate homework. It has been met with mixed success. Some professors claim students are doing better in their classes and are more prepared, and others say they found students study less and are not learning the materials.

Causes of Stress in Students

There are many causes of college stress. People who go to college think that they will escape the distress of high school. Unfortunately, many people find the same stresses there and sometimes even worse.

To manage stress during college, you have to uncover how you as a student suffer from stress. What about high school and college causes you stress?

Types of Stress

academic stress during college years

Academic stress

Worry over grades, deadlines, and opinions of teachers

financial stress during college

Financial stress

Worry over the ability to pay for your education and/or rent, food, and other essentials

moving stress during college

Moving stress

Concern over living conditions, temporary housing, and the physical process of moving - this happens to people who live in dorms more often than apartments

Occupational stress during college

Occupational stress

Concern over finding a job or keeping a job, and balancing education and study time

police stress during college

Police stress

Concern over the law, violations laws, and profiling - most of the time this is justified, but it may be irrational

alcohol stress during college

Alcohol/drug stress

Concern over the prevalence, accessibility, and use of alcohol or drugs

social stress during college

Social stress

Concern over maintaining appearances and social situations

peers stress during college

Peer stress

Worrying over keeping friends and social obligations

Psychological stress during college

Psychological stress

Concern, and pressures of mental inabilities or the culmination of other stresses

Residual stress during college

Residual stress

Stress that lingers after the stressor has been removed or secondary stress picked up from those who are the primary stressed

There's a lot of ways time and stress management can help manage stress in college. If you don’t learn to cope with your stress, you need to be able to identify what’s going on and the cause. From there, you can get a handle on your stress and learn to de-stress your life with the tips we have below.

How to Prevent College Stress

There's some stress that can be dealt with, while some stress cannot. Coping strategies for stress are more so for pressures and stressors you cannot eliminate. Other stress reduction techniques can work on the stress that can be changed.

One of the first steps to managing stress is to understand what you’re stressing about.

From there, students can manage stress healthily and conductively.

Medical Ways to Relieve Stress

Modern medicine has provided all sorts of drugs and stress management counseling that work for many different people. In counseling, stress management plans are created by professionals that help students use various tips and techniques for managing stress.

One of the stress relief ideas emphasizes how to manage time in college. Many students have a difficult time planning out their day and judging how to study in a timely fashion.

Some of the stress management techniques discussed we have below. Often, the best plan is one that involves the least amount of invasive procedures.

But sometimes, stress becomes so unmanageable that intervention is required. Various medications * can be used to manage anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. These are powerful tools and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

One example is most students need to take a speech class in college, and speaking is one of the top fears everyone has. Using medication * for a short time to overcome anxiety and fear of public speaking may be beneficial and help people get to the class without having issues.

Behavioral Ways to Relieve Stress

Several behavioral strategies have been designed to provide relaxation and physical release for various stressors. Sometimes, stress management therapy takes the form of stress relief games. Things like racquetball, dodgeball, and other physical sports can be used as stress management games because they help release stress hormones and create a physical activity to wear a person out.

playing sports for stress relieve

Stress relief toys *, like stress balls, are often used for short-term and intermediate stress. Physical activity is one of the best stress relief activities.

Stress Balls:

In some colleges, they have stress relief massage groups. These are small groups where people get together and gently massage each other for various periods of time. It provides relaxation, physical bonding time, and one of the healthy ways to deal with stress.

In money management classes of the business department, stress training comes as part of the curriculum. They use various techniques for relieving stress, such as games, discussions, and influential leadership.

Stress Management Classes

More universities have begun offering stress management workshops and classes. In these designated periods, students are taught tips for relieving stress and other management techniques. You can also find many of the stress management worksheets and games used in the workshops online for free.

They have information on time management, stress identification, and expectation evaluations.

Natural Stress Relief

Some of the ways to prevent stress are the most natural. In various stress centers around campus, people are taught stress relief exercises. They’ve introduced things like yoga for stress relief and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Both yoga and mindfulness use specific breathing techniques to calm the body and relieve stress.

One of the breathing exercises is to shut your eyes and take 10 deep, long breathes. This helps oxygenate your blood, reduces blood pressure, and gives your mind a chance to catch up on all your thoughts.

Exercise, in general, is a great way to relieve stress. It helps ease tension, get out frustration and rebounds the body. For people who have trouble sleeping, exercise is a great way to tire yourself out so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Supplementation is also a good idea. Some of the supplements for stress relief include a B vitamin complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. These are all brain boosters cope with stress and function at an optimal level.

When it comes to supplements, we don't recommend taking brain boosters if you are already under tremendous amounts of stress. They can push you into higher levels of anxiety and depression. However, if you are managing your stress well, using many of the techniques we have here, brain boosters can give you a good supply of vitamins and nutrients that help you think clearly and get a lot more done.


Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. Some stress is good, and some are bad. Depending on our reaction to it, it can be beneficial or hazardous. What makes the difference is how we use stress. Is it a motivator or a detriment?

Take a look at some of the stress tips and types of stress we have in this article. Once you know what is stressing you out, it’s easy to begin to take steps to reduce the stress in your life.

If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thanks!


Christina Major

Christina Major is a holistic nutritionist, traditional naturopath, and herbalist. She has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and an advanced degree in Traditional Naturopathy. Further certifications in herbalism and metabolic typing. She owns and operates Crystal Holistic Health Consulting based in PA, the USA since 2010.