12 Tips For Managing Stress And Maintaining Happiness


The fall can be an overwhelming time for everyone.

You’re in a bunch of new courses, settling back into routines, assignments, mid-terms, part-time work…

Here are 12 tips that will help you balance the work load, get into a grove and stay motivated:

1. Choose to be happy

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.

2. Give up perfectionism

Because we are infinitely creative, if you insist on perfection, you will unavoidably suffer from poor self-esteem.  After all, whatever you did, you could have done it better.   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.

3. Stop procrastinating

Delaying completing a task that you need to attend to is one of the greatest misuses of time.  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.

4. Learn to say NO!

Although you may have a nagging feeling that you are being selfish if you refuse a reasonable request, you need to learn to distinguish between selfishness 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.

5. 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.

6. Take some time to get organized

The space outside of you is a reflection of your inner space.  So, if you want more inner peace, take the time to establish outer peace.

7. Re-adjust your thought patterns

There are two types of suffering: mandatory and optional.  Banish the afflicting thoughts that create needless suffering.

You may not be able to control everything that happens in your life, but you can control how you respond to life’s challenges.

8. Be an optimist

Switch your thought patterns from Personal, Pervasive and Permanent to Challenge, Control and Commitment.

9. Re-frame 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.

10. Have more fun

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,” or “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.”

11. 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.

12. 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.

How do you overcome stress and stay happy? Leave your tips in the comments below.

Photo credit: feel happiness by paramita smetana on Flickr

About the author

Clare Tattersall is the Manager of Career Development and Community Based Learning at Huron University College at Western University in London, Ont. She oversees the international exchange and internship programs, offers career counseling and development appointments and workshops, and has developed and implemented a co-curricular certificate in Leadership and Professional Development. Clare holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature and has over 10 years of experience in the communications sector and post-secondary administration.