12 Tips for Managing Stress and Maintaining Happiness

happinessThe fall can be an overwhelming time for everyone.  You are starting a bunch of new courses, settling back into routines, assignments, part-time work . . .   Here are 12 tips that will help you balance the work-load, get into a grove, and stay motivated.

Happiness is a Choice:

There are some people who seem to choose to be miserable regardless of their circumstances and others who choose to be happy regardless of their circumstance.  Choose happiness; there is an abundance of research that proves that if you take a positive approach to life you will be healthier and more successful.

Give Up Perfectionism:

Because there is no such thing as perfection, if you constantly strive for the unnatainable, you will innevitably suffer from poor self-esteem.   The reality is, if you want to get everything done that you need to get done then you are going to have to just let some things go even if they are not perfect.  Getting an imperfect assignment in on time is better than a perfect assignment that is late, gets marks deducted anyway and compromises your sanity.

Stop Procrastinating:

Delaying completing a task that you need to attend to is only going to cause more stress and drain your energy.  You may try to ignore them, but you know they are there, and they eat up your energy.  Get those little things done.  The most effective and efficient people are those who attend to the details quickly.

Learn to Say NO!

Although you may feel that you are being selfish if you refuse a  request, you need to learn to distinguish between self-centerdness and self-care. Alternatively, if you have a hard time saying “no”, then just don’t say “yes” right away.  When someone asks you to help with something or do something say “that sounds great, I will check my calendar and get back to you”.  Then if you really do have the time, go for it and if you don’t you can let them know that “you are sorry, but you just can’t make it work, or you can’t help this time.”

Take Time for Simple Pleasures:

This can mean something different to everyone; for some it is a hot bath, for others eating a decadent dessert, or going for a walk.  Whatever it is on a daily or weekly basis that makes you feel good, take the time to do it.

Take Some Time to Get Organized:

Your physical space is a reflection of your mental space.  If you want more inner organization and clarity, take the time to establish an organize and uncluttered physical environment.

Re-adjust Your Thought Patterns:

Some suffering is unavoidable, and other suffering is self-inflicted. You may not be able to control everything that happens in your life, but you can control how you respond to life’s challenges.  So stop beating yourself up over every little thing and get on with it.

Be an Optimist:

Switch your thought patterns from

This is personal and it always happens to me (a victim mentality)


This is a challenge, but I can control how I respond

Reframe Your Life:

Change the frame of reference through which you choose to see things. Try to see the silver-lining.  Remind yourself that even when things seem bad, they almost always could be worse.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Life is a journey, not a destination.  Enjoy each step.  What would you rather it said on your grave stone?

“Finished everything on her list, and died totally pissed off”


“She loved a lot, was kind and silly, was a friend you could count on, knew how to play, and did a reasonably good job even though she didn’t return all of her emails.”

Misery Loves Company:

We all have the choice of throwing ourselves a pity party every time something doesn’t go as planned, or we can pick ourselves up and keep going.

Don’t forget, complaining can compromise other people’s sanity as well as your own.

Take the Time to be Grateful:

When you are feeling burnt out and sad, take some time to list all of the many things that you are grateful for instead of focusing on all the things that are not the way you want them to be.

For more tips on Managing your Stress Check Out:

Dr. Joan Borysenko  

Published by lessstressedstudents

Clare Tattersall is the Manager of Undergraduate Services for the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Western Ontario.

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