Stress at the University of South Carolina

  • About 27% of students reported that stress affected their academic performance within the last 12 months.
  • About 45% of students reported their overall level of stress within the last 12 months to be more than average.
  • About 37% of students reported their overall level of stress within the last 12 months to be average.

Sources: National College Health Assessment, University of South Carolina Spring 2017. (n=1,462)

Missing home and your pup? We want to enhance your emotional health during our Pet a Pup events and Pup Office hours!

  • Pet a Pup with PAALS in front of the Center for Health and Well-Being
    February 13th, March 6th, April 17th, May 1st 
    10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Pup Office Hours at the Center for Health and Well-Being
    Tuesdays (2hrs)

Stress Management Consultations

Are you feeling overwhelmed, as if you are unable to control some of the important things happening in your life that you should have control over? Are you struggling to find healthy ways to cope with and manage your stress? Do you have difficulty falling asleep because your mind is racing or find yourself thinking about what you have to do tomorrow?

Our stress management consultations can help with any and all of these concerns!
A trained professional health educator will help identify your current stress levels, identify the stressors you’re encountering and how they manifest physically, work with you to identify strategies that can help you manage your stress, guide you through relaxation and meditation techniques, biofeedback to show immediate results after practicing relaxation techniques, and serve as liaison to additional Student Health Services programs and other campus partners.

To schedule an appointment:

  • Log into your MyHealthSpace account at
  • Call us at 803-777-8283
  • Stop in at the Center for Health and Well-Being, Room 101B between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday

    Stress is the physical, mental, and/or emotional result to a perceived threat, altering the state of balance or equilibrium your body is in.

    Maintaining a healthy, manageable level of stress can help to motivate you to take action, develop new skills, and achieve the goals you’ve established for yourself. This positive, helpful, motivational type of stress that can help you be productive and reach your goals, regardless of obstacles that arise, is defined as eustress.

Signs & Symptoms of Stress

    • Increased irritability
    • Headaches
    • Neck & shoulder tension
    • Moodiness
    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Feeling like things are out of control
    • Upset stomach/GI problems
    • Back pain
    • Jaw pain
    • Change in appetite
    • Sudden weight changes
    • Inability to sleep or stay asleep
    • Increased use of tobacco/alcohol
    • Frequent worrying
    • Acne/breakouts
    • Decreased productivity
    • Neck stiffness
    • Withdrawing from friends & family

    Experiencing these signs & symptoms of stress can serve as an indicator that the stressors you’re encountering are becoming a larger challenge or obstacle. When you begin to notice these signs, implement your stress management techniques.
    Be mindful of how much stress you are under and how you are managing it; if you remain proactive, not allowing it to go unmanaged, you have a smaller chance of it negatively impacting your overall health.

Your Current Perceived Level of Stress

    The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a classic stress assessment instrument. The tool, while originally developed in 1983, remains a popular choice for helping us understand how different situations affect our feelings and our perceived stress. The questions in this scale ask about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. In each case, you will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way.

Managing & Coping with Stress

    The perceived threat you encounter that is causing the stressful reaction, the impact the stressor has on your equilibrium, and the way you handle the stressor will be unique to you. The stressors we encounter are unique to our perceptions and the experiences that have shaped our perceptions (ex. for one student, parking may not be stressful because they have an assigned garage spot, whereas another student has the general student parking pass). Keep this in mind when identifying the most effective strategy to cope with your stressors.

    When seeking out an effective strategy for your situation, do not look to compare yourself to others or compare your situation to those around you. Take the time to identify what strategy works best for you and adapt it as needed, based on the stressors you encounter.

    It is helpful to view this process as a cycle; as soon as you have identified and tested out a stress management strategy, evaluate if it was successful and adapt what was successful with that solution for the next stressors that may arise. Stressors will arise during all aspects of your life. The more you have practiced managing them with strategies that work for you, the more effective you will be when the larger and more impactful stressors arise.


How to Help a Friend

    Be real with how you are doing. Open up to friends, family, and others in your support system.  Be there for others. Listen. Follow up. Caring for your whole self, including your mental health, will have a positive impact on your time at Carolina and the future. At Student Health Services, we’re here for you.

Tools & Resources

    Only about 5% of students at USC engage in stress management activities on a daily basis. Wondering what you could do to help manage your stress as a part of your day-to day routine?

    • Meditation and Relaxation – Try one of the guided mediations available at Insight Timer and Free Guided Meditations.
    • Sustainable Carolina provides free weekly Yoga Classes:
    • TAO Self-Enrolled Self-Help is a completely self-directed online platform with no contact with a mental health professional. This platform gives students access to interactive evidence based educational modules and practice tools to assist with stress, anxiety and more. Visit to get started."