Students crack under pressure: Find ways to avoid stress, stay anxiety-free

 

Annabelle Beck ’19

It’s 11:30 p.m.. You did two worksheets of homework, and you still have two more. Not to mention, there’s a essay and powerpoint that’s due tomorrow in first hour; you still have to shower, and you haven’t eaten dinner yet; and you’re wondering why you didn’t get any of this done  earlier. What this equates to: full-blown, anxiety-ridden stress.

But what does that mean? What is stress? How do you deal with it? Why do we have it? How do you avoid it? These are questions for teenagers especially in a 21st century school environment.

The Google Dictionary defines stress as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is caused by anything that puts high demands on you, and it can be a monster to contend with.

If you are a student experiencing stress, you are not alone. In fact, a survey from the Washington D.C.- based American Psychological Association showed that about one in four students say they experience extreme stress during the school year.

“Stress makes me feel upset, anxious, and overwhelmed,” junior Lauren Wright said.

These types of feelings are common when someone gets stressed, because it is our body’s natural way of dealing with all that we need to do. The negative feelings Wright mentions are indicative of the times we are uncomfortable with the circumstances in which we find ourselves especially when those situations build anxiety or anticipation of something less pleasant.

Another junior, Jay Petit, agrees with Wright; “When I’m stressed I feel mad and sad at the same time,” he said.

There are a variety of reasons that a person may become stressed: from deadlines, to having a lot to do, to being overwhelmed with school or work, or to having issues with friends or parents. However, stress can come from sources besides having work to get done.

Petit said some of the reasons he may feel stressed are, “Girls, being broke, and my car being a piece of junk, all cause me the most stress.”

Some people also get stressed from thinking too much about what is demanded of them, such as going to college or their future life. With so many factors about life that cause stress, what can we do to prevent it?

Avoiding procrastination is key for maintaining a healthy level of stress or reducing our anxieties; saving whatever you have to do until the last minute means you have more work to do at once, and it can feel very overwhelming. If you get things done as soon as you are assigned them, you will not have to worry about them later on. Another way to avoid having to do things at the last minute is by doing a little each day until they are due. The chunking of assignments into smaller pieces will make tasks more manageable.

Kyle Rutterbush, a senior, said, “Procrastination is the root of my stress. To make sure I get things done on time, I try to stay on task and work on time management.”

Stress is mostly mental, which means a lot of it is in your head and can be managed with some mental relaxation tips. Most times, taking a break from whatever is causing the stress or talking it out with someone can  also help.

When feeling stressed, one may feel on edge, anxious, or angry; it causes  an extremely negative mentality. When the stress becomes too much though, what can we do to cope with it and calm ourselves down?

Rutterbush said, “To calm myself down when I’m stressed, I use aroma scents like candles or lotion, make tea, use my massage chair, and meditate.”

Basically, the key is to do whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and allows you to take your mind off of whatever is causing you stress for a little bit.

Senior Kassie Lavigne said, “I like to take baths, listen to my favorite music, and maybe even take a quick nap to get my mind off of whatever is making me stress out.”

In some cases, the things that seem like a big deal to us and make us stress out, really are not big deals at all. For this reason, talking to someone you are close with and getting another perspective on your situation can help. Sometimes it is just nice to rant and get it all out, and other times that person could provide you with good advice. Either way, you do not have to deal with it all by yourself; it is not good to keep emotions bottled up.

Stress is inevitable, so the more aware of the cause and the more aware you are with how to deal with it, the easier it will become to avoid it or contend with the stress in more positive ways when it arises.

Photo courtesy of American Psychological Association

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