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Coping Strategies

How you respond in stressful situations

As Nelson Mandela’s quote below conveys, courage isn’t a lack of fear, but rather an effective response to it. Similarly, we might be better if we didn’t seek to avoid stress but rather worked to develop better responses to it.

“Coping” might be a word that you associate with something serious, but it really just refers to how you handle a difficult situation. This could be anything from having a tough assignment to figuring out how to pay your rent. In either case, it’s not so much the seriousness of the issue as how you figure out your response. 


The resources below can help you understand how to better do that. Though it’s much better to work on those skills now than to wait for a problem to show up.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. 
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

How can I improve my Coping Strategies?

Strategies to Use

  • First, it’s important to know yourself. There are some common ways that people tend to respond to stress:

  • Some good ways are to either make a plan to address your source of stress, or to ask someone else for help in doing so. (If Coping Strategies were a strength for you, you likely do this already.)

  • Some less helpful ways include avoiding the problem, or reacting emotionally. If Coping Strategies were an opportunity for you, this maybe describes your tendencies.

  • So, the next time you find yourself stressed, first ask yourself: “What can I do to address this?” If you can’t come up with an answer, that’s completely fine. The next question should be: “Who can I ask for help?”

Resources at NCCU

  • NCCU's Counseling Center offers a host of individual and group services to promote mental health and well-being.

  • The Student Health Center provides quality clinical and mental health services to advance the health of all students at NCCU.

  • The case manager in the Division of Student Affairs is responsible for assisting students with academic, social, emotional, professional and cultural development. The case manager will support students learning and development by assuming a primary role in case assessment, student referrals, and case management of various student issues, including health and mental health emergencies. For more information, click here

  • Check out the Department of Recreation and Wellness (RecWell) for diverse and inclusive services to cultivate lifelong holistic wellness. 


Resources at your Institution

  • When you do need guidance in trying to tackle the problem, an advisor or counselor is a great place to start. 

  • Remember, if you’re feeling stressed about a particular course, it’s always best to talk with the instructor first.

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