Counseling and Psychological Services

Stress Less

Everyone has stress. Stress is our natural response to a perceived threat. The body responds to stress by increasing heart rate, muscle tension and blood pressure.

Helpful stress can give us energy in a crisis and sometimes even the extra push we need to get ourselves to work.

Unhelpful stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed and behind on your tasks.

If you feel that your stress has become too difficult to manage, make an appointment with CAPS ( 858-534-3755 ) and/or try the following stress management techniques.


How to cope with stress

Reduce your stressors (the people, places and things that cause stress) to help minimize the pressure on you.

Manage your behaviors (like time management, prioritizing, and taking time for rest) to help you cope with stress you can’t reduce.

Change how you think about stress to help you feel more relaxed.

Set realistic expectations.

Focus on the present , rather than worry about the future.


How to relax

Deep Breathing : Take in deep slow breaths in through your nose and out through yourmouth. Relax your body with each breath. Continue until relaxed.

Progressive relaxation : Get comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Tense up the muscles of your feet. Relax your feet and feel the tension flow away. Breathe slowly and deeply. Progressively relax one muscle group at a time: lower legs, upper legs, abdomen, chest, neck face and heat.

Visual Meditation : Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Imagine a peaceful place and picture it as vividly as you can. Incorporate as many sensory details as possible.

Behavioral Strategies

Manage your time by prioritizing

Have at least one hour of downtime or quiet time each day.

Engage in activities you enjoy with people that you love.

Look for opportunities to help and take care of others (and yourself).  


Physical Strategies

Get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.

Eat a balanced diet.

Exercise at least 3 times a week.

Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol.


For more tips on how to manage your stress, go to CAPS Relaxation Central

For a poster to print and put on your wall go HERE  (PDF)

For downloadable MP3s :


Campus Recreation

Recreation has many services that help you manage your stress. Get fit, have fun, meet new people at UCSD Recreation. For information on campus recreation classes, teams, wellness programs, outback adventures, aquatics, and recreation facilities click HERE .

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