April 20, 2018

Breaking Down Stress and How to Help It

Amanda Feldman ‘19

It is impossible to go through high school without experiencing one of the numerous mental breakdowns students have on a day-to-day basis. Teens are so stressed out with schoolwork and life, even the topic of stress stresses them out. This vicious cycle is extremely unhealthy for developing teens, so it is important to fix it.
By definition, stress is your body’s reaction to harmful situations. There are both positive and negative types of stress. Negative stress is the anxiety and pressure you feel to excel on a math test as opposed to positive stress which can push you to succeed and gives you motivation.
Stress can cause long term effects such as weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure and anxiety. Most people don’t even realize the major effect stress can have on all aspects of their life.
No two people handle stress in the same way because everyone is different. Handling stress is not easy for anyone which is why it's important to be open minded to different distressing techniques.
One way of destressing can be done through any active extracurriculars. This is a great way to take your mind off of school work and be present.
“My favorite form of destressing is ballet,” sophomore Danielle Hodes said. “For two hours out of my night I can divert all of my attention to the steps of each combination and let the music take over mind.
“When I leave a ballet class my conscious is clear and I feel ready to take on whatever work I might have left to do.”
Meditation is another great way to combat stress. Meditation practices force you to focus on breathing which calms down nerves and quiets your thoughts.
“My favorite form of meditation is hot yoga,” sophomore Mia Harel said. “It's the only time in my life where I can fully disconnect and only focus on breathing while flowing through the movements. It is an extremely freeing feeling.”
A beneficial breathing technique to practice when feeling stressed is the Four Square Breathing technique. In this method, you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Repeating this exercise for only two minutes daily can greatly lower your stress levels.
Writing a daily stress blog can also be beneficial for learning about what methods of destressing work best for you. In this blog, write about all the stressful situations that you encountered on that day and how you coped with it. This also helps you notice what stresses you out the most which further leads you on taking the necessary steps to remove this unnecessary stress from your life.
As high school students, we tend to put on too much pressure on ourselves to perform well. We cannot let stress control our lives and must learn to stop it before we are overcome with anxiety. Panicking about assignments does not benefit anyone and is never worth it. Things tend to have a way of working out so it's important that teens remember to put the stress they might be feeling into perspective.

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