Student Health Center

Stress Reduction

Stress can be defined as a combination of a stimulus (or stressor) and the physiological response or reaction to the stimulus. External demands, individual perceptions and physiological responses are three variables identified with stress related problems. Moving away from home, academics, illness, relationship issues, or financial concerns, are examples of common college stressors. The SHC is aware that the demands of college life often create stress.

Stress can have beneficial or negative effects. The stress and fear of a big exam, or a big game, can release the fight or flight hormones - cortisol aldosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and thyroxin. The action of these hormones results in:

  • increased respiration
  • increased stomach emptying
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • dilation of coronary arteries
  • increased energy, increased anxiety
  • increased alertness

The body is ready to perform at its optimal level.

But; if the stressors and hormones remain elevated over a period of time, negative health effects may occur. Constant stress can cause a change of appetite, sleeping problems, personality changes, physical illness, and feelings of hopelessness. This is a state of distress or overstress . An appointment with the SHC or Counseling Center is recommended to discuss the situation and identify healthy coping mechanisms and student resources.

Identifying healthy levels of stress and appropriate responses to those stressors that are a part of daily living can be a challenge. Our perception of stress, real or imagined, can determine our reaction to it. Too much stress can lead to illness, injury, and poor performance. Too little stress and we can lose motivation and our competitive / academic edge. As students, your success depends on finding a healthy balance.

In addition to the SHC, resources are available on campus to assist students in identifying healthy levels of stress and managing their stressors. Campus resources include:

Time management skills Academic Support Center
Reducing Test Anxiety Workshops Counseling Center
Stress Management Counseling Center

Stress Reduction Training
The body’s reaction to stress is a physiological response that can be modified through cognitive and behavioral training. Progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, visualization, exercise, and humor, are examples of stress reduction techniques. These techniques can be presented to groups or taught to individuals at the SHC.

Stress Related Websites:

Please contact Timothy Keady, Associate Director at 475-6926 (V/TTY), e-mail: to schedule a presentation or an individual appointment to begin to reduce your stress levels.


One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603
Questions or comments? Send us feedback. Telephone: 585-475-2411