Feeling down, depressed, and not yourself because of stress? Stress is common in most humans, but it can hit teenagers particularly hard as you try to balance school and social activities. Stress can make teens moody, anxious, negative, and can push you to a point where the smallest frustrations will make you scream. Teenagers dealing with severe stress may think there is no way to settle down and feel like themselves again, but according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, there are many techniques to relieve stress.
1. Exercise! Exercising consistently can distract you from things that are irritating you, and getting a good workout will help take your mind off your problems that are stressing you out. Stress can give you tense muscles, chest pain, and a rapid heartbeat. Exercising can help reduce muscle tension which stress commonly causes. “I’ll go for a run. Exercise in general makes me feel relaxed,” said AHS sophomore, Cory Dalcin. Exercise pumps off endorphins, the “feel good neurotransmitters” that are produced within the body as natural painkillers to stress. Exercising can help increase self-confidence and give you an energy boost.
2. Sleep. Teens’ brains are still processing and bodies are still growing, so it is no doubt that teenagers need a good amount of sleep each night. Without a consistent amount of sleep, you can feel clumsy and emotional, and it can be very hard to concentrate at school. Sleeping a solid eight hours each night will increase your behavior and reduce stress tremendously. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
3. Cheer yourself up! Stress can be caused by doing too much and straining your brain. Take a minute and do something to make you feel good, like listening to music or reading your favorite book. Regarding to when he feels stressed, Ashland student Nick Chouard said “I just play guitar or piano and sing.” Looking for good things in life rather than only focusing on the strenuous things will give you a good break from feeling stressed.
4. Eat well. Eat balanced meals that range all the food groups, and make sure to get at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Skipping breakfast can make you lose focus and you won’t have the energy you need to start your day, causing stress. So, eat three healthy meals a day full of iron and calcium, avoiding too much junk food. Water is important too, and by drinking about eight cups of water a day you will stay hydrated which can help fight stress.
5. Manage your time. Cramming things you have to do and procrastinating are leading stressors. Try to make a schedule for yourself and avoid procrastinating with homework or whatever it is you need to do. When you already have a tight schedule, do not overwhelm yourself even more; focus on what is most important and plan your day in way that is efficient for you. School is the main stressor for teens, so if school is what is making you crazy, take some time to organize your time accordingly to your homework.
6. Talk to someone! Sometimes stress can build up when you’re not expressing your feelings. Discuss your problems with someone you are comfortable with, like a friend or family member. Often your stress can wear off on people you spend a lot of time with, so they’ll appreciate helping you. A friend can help you figure out the main source of the stress and help determine what needs to be done to reduce your stress. Talk to a teacher or coach if deadlines are piling up and cramming in work is stressing you out. It’s worth a shot! If your stress starts to become depression, gets out of hand, and the important people in your life are concerned about you, you can call the National Mental Health Association hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
7. Take a deep breath. When stressed, your brain just needs to relax. Take a break from your busy schedule, have a cup of tea and take a few deep breaths. Think of something pleasant that will distract you from whatever is stressing you out for a few minutes. Meditating for a certain amount of time gives you a sense of calm, which is ideal when you feel stressed. For more information about meditation techniques, visit Project Meditation.
Stress is common in everyone, so take a minute to realize it can be helped, even in the toughest situations. Things that you have no control over stress you out the most, so focus on taking control of your life, prioritizing your time, and remembering that you are only in High School and it is simply natural to feel stressed.