Handling daily pressures

Get tips on how you can tackle daily pressures and access practical strategies to improve your wellbeing.

Fight, flight or freeze

When faced with significant stressors—something in our lives that causes our minds and bodies to feel stressed—we respond automatically. These responses are:

  • flight—we run away or avoid
  • fight—we stay and prepare to act
  • freeze—we are torn between fighting and fleeing, causing us to feel stuck, unable to act, and powerless.

These are each normal reactions, unique to who we are. Whilst humans are wired to respond to these kinds of threats to help us survive, sometimes it's not helpful in our daily lives. We can learn to limit the level of these extreme automatic emotional reactions and manage stressors more gently.

Five tips to cope with daily pressures

1. Breathe

When your mind is racing with the day’s pressures, stop, close your eyes and breathe. Deep breathing slows down heart-rate, relieves pain and boosts energy.

2. Meditate

There are many ways to meditate to help you relax. You can try guided meditation apps, or a simple five minute meditation just focusing on your breath.

3. Exercise

All you need to lift your mood is five minutes of moderate exercise. Try yoga, going for a walk, jogging up the stairs or dancing to your favourite song.

4. Get outside

Take a break in nature to help boost your memory and mental performance. Try going for a walk through the beautiful botanical gardens near the University.

5. Connect with others

Our minds can quickly get overwhelmed and prone to unhelpful thinking patterns when we are under pressure. Talking to others is one of the most effective ways in getting perspective, and feeling more hopeful.

CALM (Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind)

Visit the CALM (Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind) website for excellent self-help information and practical strategies on:

  • building mental resilience
  • managing stress, anxiety and depression
  • developing healthy relationships
  • finding meaning in life.

Speak to someone

Mauri Ora—Health and Counselling

Monday to Friday, 8.30 am–5.00 pm
Level 1, Student Union Building, Kelburn campus

When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's response to stress.

Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist.