How to Lower Your Stress Levels in Medical School

Updated on February 27, 2023
S6vOwit 87DGaWmnL3QJSjovajXZLgPMnEXoNUIDycA6QQqfjqMw4jO


Most medical students are high achievers, and there can be significant pressure to keep up with their peers, perform well, and even stay on top of the workload. Fall behind, and they risk putting their medical career in jeopardy. 

As a result, a great deal of stress can be associated with studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), getting into medical school, and working their way through it to become a medical professional. If you’re worried about your ability to succeed in the wake of immense pressure and stress, there are some stress-relieving tricks you might like to try.  

Relieve Stress Through Study

If your stress levels relate to not believing you’re prepared for a test or not confident with a particular topic, relieve those stress levels by ensuring you are prepared. Use resources like Premed Experts to familiarize yourself with details you’re unsure about, and try flashcards and memory games if remembering some information proves challenging. 

Stress can sometimes directly relate to a lack of preparedness or minimal confidence in your abilities. Focus on your weaknesses and brush up on troublesome areas, and you might experience relief. 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Staying up all night to study for a test might seem like a wise idea. After all, the more time you dedicate to your learning materials, the more you can learn. However, quite the opposite can be accurate. Our brains need sleep to learn effectively. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, lack of sleep affects your hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for making new memories. When you sleep, some memories are strengthened, and experts believe a full night’s rest may assist with problem-solving. 

When you know you need to study for a test or have a full week of classes, try to sleep at the same time each night and aim for at least eight hours of quality rest. When you feel refreshed, you might feel more in control of your learning and less stressed. 

Eat a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet and student life don’t always work in harmony, especially if you’re away from home for the first time and are accustomed to meals being cooked for you. As tempting as it can be to live on a diet of fried and processed food for convenience, affordability, and time, it might not be doing your brain any good. 

According to research, people who eat lots of junk food typically don’t perform as well in memory tests as those with healthy diets. It’s believed that junk food diets reduce neuroplasticity in the brain, which we require to learn new things quickly and make new memories. 

If you’re stressed because you’re struggling to retain new information, consider adjusting your diet and incorporating ‘brain’ foods. Many foods have been linked to better brain power, such as fatty fish, walnuts, leafy vegetables, and berries. 


It can sometimes feel like you don’t have enough time for study, let alone exercise, but the efficacy of your study periods might depend on how physically active you are. A University of British Columbia study discovered that regular aerobic exercise enlarged the hippocampus, responsible for learning and verbal memory. 

Make time for aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, rowing, and cycling. Doing so might improve your studying abilities, help you absorb more information, and reduce stress. 

Practice Self-Care

Self-care can sometimes fall by the wayside when you’re immersed in study and trying to achieve good grades for a future medical career. Achieving good grades can be important, but so are your health and well-being. 

Set time aside each day to focus on yourself. Take a hot bath, get a massage, try yoga, or even sit on a comfy chair with a good book for an hour. These small moments for yourself might leave you feeling refreshed and more capable of tackling your course content. 

Create a Support Network

It’s easy to feel alone and isolated when you’re spending most of your time in the classroom and studying. While you likely know it’ll be worth it when you can become a medical professional, the journey to that goal can be a struggle. 

Create a support network you can rely on to help you when your stress levels are becoming too much to bear and your mental health is impacted. Inform your close friends and family members about your feelings and let them know when you need support. 

It’s also important to take time away from studying and spend quality time with your loved ones in a social setting. Go to sports games, enjoy restaurant meals, and participate in community activities. If medical school consumes all your time and energy, you might find yourself burnt out before long. 

Lowering your stress levels in medical school will likely not be an easy undertaking, particularly as this program is typically demanding. However, trying your best is necessary to put you in a strong position to manage your studies and mental health simultaneously. Take some of these actions above, and you might experience much-needed stress relief. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.