Studying While Stressed: 7 Tips to Push Through and Excel


One of the worst parts about stress is that it can be difficult to work through. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and unable to focus on studying, the tips and techniques you will learn in this article will help!

7 Tips for Studying when Stressed

Here are my 7 essential tips to overcoming stress when studying:

  1. Talk to Someone You are Friendly with
  2. Break up your studying into small chunks of time
    • When stress levels are high, it’s hard to stay productive for a long period of time. Instead, study in short bursts and add stress-reducing activities between studying sessions when stress is high so you can stay motivated!
  3. Focus on stress relief
    • Stress is bad for studying, but stress can also be motivating
    • Take some time between study sessions to do an activity that will help lower your stress levels so you don’t feel too discouraged about studying.
  4. Find a go-to stress-breaking activity
  5. Remember not all stress is bad
    • Some stress can actually serve as a motivator for studying
    • If stress levels are high and you don’t feel like studying, take some time out of the study session to do something fun or relaxing until your stress has passed before getting back into studying again.
  6. Go for a walk outdoors if possible
    • Being outside can help reduce stress. If stress levels are high, go for a walk outside if possible to get some fresh air and reduce stress. You might feel more motivated afterwards!
  7. Take Deep Breaths when stressed
    • Taking stress-relieving breaths can help you focus again. Take some deep breaths to center yourself before getting back into studying so that stress doesn’t reduce your concentration or motivation.
    • If you have an Apple Watch, you can use the Breathe app to create a cleansing breathing routine, which can be very helpful in alleviating stress
Stressed out student
Stressed out student

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How Stress Impacts Studying

Stress hormones reduce your ability to focus

stress headache
stress headache

When you are stressed, it can be difficult for you to focus. Studies have shown that when stressed, your body increases the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which reduces short-term cognitive ability (source).

Stress can cause you to lose your memory

Trouble remembering what she just studied
Trouble remembering what she just studied

When stress is high, it’s hard for the brain to commit anything new into long-term storage. This means that even if you are studying something really important right now, stress may reduce your capacity to remember it later on when the stress has passed!

How Stress affects Motivation

student struggling to find motivation to study
student struggling to find motivation to study

If you’re stressed, it’s hard to feel motivated. You may want to go out with friends or take a break when stress levels are high, but stress can reduce your ability to be productive in other activities that might help you relax.

What not to do when under stress

Don’t study for too long at once

When stress is high, it may be difficult for you to study for longer periods of time. Try studying small chunks over the course of several days instead so stress doesn’t reduce your ability to concentrate on school work!

Pomodoro timer
Pomodoro timer

The Pomodoro Technique can be really helpful to ensure you study in short bursts designed to keep you fresh and focused. Check out our guide to the Pomodoro Technique.

Don’t make major decisions when stressed out

Stress
Stress

It may be difficult for you to think clearly about big decisions like where to go after graduation or what career you want to pursue. Wait until stress levels have passed before making any major decisions so you can make the right choice!

Techniques to focus while studying under stress

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you stay focused on studying rather than stress or distractions that may pop up when stress is high!

student practicing mindfulness
student practicing mindfulness

Try taking a few deep breaths and focusing inwards for a moment to clear your mind before getting back into it again with full concentration.

Stress relief/relaxation activities between study sessions

going for a walk helps reduce stress
going for a walk helps reduce stress

When stress levels are high, you might not feel like studying at all! Keep stress under control by doing an activity that helps reduce stress in the short term to make it easier for you to get back into your studies again when stress has passed.

Practice some self-care

It can be easy to stress out about studying and feel overwhelmed. It may help to do some self-care activities like:

  • getting a glass of water
  • listening to music
  • take a leisurely walk

These activities can reduce stress and get you feeling more like yourself again.

Create a studying game plan

Listen to music or pink noise while studying

If stress levels are high, it may be difficult to focus on studying and get things done.

Try listening to music or pink noise while studying in order to clear your mind of stress and distractions that might reduce the effectiveness of your study session!

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