Carnegie Mellon University

Stress

At Carnegie Mellon, we talk a lot about stress.  In fact, when CMU students are asked which health problems negatively impact their academics, stress is the most common answer.


Stress is a response to a stressor or a stimulus, including those that are real or perceived and those that are positive or negative.  Responses can be physical, emotional and mental, and are influenced by our perceptions, coping skills, how healthy we are, and the world around us. 

Stress can help us achieve many positive goals.  When managed well, stress helps us complete projects, meet deadlines, or perform well in sports. 

However, when stress is not managed well or when we experience too much of it, stress negatively impacts our health and well-being.  Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension, high blood pressure, or anxiety.  Chronic stress also weakens our immune systems, making us more likely to get sick.  The bodily changes caused by stress take a toll, often leading to mental and physical exhaustion and illness.

Unfortunately, stress is here to stay - it's just part of life.  While we may not be able to control all of the stressful situations in life, there are many strategies we can use to reduce or prevent problems from stress.  Reducing negative impacts from stress and using stress to our advantage is a more realistic goal than trying to eliminate stress. 

Stress management is all about utilizing healthy approaches to preventing, reducing and coping with stress.  Managing stress is individual, so it's important to try out different strategies and use what works for you.  Check out Stress Management Resources for strategies and tools you can use.

University Health Services offers individual stress management consulations at no cost to students.  Visit HealthConnectto schedule an appointment with a Health Promotion Specialist to create a personal plan to improve your stress management skills.