tiger-fur image


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress can be defined as the brain's response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term or long-term.1 


College years are characterized by multiple transitions. Stress is a normal and expected reaction to these transitions. Stress can motivate us, but too much stress can hurt us. Students may experience stress associated with academic demands, family problems, social relations, work, financial concerns and cultural experiences.

Stress and the Student Body 

True Grit: How to push through and move forward

Capture your calm: 8 small steps to stress less

Chill out, don’t bug out: Your best ways to prep for stress

Mind your mind: Stress-proof the holidays

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • Changes in eating patterns

  • Increased frequency of headaches

  • Being more irritable than usual

  • Recurring colds and minor illnesses

  • Frequent muscle aches and/or tightness

  • Being more disorganized than usual

  • Increased difficulty in getting things done

  • Greater sense of persistent time pressure

  • Increased frustration and anger

ULifeline, Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL

  • Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support.

  • Recognize signs of your body's response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed and having low energy.

  • Set priorities – decide what must get done and what can wait. Learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.

  • Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.

  • Avoid dwelling on problems.

  • Exercise regularly – just 30 minutes per day of gentle walking can help boost mood and reduce stress.

  • Schedule regular times for healthy and relaxing activities.

  • Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga, tai chi or other gentle exercises.

  • Practice mindfulness:  1. Take a couple of deep, slow breaths.  2. Spend a few minutes checking in with each of your five senses. What do you see, hear, taste, touch and smell?  3. Repeat this exercise as often as needed. 

  • Engage in spiritual practices and/or join faith communities. Adopting an attitude of gratitude for what one currently has can shift perspective and enhance coping.

  • Get proper health care for existing or new health problems.

  • Seek help from a qualified mental health care provider if you are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope. Learn More About CAPS

More Great Ways to Manage Stress from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Helpful Tips on How to Manage Every Day Stress in College

American Heart Association: Healthy Stress Management

American Psychological Association: Five Tips to Help Manage Stress

National Institute of Mental Health, Fact Sheet on Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL  

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Turkey breast

  • Oatmeal

  • Yogurt

  • Salmon

  • Blueberries

  • Pistachios

  • Dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

  • Seeds

  • Milk

  • Avocado

  • Cashews

Edible Stress Busters

Funston, L. (n.d.). 12 Superfoods for Stress Relief. Retrieved from URL


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS, located in Redfern Health Center, provides a safe and confidential environment for students to address stressors and psychological needs that may occur during their time in college. An after-hours CAPS counselor is available and can be reached by calling the Clemson University Police Department at 864-656-2222 and asking for the CAPS counselor on call.

Appointments/Accessing Services

Services and Programs Offered by CAPS


Office of Advocacy and Success

FAQs: Do you have questions about CARE Reports, dropping a class or withdrawing or advocates on campus?

CARE NetworkSubmit a CARE Report

Academic Success Center  

Are academics the main source of your stress? Find out what the Academic Success Center has to offer all students.

Campus Recreation

Lead a healthy lifestyle and be active - get moving to relieve stress and check out all the fitness options on campus! They even offer massage therapy.

Dining Services

Lead a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet - know the nutritional content of your food and upcoming menus at the dining halls on campus


An ombuds is an independent, informal, neutral and confidential resource who provides assistance to members of the University community in exploring options to resolve problems, complaints and conflicts when normal processes and procedures have not worked satisfactorily.

Local and National

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Managing Stress

The American Institute of Stress: College Students

ULifeline: Stress


Murgia, M. (November 2015). How stress affects your brain. Retrieved from URL

McGonigal, K. (June 2013). How to make stress your friend. Retrieved from URL

How Stress and Anxiety Hurt Your Health. (2014, August 27). Retrieved from URL

1National Institute of Mental Health, Fact Sheet on Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL