What is stress?
Stress can be defined by the reaction our body and mind has to life changes (www.lifespan.org). Teen years are a time of lots of change so we can expect lots of stress! Some stress is unavoidable: a teacher surprising you with another project or a pop quiz, a car accident, or trying to look a certain way to fit in at school. But some stress we can avoid like staying up all night to finish a paper, being late for school or leaving your books at home. The key is to find out how to reduce our stress and how to handle it in a healthy manner. So if we can’t avoid stress all together, why should we even talk about it? Well, a little stress can be healthy (it keeps us on our toes!) but too much stress can be dangerous. It could lead to depression, anxiety, or even suicide.
What can you do to reduce your stress?
In order to reduce the amount of stress we feel, we have to identify who or what makes us stressed. Once we figure that out, we can figure out how to avoid these situations or how to deal with them when they are unavoidable. The first thing to do is start to notice when you feel stressed. Write these times down in a journal to keep track of them. At the end of the day, week or month, look through your journal and look for patterns. Are you stressed because of homework? Learn how to plan ahead instead of procrastinating (waiting until the last minute!). Stressed because you’re always rushing to school? Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning and get your books together the night before. No time to rest or have fun? Schedule breaks in your day for “me” time and do whatever makes you feel better. Planning and preparation might be simple solutions to reduce your stress levels.
How to deal with stress?
Ok, so some stress we can’t avoid. And a little stress is ok. So here are some ways to deal with stress in a healthy way:
- Set realistic goals that you can reach. Remember you can’t control the world, you can only control you and your goals have to reflect this.
- Make small goals for yourself to meet along the way to a big goal. This might help you stop procrastinating!
- Exercise and eat healthy! This can help your body react better to stress.
- Talk to someone you trust when you are feeling overwhelmed. This may help you feel better.