Got stress? It’s a safe bet that for most of us, the answer is a loud and resounding yes.
Sure, there are a few happy-go-lucky people out there who seem immune to the everyday bothers and take them all in stride. But for the rest of us, stress is a reality – and learning how to deal with it is a huge milestone on the road to maturity. After all, stress goes hand in hand with change, and our lives are all about change. To complicate matters even more, as soon as the school year starts, the jam-packed pace of student life can ramp up anxiety to levels that seem entirely overwhelming.
Stress is a natural response to nerve-wracking situations. For one, you’d never win a grueling foot race without stress. It prompts your body to produce and release adrenaline, which allows you to go the distance where you might otherwise run out of steam. While most of us aren’t running the 100-metre dash every day, stress is also a normal reaction to emotional and mental challenges.
Think about it for a second. Got an upcoming algebra test and you can’t get those blasted formulas through your head? Have trouble getting through Shakespeare without those trusted and cherished Coles Notes? That’s where stress comes in. You might pace around a little at first, feel a bit hot around the collar, or you might be the type who gets sweaty palms. And it can get tricky, because we all react a bit differently to different types of stress.
Some of us simply roll up our sleeves and get to it. And then there are those of us who’ll panic, do a little dance, and pray to any number of gods for divine intervention before settling down to the task at hand. While we may need that shot of adrenaline to finish a race, it’s sometimes a liability when you’re trying to sit still and study, or settle an argument with a friend.
There’s simply no way to let it all out. The key is to make sure the stress doesn’t take over. Remember, stress is natural, but it can be a problem if you don’t stay in control. Here are some helpful hints to help you chill out:
One: Take a breather
Put down your pencil and holster that calculator for just a second. Yoga may not be your thing, but those superbendy sorts walking among us may be onto something with their deep breathing techniques. Give it a shot. Inhale and exhale — you know the drill. It’ll help slow you down when the heart rate gets a little crazy.
Two: Eat right
Cola and chocolate covered peanuts are not the way to find nirvana. Sure, everyone likes a little comfort food, but you’ll need a balanced diet to work and learn — and rein in your stress response.
Three: Get moving
While most of our everyday stress is related to school, work, or a host of emotional issues, a bit of physical activity can help us work it off. When we’re under a lot of stress, our bodies can develop a lot of muscle tension. Regular exercise can help you relax and feel better.
Four: Stay positive
Essays won’t write themselves, and good grades require hard work, but don’t dwell on the negatives. Give yourself credit where you see improvement. Stress is a clear sign of worry, but it doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless.
Five: Speak up
The breakup of your favourite bad-boy rock band isn’t the end of the world, but sometimes life does throw some real problems at us. But don’t let the stress eat you up. Talk to a trusted friend. If you’re feeling seriously depressed and unable to keep up with school and life, speak to a family member or your doctor