When people think of stress, it's usually associated with negative feelings. However, not all stress is bad.

The right amount of stress can motivate us to perform at our best and reach our goals. Everyone has a "sweet spot" where there is just enough stress to help you focus and get things done, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.

When you need to feel better fast, there are several simple strategies you can try. There are also lots of things you can do to manage ongoing stress before it becomes overwhelming.

Setting Up for Success

LONG-TERM STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

> Manage Your Time
Learn how to manage your time with the help of the Academic Success Center Learning Corner.

>> Write It Down
Struggling with a problem? Try keeping a journal. It will help you clarify your thoughts and problem solve more effectively.

>> Think Positively
Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. Caught in a negative tailspin? Try to evaluate your thoughts rationally and stop critical self talk. Contact CAPs or the OSU Cascades Student Success Center for help.

>> Eat Healthy
Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and avoid alcohol to effectively manage your stress.

>> Practice Gratitude
Take a few minutes each day to recognize what you are thankful for in your life. Not only will you feel good — gratefulness improves mental and physical well-being.

>> Spend Time Outside
Get outside and take a break. In Corvallis, Bend and Newport there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy mother nature. Take a hike up Bald Hill, a walk on the beach or a stroll along the Willamette River.

Feel Better Fast

TIPS FOR IMMEDIATE STRESS RELIEF

>> Visit the Mind Spa
Soothe your mind, body and spirit with a visit to the Mind Spa at CAPs.

>> Sleep
Make sure to get plenty of sleep and find time to rest. You'll return to your responsibilities rejuvenated and ready to go.

>> Get Active
Exercise improves your mood and helps you concentrate. Visit Dixon Recreation Center, join an intramural club or get active outdoors through the Adventure Leadership Institute or Cascades Adventures.

>> Call a Friend
Reach out to a friend, mentor or loved one. You can also connect with CAPs or the OSU Cascades Student Success Center to talk to a counselor.

>> Laugh
Watch a funny movie. Goof around with friends. Laughter relaxes you and is good for your health.

>> Breath
Remember to take deep, slow breaths when you are stressed. Try yoga or meditation.

>> Engage in Creativity
Take time to do things that you enjoy. Listen to music. Work on a crafty project. Relax and be creative.

Stress-o-Meter diagram pointing to the "Sweet Spot"
Every strategy will not work for every person. The trick is to find what works best for you and regularly check your personal stress levels. If you've tried these tips and you're still struggling to manage your stress, check out Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), visit the OSU Cascades Student Wellness Center or review the other resources below.