How to deal with study stress: 12 effective tips

BY Jaber Posted August 10, 2023 Update August 14, 2023
How to deal with study stress: 12 effective tips

Learn effective strategies to tackle study stress and excel in your academics. Discover helpful tips to stay focused, organized, and reduce stress levels.

Table of Contents

Comprehensive guide to dealing with academic stress: Easy to apply methods

Learning new things is always enjoyable, but when studying or taking a course, additional pressure arises due to the need to achieve certain grades to pass the course or exam. As a result, studying can become a burden and cause significant psychological stress. Additionally, studying and learning require a lot of time, making it difficult to balance with other activities in life. 

What is academic stress? 

Academic stress is a natural phenomenon that affects everyone. There are two types of stress that must be distinguished, and each has its own symptoms. Positive stress, also known as "positive or beneficial stress," motivates people to continue their work and produce their best work. Negative stress, on the other hand, is excessive and causes a constant feeling of distress and suffering, which affects your mental and physical state, in addition to negatively impacting academic performance. Fortunately, we can control and protect ourselves from negative stress. As individuals, we are all affected by the pressures of studying and life to varying degrees, depending on our personalities. However, there are various methods and techniques that can help anxious individuals control stress and academic pressure and achieve the grades they desire. Keep reading to learn how to deal with academic stress.

study for only 40 minutes

Studying for only 40 minutes can be difficult for the human brain to focus on the same thing for long periods of time, so focusing for 40 minutes at a time and taking a 20 minute break in between is the best way to study. However, make sure to use the 20 minutes wisely to provide your mind and body with rest. Examples include drinking a cup of tea, moving your body a little to take your eyes off the book, or doing stretching exercises.

Eat healthy foods, choose healthy meals

Choosing healthy foods will make you feel good and satisfied with yourself. Always start your day with a healthy and filling breakfast, even if you're in a rush. Don't forget to include natural fibers and colorful vegetables in your meal. A balanced diet will maintain your energy throughout the school day. And make sure to drink enough water because it helps improve your mood and health. You may not see the importance of this, but I know that your diet can either enhance or deplete your mental energy. If your meal is heavy in sugars and fats, it may lead to a temporary mood boost followed by stress and mood swings. Therefore, paying attention to a good diet improves your overall health and mental well being, protecting you from sharp mood swings and dizziness.

Do not neglect your prayers

Indeed, salah (prayer) is the third pillar of the five pillars of Islam, and Allah (God) has made it an obligation for every Muslim who seeks His pleasure. However, the spiritual aspect of salah has multiple effects on mental health, increasing calmness and relaxation, adapting to the pressures of life, and helping to cope with depression and anxiety. When we take time from our day to perform salah, we focus on the relationship between us and our Creator, which changes our perspective on the world and the difficulties that humans face in this worldly life.

Learn time management

Creating a schedule for studying is necessary to make the most of your study time and reduce stress and tension as much as possible. Pre planning your study schedule for a week is very beneficial because it will allow you to know what you need to do each day and give you a greater chance of covering all your activities and needs. Even if you only have a little time, setting a schedule will help you focus on the most important things first. Don't forget to allocate time for breaks and daily activities, and mix them together by making your day diverse in activities. Focusing on one goal or activity throughout the day will make you lose focus and feel bored. Be realistic, humans tend to see the best version of themselves in the future. So don't burden yourself with more than you can handle, especially if you're trying to commit to planning for the first time. Train yourself to stick to a schedule and pre plan, then increase your responsibility one by one. And remember that accomplishing 60% of your schedule is better than nothing. You can benefit from one of the great apps that can help you manage your time effectively.

Write a study plan

Putting your study plan in a visual chart or image in front of you will help you remember what you need to study and what you have already studied. It will also help you avoid procrastination, which is your first enemy when trying to study or review. Your study schedule should include any activities you have, such as worship, exercise, social gatherings, and daily habits. Contrary to popular belief, success in school does not require focusing solely on textbooks and neglecting all other aspects of your life; you just need to be organized. Follow your study plan on a daily basis and continue to update it with what you have already done, what you need to do or review, and adding any new goals you want to achieve.

Stay Away from Distractions

Although it may seem impossible at first, you need to take a break from social media addiction, such as Facebook and Instagram. When you convince yourself that you will just take a quick look at Facebook and other social media, you will be surprised that you have spent long hours without realizing it and remain in an endless loop on social media. So, leave your phone far away during study time and completely avoid social media. Taking a break, even for a few hours, will help you focus on the most important things and prevent you from falling into negative thinking patterns. Your browsing of social media to escape from studying makes you compare yourself with images of your happy friends in their spare time, increasing psychological pressure and exposing you to depression. Remember that these images are only on social media platforms, and no one's life is complete, and no one takes pictures of their moments of weakness and busyness to celebrate them on social media. If you are having trouble stopping browsing social media while studying, try deleting those apps or blocking notifications that distract your attention. It is best to install an app that prevents you from accessing them while studying. One of the most important programs that you can benefit from to overcome phone addiction is the Forest app. It allows you to plant a new tree every time you commit to staying away from the phone until it becomes your own personal garden.

Take a break, your body needs rest.

When psychological pressures build up, the mind becomes clouded and less clear headed. Therefore, you need to take a moment to relax and reorganize your thoughts. Breathing exercises are one of the best quick ways to calm down and manage stress, and you can practice them for a few minutes almost anywhere. They are effective and help many students significantly, especially before or during exams. Taking care of yourself, no matter how busy you are with studying or work, is not a luxury. Deep breathing, following a balanced healthy diet, exercising, and so on, all affect your personality and overall health. It's essential to schedule time for rest and recovery before moving forward. Go for a walk with friends, or if you prefer to spend some time alone and listen to some music.

Don't mess with your sleep schedule

This can be challenging for some advanced level students, but going to bed at the same time and keeping a consistent sleep schedule every night is the best guaranteed way to improve sleep quality. It is also recommended to follow a healthy routine that helps your body relax and calm down before sleeping. Avoid the light from all electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before sleeping. Also, avoid studying from your bed as it can lead to negative feelings such as laziness and sluggishness. Some studies have found evidence supporting the benefits of daytime napping. Therefore, if you need to recharge your energy quickly, try taking a nap for only 20 minutes. Sleeping longer than that may make it difficult to wake up and cause dizziness. So, try not to exceed this amount of time, but it all depends on what works best for you.

take care about healthy snacks

Eating foods and drinks that contain high levels of sugar and caffeine will increase your stress, especially if you feel tired while studying and reviewing. Instead, make sure to choose healthier alternatives to provide your body with nutritious foods that help you stay calm and enhance your mental strength. Some of the best healthy snacks are dark chocolate and healthy nuts such as pistachios. Alternatively, you can opt for less expensive alternatives such as popcorn or sunflower seeds. Of course, overeating anything can make you feel sluggish, lazy, and gain weight, so eat in moderation. After a hard task, it turns out that those who drink black or green tea are calmer and produce lower levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) than others, so put the kettle next to you when things get complicated.


Physical activity and movement increase the release of endorphins (the happiness hormone) in your brain. Endorphins are hormones and neurotransmitters that transmit nerve signals to the brain and nervous system, and also work to improve your mood and mental health. They play a key role in reducing stress and psychological pressure. After a tiring day filled with frustration, stress, and disappointment, all of this will gradually dissipate when you go for a run or exercise. Your mind will focus on achieving the exercise goal, leaving little room for accumulated stress. The more physically active you are, the less stressed you become. Stress and psychological pressure cause sadness and frustration, which make you unhappy with your life and increase negative thoughts. But a regular exercise routine will make you happier, healthier, and more satisfied with yourself. While stress causes insomnia and sleeplessness, exercise and physical activity can help you sleep again and improve your mood. Comparing your weight or appearance with others raises your stress levels and makes you feel inadequate. Fortunately, if you stick to a good and appropriate exercise schedule for your fitness level, you can boost your self confidence. The closer you get to your fitness goals at the physical level, the more your confidence in your body improves and your mental health improves.

Talking to your friends

When you feel mentally pressured from exams and studies, talking to one of your friends about what's on your mind can be an effective way to relieve psychological pressure and deal with the situation. You may discover that they are going through the same feelings as you. When you feel increasing pressure and tension, do not hesitate to talk to your friend or parents about the problems of studying. You will feel a great improvement just by expressing your fears, and you will share a large part of your mental stress to start again with renewed focus and determination.

Think positively (Optimism)

It may seem like a trivial matter when it comes to dealing with psychological pressure in studying, but did you know that optimists generally go through relatively better circumstances because their way of thinking helps them create better conditions in their lives? It's true! Optimism and positive thinking usually bring you better health, better relationships, and better grades. Train your mind to be optimistic and practice positive self talk.