Ask Pheonix

Phoenix B. Rishon

Dear Phoenix, I am so stressed with school and personal issues recently. How do I cope with this stress?

Everyone gets stressed, and depending on the specific stressors, finding relief can be difficult.

In moderation, stress is good for you. It can help motivate you to complete the tasks at hand. When it builds up and becomes severe, it can become detrimental to your health. As college students, most of us are too familiar with this severity. There are many methods to relieve stress, from breathing exercises to simply making a calendar.

Whenever I feel like I have a million tasks to complete and it is challenging to remember all of them, I make myself a giant calendar. This way I can see what is coming a week in advance and can plan ahead.  Preventing stress this way may be beneficial, but is not holistically effective. Several stressors are unpredictable, making it impossible to prepare.

When life starts stressing you out, take a breather. Take some deep breaths and relax. Look up meditation exercises online before you go to sleep. Relaxing may seem impossible at times, but you have to schedule time for yourself. Stress greatly affects your health, and if it continues to build, you will be crushed by its magnitude. Do not forget to take care of your body with proper nutrition and exercise.

Listen to your favorite music. Whenever I am stressed, I listen to the soothing voice of Regina Spektor, beautiful classical music or the happy, upbeat sound of Mika. Find tunes that make you happy and soothe your nerves. Utilize art. Throughout history, people have used various art forms as tools for stress management. Dance around whether you are a good dancer or if your form resembles flailing movements like someone on fire. Dancing is a form of exercise you can utilize to relieve stress and sweat out your worries.

There is no single way to cope with stress. Everyone has different methods, and everyone has different stressors. As UMKC students, we are fortunate to have the MindBody Connection, now located in the Atterbury Student Success Center in room 112. It exists solely to assist you with stress. There are multiple resources to help, and it is important to utilize them when you need guidance.

When stress becomes too great, it can lead to depression and anxiety. When you find yourself feeling empty, worrying about everything you need to do and feeling hopeless about finding a way out, seek professional help. There is no shame consulting professionals. Talking with someone can organize your thoughts and grant you some comfort.

Take a good look at your stressors and organize them by priority. Do not worry about the little things in life. Worrying about minor details in the grand scheme of things will increase unnecessary stress.

Try to maintain an optimistic attitude even when times are tough. It can make a small difference when trying to shake a negative mindset. Hope this helps!

Toodles for now,

Phoenix Rishon

Questions can be submitted by email to [email protected]

‘Ask Phoenix’ does not substitute for a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. If you need psychological support: Contact the UMKC Counseling Center at

816-235-1635. If you are in crisis or thinking about suicide you deserve immediate support. Contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 -or- Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are in immediate danger or in crisis, please call 911.


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