Stress is Normal. How You Learn to Handle it Makes the Difference.
The pressure to earn good grades, get into college and basically excel at everything can feel pretty overwhelming. Toss in challenges at home, or possible drama with friends, and it’s no wonder that so many teens are feeling stressed. Learning how to handle pressure and manage stress isn’t just another way to stay above the influence, it’s a skill that will benefit you the rest of your life.
Some people look to drugs as a shortcut. They might use drugs as a way to escape the stress, or mistakenly think drugs like Adderall and other stimulants will give them an edge to take on all that academic pressure. In fact, non-medical use of stimulants has actually been linked to lower GPAs, and drugs can’t fix the problems that are causing the stress in the first place. They can often make the situation worse, causing even more stress, anxiety, or even depression.
Stress is a form of the fight-or-flight response, a totally helpful and protective reflex at times. But prolonged feelings of stress can become draining and even damaging, which is why it’s important to learn how to address it in healthy ways.
1. Know yourself and know your limits so you can prepare in advance.
2. Find activities that help you diffuse stress, like exercise or meditation. Physical activity helps by physically reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body, and meditative activities (which could be formal meditation or simply letting your mind clear by going for a walk) help by slowing breathing and lowering the heart rate, essentially counteracting the stress.
3. Take breaks — they let you reset and recharge, plus you’ll be more productive when you get back to work. In fact, study breaks are proven to improve your focus and ability to actually learn and retain new information!
5. Keep friends close by. Socializing is a natural form of stress relief.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ve all been there, and that’s what why we’re here.
Everyone feels stressed sometimes and everyone goes through hard times. It might not seem like it now, but most things get better with time, especially if you confront the problems and work through them in a productive, healthy way. Dealing with your problems directly might be difficult at first, but it will make you happier in the long run. You may need to lessen your work load or talk with a parent, teacher, or other professional about a larger issue, and that’s OK. It means you’re taking a step in the right direction.