Managing Stress

by | Sep 20, 2019 | Wellbeing | 0 comments

Managing Stress When starting university, students will face new academic responsibilities and social experiences. This lifestyle change can trigger a variety of feelings, ranging from excitement and happiness to apprehension, anxiety and loneliness. These mixed feelings are not exclusive to students in their first year at university since each progressive stage presents new challenges. This article will be talking about stress at university and how to help manage it.

  1. Are you stressed?

 First, it is important to consider what stress is and how to recognise the symptoms. Stress arises in a situation where a person is unsure if they can cope with the demands being placed upon them. Symptoms of stress vary from physical tension and discomfort to anxiety, to feeling overwhelmed, demotivated, or even numb. Therefore, stress can be damaging to both our physical and mental health.



  1. Stress triggers at university

Stress triggers at university can be external (i.e. those that arise in the world around us), or internal (i.e. those that arise inside of us). An example of an external trigger of stress would be living away from home for the first time, where as an example of an internal trigger would be worrying that you won’t cope without family and friends from home. External triggers of stress are often easier to overcome than internal ones. This is because internal stress triggers are inside our heads and so our minds get caught in tricky loops of worry which are hard to step out of. One technique to help overcome internal triggers of stress is the practice of mindfulness. At its most simple, mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without getting caught up in judgements, worries and rumination. For more information on mindfulness visit:

  1. Live well, study well

Students become stressed when they struggle to strike a healthy balance between work, rest and play. Lifestyle changes must be introduced to help manage this. For example, sleep is essential for physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as improved academic performance. However, studies have found that between 50% to 70% of students are not getting enough sleep (Hershner and Chevin, 2014). In order to increase the amount of rest they get, students must introduce a regular sleeping pattern and ensure a technology free hour before bed.

  1. Study Smart 

The best way for students to avoid their studies becoming too stressful is to study smart, not hard, by setting realistic goals, working within manageable hours and taking regular breaks. Studying smart will ensure students are more efficient in their studies because they will have to stamina to keep working.


Studying hard

Studying smart


Unrealistic and rigid

Realistic and flexible

Hours per day

Long hours, from early in the morning and late into the night

Manageable hours. Your schedule will depend on your other commitments (e.g. paid work, family).

Time off studying

Little or no time off. Feeling self-critical or guilty when not studying

Regular breaks that provide a chance to recharge. Doing helpful and enjoyable things during breaks. It is recommended to study for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break.

Long-term consequences

Exhaustion, poor concentration, burnout. Less efficient – less knowledge is processed per hour of studying

Stamina to keep studying due to balanced schedule. More efficient – better recall and understanding of material.


For more information read Kate Joseph and Chris Irons Pocket Study Skills book, Managing Stress.

If you need help or someone you know acting differently such as seeming low, worried or stressed, you can call the University’s Counselling Service on +44 (0)161 275 2864, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, or email:

Nightline is a confidential listening and information service run for students by students; contact Nightline on +44 (0)161 275 3983. Lines are open 8pm – 8am during term time.

Francesca Berry BA (Hons) Politics and Modern History