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)
- Surfing Out Stress with RAIN (Listen/Download)
- “Noting” Practice (Listen/Download)
- Body Scan Meditation (Listen/Download)
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 or Acute Care at 203-432-0123 after hours and weekends.
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