Anxiety and Stress

Stress is your body’s response to a real or imagined threat. When all goes well, stress can protect you from harm. In moderate amounts, it can help you think more clearly, stay focused, and respond quickly. Unfortunately, chronic stress can hurt you and your health. It can affect your sleep, appetite, and ability to concentrate. It’s important to learn how to manage stress so you can cope with the demands of your classes and everyday life.

Stressful situations -- a big test, public speaking, a first date -- might make you feel anxious but that feeling will probably pass once the source of the stress is gone. If you have an anxiety disorder, however, the fear and dread does not go away once the source of the stress is past. Anxiety can affect your mood, body, and behavior.

  • Anxious thoughts such as, “What if.. I fail?” “I am never going to get this.” “Everyone else is smarter than me.”
  • Stressful thoughts and feelings, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, or feeling “swamped”
  • Physical responses (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, upset stomach)
  • Behavioral changes (avoiding situations that trigger anxiety, feeling immobilized, not eating)

Adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health

Start Relaxing Now

Relaxation Exercises Audio Series

Additional Resources

National Institute of Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders

Go Ask Alice: College Students Q&A about Stress and Anxiety

ULifeline: Mental Health self-assessment Information and resources pertaining to depression, suicide, and other mental health topics, as well as anonymous, confidential mental health screenings

Relaxation Room Flyer

Too Busy to Relax?

Consider that seven to ten minutes spent each day giving your mind and spirit a break could improve your overall performance and academic success.

Stress management helps to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.  Numerous studies suggest that stress management benefits your psychological, physical, and social well-being. The more you practice, the greater the effect.

Stress Management Tips
  • Balance your life
  • Write in a journal
  • Talk to a supportive friend or family member
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Blow soap bubbles (if you need some, stop by CMHS)
  • Watch funny videos online
  • Practice mindfulness meditation
  • Exercise, preferably outdoors if weather permits
  • Take an off-campus break
  • Dance
  • Take a 10-minute study break each hour
Stress Reduction and Relaxation for Resident Assistants

If you’re an RA, you may be the first line of defense for your residents, especially when they’re stressed. We have developed easy, ready-made programming, handouts, and exercises for you to share with your residents during meetings or on bulletin boards.

Below you will find a list of apps related to improving mental health and quality of life. Please note that these are not meant to be a substitute for in-person treatment, but rather a supplement. 

MindShift

This app (iOSAndroidallows you to monitor symptoms specific to anxiety and also provides a number of coping skills and anxiety-reducing techniques for a variety of situations (social anxiety, test anxiety, etc.). 

Stop, Breathe, Think

A simple, user-friendly app for guided meditation. It also allows you to track your meditation progress (iOSAndroid).

Headspace

This app (iOSAndroidincludes 10 free guided meditations you can access any time with the option of in-app purchases for more. Each meditation includes accompanying graphics to aid in your practice.

Self-help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

This app (iOSAndroidencourages you to track your anxiety and make note of triggers. It includes coping skills and anxiety-reducing techniques that you can customize in the app’s “anxiety tool-kit.” Psychoeducation about anxiety is also provided.

 

Getting Help

If you are not feeling like yourself or have any concern, big or small, you are welcome here. We see many students every year for a wide range of concerns. Anything that is a concern to you is enough of a reason to schedule an appointment.

Individual Counseling

Personal counseling gives you the opportunity to speak with someone who can help you build on your strengths and learn new skills to help you resolve obstacles to getting the most out of your experience at Tufts.

Groups and Workshops

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: A drop-in group devoted to building mindfulness and coping skills. Learn to better manage stress and practice being more present in the moment. 

Pause for PawsHang out with therapy dogs and learn relaxation techniques.

Koru MindfulnessManage your stress. Learn mindfulness and meditation in a 4 week class.

Consultations and Training

We provide consultations and training to many individuals and groups on campus who are striving to assist students dealing with the stress of college life.

Psychiatric Medication Evaluation

CMHS offers psychiatric medication evaluations to students who may need combined medication and counseling.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

We offer animal-assisted therapy (AAT) by appointment and a weekly drop-in hour.

Referral Guide for Off-Campus Mental Health Services

We offer time-limited counseling services for students. If you would benefit from longer-term or specialized treatment, we may refer you to a provider in the community. This guide will answer many of your questions about referrals and help you with the referral process.