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12 ways to manage stress

Image of woman with headphones on, overlooking grassy fields leading to a mountain in the distance.
Fresh air and a walk are great for stress management

Stress is a normal, natural physical and mental response from your body designed to help you cope with difficult situations. Your body produces chemicals to enable you to perform well for a short time in a challenging situation.

So, it’s a good thing?! Why should we stress less?

Too much stress can cause a buildup of harmful chemicals which can impact your physical or mental health.

Here are twelve ways to help manage your stress:

1. Listen to music

Listen to soothing music to help slow your pulse and heart rate and reduce levels of stress hormones. Music not only helps you relax but can foster your creativity, increase your motivation, allow you to express yourself and lead to social connection.

2. Connect with friends

When we connect with friends, we tend to enjoy ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to have fun, laugh and feel supported by the people we care about. Get involved with social events by joining a club to participating in SLAM events on your campus (all dates and locations in MelbPoly Thrive mobile app)

3. Laugh and make time for fun

It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing increases your breathing rate, releases dopamine (the ‘feel good’ chemical in your body) and lowers blood pressure.

4. Celebrate when things go well

It is important to reflect on what you have been able to achieve and succeed at. Rewarding yourself can boost your motivation and drive to help you reach your goals and ambitions.

5. Ask for help

You may find it helpful to speak to someone who is not involved in the problem. That way, you may gain a different perspective to find a solution together. Counselling creates a space where you can stop and reflect on the things that are happening in your life. It is also a sign of strength that shows you care about yourself to seek help.

6. Talk positively to yourself

Have you ever caught yourself being negative and found yourself stressed out more than you need to be? Try balancing negative thoughts with positive affirmations. This is called positive self-talk.

7. Get enough sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to help your body regenerate itself. It is recommended that adults have an average of 7-8 hours sleep per day. If appropriate, allow yourself to have short naps (15-20 minutes during the day).

8. Write it down

Sometimes, if you write things down, it helps to take it off your mind and gain another perspective. It can also help to express yourself and release the emotion of what you’re feeling.

9. Do one thing at a time

Simplify your life. Create a to-do list and set priorities to help you focus and concentrate. By doing so, it will help to improve the quality of what you do.

10. Take a few deep breaths

Even just a few deep breaths helps to relate tension and relax your mind and body. Deep breathing brings greater clarity, releases emotional problems and physical pain and elevates your mood.

11. Go for a walk

Get some fresh air, activate your body and clear your mind. You can also join the Melbourne Polytechnic Fitness Centre and join in one of their free group fitness classes for members 

12. Meditate

Research shows that meditating on a regular basis helps you reduce stress, increase sleep, improve brain function, reduce ageing, improve immunity and metabolism. Join in free weekly meditation sessions, run by the Melbourne Polytechnic counselling team. All dates and locations in MelbPoly Thrive mobile app