Expert Stress Management Techniques for Students of All Ages


Stress has a notable impact on the overall quality of life for students at nearly every level. In the U.S., approximately 83% of teens are stressed due to school, with 63% labeling homework as a primary factor. For high school students in particular, approximately 31% feel overwhelmed due to their stress. When it comes to college students, 8 out of every 10 students experience frequent stress.

Stress management is an Executive Function skill that all students should develop now that will also benefit them for years down the line. Whether a sixth grader is overwhelmed by the differences from elementary school, or a college student is trying to balance school work with a social life, stress management techniques are essential.

When you’re so used to being stressed over one thing or another, you may just accept it as your normal. Fortunately, there are many stress management techniques that can help reduce your stress. These techniques can also help the negative effects that stress can have on your body and mind. We’ll provide a list of stress management techniques that can benefit students of all ages. Then we’ll dive into the importance of stress management techniques for students.

Free resource: School Success Kit


10 stress management techniques from experts that can benefit students of all ages

With such a large number of students feeling stressed out, there has been plenty of research and techniques that have been shared by health care professionals and educators that can help.

Even though stress for students often centers on schoolwork, many other factors can contribute to their stress. Besides academic performance, they can also feel stress from family issues, conflicts with friends and planning for the future, just to name a few. When stress is coming at them from every direction, stress management is essential.

Every student is different and so is the way that they manage their stress. It’s important that students test out different techniques to determine which is the most effective for their particular circumstances and stress triggers. They can all be adapted for a student’s grade level and capabilities.

Here are 10 stress management techniques that can help students of all ages:

  • Get the body moving — Exercising on a regular basis is often recommended as a stress management technique. It alleviates stress in several ways, like giving the mind a break from an overwhelming task. It also releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that lift one’s mood. Exercising can even boost a person’s confidence. More confidence can help students feel more self-assured in their abilities to tackle stressful situations.
  • Regulate sleep — Some students want to sleep the day away. Others sacrifice sleep in favor of studying or scrolling through their phones. Teens should get between eight and 10 hours of sleep a night to reduce the presence of stress hormones in their body. Sleep also increases their memory and concentration so that they can perform better in class, which can reduce their stress about poor grades.
  • Eat a balanced diet — It’s important that students eat enough nutrients to be energized and motivated to manage stressful tasks throughout the day. Eating foods with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates can help reduce stress levels, such as cortisol. Eating too many snacks that are high in sugar and salt can make it difficult to focus during an exam or maintain energy after school to participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Try a breathing exercise — A student is likely to roll their eyes when they’re told to “just breathe” during stressful times. But it’s been shown to be effective when done the right way. Deep breathing techniques, like box breathing or 4-7-8 breathing, help to control breathing. They can bring both the mind and body to a more relaxed state. It also helps to break up distracting or negative thought patterns that contribute to stress.
  • Use guided imagery — A common stress management technique is visualization, or guided imagery. It can bring relaxation by transporting a person away from a stressful task or environment by picturing a different setting. Visualizing an image that brings a person peace can reduce stress through the connection of their mind and body while releasing the tension in their muscles.
  • Manage time — There are only so many hours in the day. That's why students have to learn how to properly allocate the time for their responsibilities. Stress often comes from feeling overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done in a short time frame. Time management tools can reduce the stress of a long to-do list. Tools can include blocking their schedules or working on a large assignment in short intervals.
  • Reduce caffeine intake — Many students, particularly those in high school or college, will say, “Coffee is my fuel.” Students often depend on caffeine through coffee or energy drinks to get them through the day. But caffeine can actually make a person feel more stressed. While it doesn’t directly cause stress, caffeine can increase cortisol levels. Cortisol can worsen the nervous and anxious feelings that stem from feeling stressed.
  • Make time for hobbies — It may seem like the only way to reduce stress is by throwing 100% of your time and energy into the stressful tasks. But you have to prioritize what makes you happy. Students should make time in their schedule to indulge in hobbies and focus on the positive feelings their hobbies bring them. Reading, playing an instrument or crafting can give their mind a break from stress. They'll also feel refreshed afterward.
  • Lean on a support system — While the anxiety that comes from being stressed can make students feel alone, it’s important for them to know that there are people in their life who can understand what they’re going through. Students can find comfort in their friends and family during stressful times by venting about their frustrations and getting encouragement to keep going. 
  • Seek a professional — If a student is experiencing overwhelming stress that’s impacting their emotional and mental health, talking to a psychotherapist can make a significant difference. A therapist can help a student understand the root problems of their stress. An Executive Function coach can help them develop coping mechanisms to handle stressful situations in the future to improve productivity.


Why stress management techniques for students are important

Stress can take a significant toll on a person of any age. When a student says that they're stressed, they shouldn’t be brushed off with statements like, “You’re too young to have stress” or “What do you have to be stressed about?” When stress is persistent, or worsens with time, it can lead to physical, psychological and emotional concerns if not addressed, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of goal-setting
  • Digestive issues
  • Substance use


With effective stress management techniques, a student can improve every facet of their life, from their academic performance and physical health to future planning and interpersonal relationships.


Beyond BookSmart can help students of all ages learn stress management

Stress can affect a student’s Executive Function, which refers to the life management skills that we all need in order to be effective in planning, initiating and achieving goals at home, in school and in the workplace. At Beyond BookSmart, we have Executive Function coaching services to help develop and improve the skills students need to manage their stress.

Executive Function skills are coachable, trainable and can be applied for success. Whether you have a learning difference, an emotional challenge, such as anxiety, or you’re just struggling to reach your Executive Function potential, Beyond BookSmart services can help you see what you’re capable of.

Contact our team today to get stress management support!

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