What is stress?

Stress is a physical and emotional reaction to a perceived threat – whether the threat exists or not.  Our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode as if we were faced with a saber-toothed tiger in early human days.  In our modern lives, our bodies and minds perceive smaller difficulties (exams, arguments, busy schedules) as major threats – it’s what we’ve evolved to do!  But the good news is that we can learn to undo this unecessary “fight or flight” reaction using mindfulness-based skills.  Managing our stress can have a direct impact on the quality of our sleep.  And better sleep means less stress!

The videos and audio clips below (created as a partnership between Student Wellness and goBlue Labs) offer some strategies for managing stress using mindfulness-based skills.

Quick Stress-Relief Strategies

Audio files (MP3s)

More on Mindfulness and “Noting” Practice

  • Mindfulness  -  the practice of becoming aware of the present moment and exploring the feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations that accompany it rather than trying to run from or change them.

  • The skills (including noting) take practice; watch the videos, try the skills, and then watch the videos again to gain a stronger understanding of the methods.

  • You can also download the audio files which highlight the skills so you can practice them whenever and wherever you want.

If you are experiencing acute stress or a crisis situation, you should reach out for assistance. Yale Students can contact Mental Health & Counseling at 203-432-0290.

Additional Stress-Management Tips & Resources

  • Breathing: Three exercises - relaxing breathing techniques from Dr. Andrew Weil – try the 4-7-8 breath for a natural tranquilizer
  • Free Guided Meditations - short & sweet guided meditations from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center; the 5 minute breathing meditation is a great place to start
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation with others in the Yale community
  • Young adults need 7-9 hours of sleep her night – take a look at your sleep habits to see what supports or distrupts quality sleep
  • How to Nap” infographic
  • Prioritize regular “me” time as #healthyselfishness
  • Test out new time-management strategies, including workshops at the CTL
  • Incorporate regular physical activity and good nutrition into your schedule
  • When you find yourself spending too much time at the computer, try these great computer and desk stretches to relax tense shoulders, neck and back – incorporate stretches every 45 minutes if possible