Managing stress is easier when you know what it is. Find out what it looks like when you’re stress is getting out of control, and what to do to manage stress when it’s a problem. This page has videos, a factsheet by Reach Out and stories from other young people about they have managed stress.

Topic Videos

Interview with Joel from the Last Kinection

Bite Back has a chat to Joel from The Last Kinection about real life stories at the Oxfam 3Things Hip Hop Approach in Sydney. Big congrats to Last Kinection for winning Best Single and Best Band at the 2011 Deadly Awards..... Deadly!

  • Author: Bite Back
  • Upload Date: 5/10/2011

Produced by Bite Back

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (text)

Is it Ok to see a counsellor

Is it Ok to see a counsellor

A work by Xin

I had a pretty bad time in high school. Without going into details, I was bullied, I knew what it was like to be hurt and alone, I felt angry, sad, and eventually I felt nothing. I was not okay, and I knew I was not okay, but no one else seemed to care. None of my friends were willing to really open up to me. It was like I was drowning and I was surrounded by people in boats, but none of them were willing to risk reaching out to me.

Read the full story about is it Ok to see a counsellor on the blog

Click to read the text

As part of our blog series Xin takes a personal look into the question, is it Ok to see a counsellor.

  • Author: Xin
  • Upload Date: 2013-02-25

Written by Xin as part of our blog section.


Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

Managing Stress

What is stress?

Managing StressStress is a feeling that's created when you react to certain events. It's the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. Stress becomes a problem when you become over-stressed and it starts to affect how you cope with day to day stuff.

How does stress affect the body?

The human body responds to events that provoke stress (stressors) by activating the nervous system and specific hormones. The hypothalamus signals the adrenal glands to produce more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol and release them into the bloodstream. These hormones speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. The physical changes prepare you to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment.

This natural reaction is known as the stress response. Working properly, the body's stress response improves your ability to perform well under pressure.

What causes you to over-stress?

Stress affects everybody in a different way. What causes one person to become over-stressed may not have the same affect on someone else.
Many things may cause people to become over-stressed, including:Managing stress

What can happen if you're over-stressed?

If you become over-stressed it may have unwanted consequences for your health - both physical and psychological. Some of these may include:

Psychological + emotional


  • upset stomach, diarrhoea, or indigestion
  • headache
  • backache
  • inability to sleep
  • eating too much or too little
  • raised heart-rate
  • smoking

If you are experiencing any of these problems you may want to talk to your local doctor, youth worker or school counsellor - click these links to visit Reach Out's factsheets on these.

Stress + relationships

Maintaining relationships with friends, family, people we work with or boyfriends/girlfriends may be difficult at times and may cause you to become over-stressed. This is might be because you have different values or expectations from each other. To help manage the stress, it may be helpful to talk to someone about what is upsetting you. Talking to someone you trust may help you to work out why you are stressed out by the relationship and what you can do about it.

Tips for Managing Stress

It may not be possible to remove the stress from your life, however managing your stress may help you to get things done. Below are some ideas for managing stress:

Go for a walk or run

Exercising can be a good way of relieving stress. It helps to get rid of all that pent up energy and can leave you feeling much calmer. Any sort of exercise can be good. You may want to go and kick a footy with friends or head to the gym.

Hang out with friends

Managing StressIf you are feeling stressed you may need to take your mind off things for a while. Hanging out with friends is one way of doing that. It may be that similar things that stress you out, also stress your friends out, and so talking about your problems with them may be helpful.

Taking some deep breaths

Deep breathing can help to relax the body and hence calm you down. Taking deep breaths before an exam, game, job interview or before going on stage may help to calm you down and focus on what it is you are about to do. Check out this blog keeping calm written by a young person - it is full of great tips to try out.

Setting realistic goals

Becoming over-stressed may make it harder to keep things in perspective. Setting realistic goals (both for the short-term and long-term) and priorities and time management may be useful ways of managing your stress. You may want to check out our section on Exam time: stress management tips, or the Reach Out factsheets on Time management and Setting goals for more information.

Have multiple options to achieve your goals

There is never just one way to achieve something. It's important not to put all your eggs into one basket - investigate and plan other ways to get to where you want to go, whether it's a uni degree, job, or holiday vacation.

Try to avoid smoking, alcohol + caffeine

It may be tempting to use smoking and alcohol as a means of managing your stress. Try to avoid using these things as a way of coping, as in the long run they may make you more stressed out.

Watch what you're thinking

Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things. Is your cup half full or half empty? A healthy dose of optimism can help you make the best out of stressful circumstances. Even if you're out of practice, or tend to be a bit of a pessimist, everyone can learn to think more optimistically and reap the benefits.

Speaking to someone

If you are finding you are always stressed and it is hard to carry on with day to day stuff, it may be helpful to talk to someone about it. Parents, teachers, a school counsellor or youth worker are people that may be able to help you cope. Check out Reach Out's Who can help you section for more info.

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Join the Discussion

Tell us how you have positively managed this topic and help others find their way through...

7 Responses to “Managing Stress”

  1. [...] exams topic page and managing stress section has information on how to study effectively and how to cope with results but what about preparing [...]

  2. Rose says:

    Your definition for “what is stress” is actually more accurately a definition of adrenalin. Stress is not “he body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness.” … that is adrenalin.

  3. TINOcrew says:

    Hi Rose – yes you are right it is the the bodies adrenal glands which are activated in some people during a stressful time releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol – quite a body we have there!

  4. lynz says:

    How do you manage your stress effectively – let us know by leaving a comment – it is always great to hear other peoples ideas

  5. Ems says:

    Hi guys i just wonted to know how do you get rid of your stress when u are at school

    • lynz says:

      Hey Ems, A good question. School and sure be a place of stress, but can also offer many opportunities for getting through it, good friends, school counsellor, sporting teams, but sometimes you need some things in you stress first aid kit. Check out these blogs which have some great tips and ideas. I have added some to my tool kit and really help. http://www.tuneinnotout.com/blog/mental-health-first-aid/ and http://www.tuneinnotout.com/blog/hitting-the-reset-button/ hope some of this help. Let us know how you go.

    • lynz says:

      Hi Em, we posted this question on our Facebook page and got some great ideas:
      Stress balls! Haha, or a ball of blue tack… When you’re angry/stressed play with it. Lol (Raymaa)
      Definitely surround yourself with positive people and try and get as organised as possible. Write a timetable of classes and study time but also factor in down time, which is really important. Perhaps try taking up a hobby. If you’re stressed meditation or yoga might be good to look into.
      Oh and if you mean while you are physically in the classroom, ‘Rescue Remedy’ is amazing. Completely herbal and helps me calm down before university exams (Grace)
      Rescue remedy is good I use it too. You could also talk to your parents, your teacher or another adult you connect with regarding what is worrying you or making you feel stressed.(Meg)
      Schedule time for yourself! If you keep a calendar or diary, block it out as non-negotiable You time, at the very least half an hour a day. You Time can be used for anything you want, but you’re not allowed to worry or do chores. It’s time set aside to refresh yourself, do something fun and relaxing, and just generally recharge your batteries.(Zoe)

      what a great list to go from – hope they help. Lynz

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