58.5 per cent of Ontario post-secondary students felt more than an average amount of stress.

Positive thoughts about stress, can reduce the negative impact on your body. Stress is what physically prepares you for challenges and even motivates you to act on your situation. For example, the stress of an upcoming exam may be what pushes you to study. Some helpful thoughts about stress are “if I’m stressed, I must be doing important things” and “feeling stressed motivates me to focus on my priorities.” For a more positive view of stress, watch and listen to psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk.

When stress becomes unhealthy

Prolonged stress and feeling negative about your stress can lead you into a cycle where you feel less able to manage. Early signs include:

  • Difficulty sleeping/sleeping too much.
  • Irritability.
  • Compromised immune system.
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties.
  • Decreased motivation.

Self-help tips

  • Plan ahead and prepare for stressful times.
  • Socialize.
  • Stimulate your senses with things you enjoy (e.g. savour a piece of chocolate, listen to calming music, smell lavender oil).
  • Talk to someone.
  • Make time to do things you enjoy.
  • Journal your stressors to organize your thoughts.
  • Exercise.

Where to seek help

  • Student Academic Learning Services (SALS).
  • Student advisors from Academic Support Resources.
  • Access and Support Centre (ASC).
  • Aboriginal Student Centre.
  • ASC.
  • Coaching and Support Centre.