Managing Stress

Keara’s guide to surviving high school

by Keara Barron, Staff Writer

Stress: it is a shared characteristic between most high school students. With busy schedules and a plethora of school work to complete, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times and remain in a constant state of stress. However, as we grow older, graduate from high school, and eventually college, we’ll find that the amount of things we have to do and worry about doesn’t shrink. The key is learning how to manage stress so that it does not have a negative impact on our health and other aspects of our life.

The first step in effectively managing stress is pinpointing the source of it. It may help to write your sources of stress down so you can organize your thoughts. After this is done, decide whether or not you can control the stressor. For example, if you are stressed about an upcoming test, you can cope by developing a study plan and sticking to it. You’ll probably feel prepared and the amount of stress will diminish. Often, we feel stressed because we are afraid we will not achieve the outcome we desire.

If you cannot control the stressor, realize there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Let’s say you’re concerned that your flight will be canceled because of bad weather. Obviously, you can’t change the weather, and if the weather is bad, so be it. Accept that you are not in control and make peace with this fact, because stressing is not productive in any way. However, that is not to say that all stress is unhealthy. When a stressor is viewed as a motivating challenge, it can be good for us. When stress remains for a prolonged period of time, it becomes harmful.

One maladaptive result of stress could be sleep deprivation. Sometimes we find ourselves lying awake at night because we can’t stop thinking about how much we have to get done. Remind yourself that at this moment, you cannot accomplish anything on your agenda because you are trying to sleep. This is the one time during the day when you can do nothing, so enjoy it! You can tackle your to-do list tomorrow, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

Many times school is the main source of stress. Perhaps you are dismayed with the amount of homework you have to complete before the night is over. Instead of putting it off, tell yourself that you’re okay with the amount of work and that no matter how long it takes, you will get it done. Changing your mindset in this way leads to a change in attitude, which leads to an increase in productivity.

Finally, another way to manage your stress is to have an outlet. Talk out your problems with a loved one or a close friend. Dedicate time to your favorite relaxing hobbies, such as drawing, painting, reading, writing, playing an instrument, listening to music, exercising, playing a sport or going outside. To ensure that you have down time for these activities, do not cram your schedule with as many items as you possibly can. Live beneath your limits so as not to exhaust yourself.