15 tips to turn stress into success

Posted on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Author: Simone Davis, Academic Success Coordinator

Student reading an article on her laptop

Stress is a normal reaction, and it doesn’t have to be scary if you know how to go about it. There are different methods to reduce stress, and some can be as easy as simply exercising, eating well and having a good sleep. But is it enough to conquer stress?


Here are 15 tips to better help you manage your stress

1- Look at the big picture. 

Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.

2 - Avoid people who stress you out. 

If someone consistently causes stress in your life, limit the amount of time you spend with that person, or end the relationship.

3 - Pare down your to-do list. 
Analyze your schedule, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

4 - Reframe problems. 

Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or spend some quality time with friends or family.

5 - Be willing to compromise. 

When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.

6 - Create a balanced schedule.

All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between studies and fun times, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.

7 - Adjust your standards. 

Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others and learn to be okay with good enough.

8 - Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. 

Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over those things, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

9 - Look for the upside. 

When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from it.

10 - Take control of your environment. 

If the evening news makes you anxious, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

11- Learn to forgive. 

Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

12 - Share your feelings. 

Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation. Talk to someone you trust.

13 - Practice gratitude. 

When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

14 - Learn how to say “no” 

Know your limits and stick to them. Taking on more than you can handle is a sure-fire recipe for stress. Distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts” and, when possible, say “no” to taking on too much.

15 - Express your feelings instead of bottling them up.

If something or someone is bothering you, be more assertive and communicate your concerns. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, you can say that you only have five minutes to talk. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build, and the stress will increase.


Exam season is upon us and it’s only natural that our stress levels increase. Before becoming overwhelmed this exam season, don’t forget that you can also chat with a student mentor on the Academic GPS to explore different strategies to help you stay focused, organized, and motivated!

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