Stress Management

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Elena P.

As a mid-high student, you might feel that there is nothing you can do about stress. You are not alone. Stress stems from many places: academics, social and family difficulties. Unfortunately, stress is never going to go away; however, there are many ways to help keep under control. 

  1. Manage your time better. Procrastination can cause a lot of stress. Make a to-do list, and start tasks earlier. Plan ahead. Learning to pace yourself prevents unnecessary stress.
  2. Slow down. Give yourself some time every day to do something that you like, such as listening to music, playing a sport, or hanging out with a friend. We think that by slowing down, we are somehow being unproductive, so we push ourselves harder. This just creates more anxiety and stress. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Take time to breathe, and make yourself the priority.
  3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
    1. Exercise plays a key role in coping with stress. You don’t have to be an athlete. Any form of physical activity works. Gradually incorporate physical activities into your daily schedule. Exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood and make you feel good. It also reduces muscle tension and takes your mind off of problems.
    2. Eat a healthy diet. Your body will be more ready to cope with stress when it is well-nourished. Eat 3 balanced meals throughout the day, and reduce the amounts of caffeine and sugar from your diet.
    3. Get enough sleep. Sleep fuels your mind and body.
    4. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. These only provide temporary relief, and can increase your problems later on. Deal with problems head on instead of avoiding them.
  4. Connect with other people. Social engagement is an efficient way to keep stress levels under control. Talk with another person who makes you feel safe and understood. It calms you down and stops fight-or-flight responses, as well as releasing hormones that reduce stress.
  5. Change your mindset. How you think is the biggest factor on how high your stress levels are. You can regain control by changing your expectations and attitudes to stressful situations.
    1. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something is bothering you, tell someone. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build up and the stress will increase.
    2. Be willing to compromise.
    3. Reframe problems and look at the bigger picture. Try to look at stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Look at how important it will be in the long run – is it worth getting upset over? If it won’t matter in a month, don’t worry about it.
    4. Adjust your expectations. Set reasonable expectations for yourself and try not to demand perfection.
    5. Accept the things you can’t change. Trying to control the uncontrollable will only be a waste of energy. We have to accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of resentments – forgive and move on.

Stress won’t disappear from your life, and stress management is not an overnight cure. But with continuous practice and some lifestyle adjustments, you can learn to manage your stress levels and increase your ability to cope with what life throws at you.

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