Stress: How Does It Affect Me, How Can I Cope and Tips for Reducing Stress
Everyone experiences stress in their lives. It’s the body’s natural response to challenging or demanding circumstances. While we all feel the physical and emotional impacts of stress on our lives, stress can manifest itself in different ways for different people. For instance, as a kid, you experience different stresses than your parents, such as worrying about doing well in school, maintaining relationships with siblings and peers or fears about your family’s financial situation. All of this is normal, but if stress is not handled properly, it can have harmful effects on your overall well-being. Here is how stress affects your physical and mental health, including several ways for reducing stress when it arises.
Your physical and mental health
Biologically speaking, stress is meant to help you deal with life-or-death situations. This fight-or-flight response causes a shift in hormones, including the release of cortisol and adrenaline, which elevates your blood pressure and heart rate, which is beneficial in short-term situations to keep you safe. But if that stress response is always “on,” it can lead to short- and long-term problems with your physical and mental health.
Reducing stress and ways to cope
School stress is no fun, but there is good news: There are ways to cope! Fun activities such as making crafts or riding your bike help to relieve tension and improve your mood. Here are several fun and easy methods to help you relax when you feel tense.
Get outside and exercise: Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Whether bike-riding, playing a sport or going on a walk, getting your body moving is a great way to clear your head and blow off steam. Plus, your body will thank you for the exercise!
Write or draw: Journaling, coloring or doing something creative is a helpful way to express your feelings. Write about the things you are stressed about or release tension through the relaxing act of drawing or craft-making. These activities provide an outlet for stress, so you don’t have to keep your feelings bottled up inside.
Let your feelings out: Sometimes the best stress reliever is to let your feelings out. Find a trusted parent, guardian or friend and have a chat. Allow yourself to laugh, cry or express anger when you need to. This is a healthy way to release your emotions while in a safe place.
Do something fun: When you’re feeling stressed, take some time to enjoy a favorite hobby of yours. Perhaps you like to read, bake or play an instrument. Dig into a book you’ve been wanting to read, try baking a new recipe or spend time improving your guitar skills. Doing something fun like a hobby can be a great way to improve your mood and clear your mind. Looking for a new hobby? Try volunteer work in your community! By helping those around you, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for your community, while putting a smile on someone else’s face.
Learn ways to relax: Calm your nerves with breathing or muscle-relaxation exercises or try a guided meditation. There are oodles of great apps or YouTube videos for this! Other relaxation methods include aromatherapy, massages, praying and yoga. Try them all and find what works best for you!
Don’t let stress get you down this school year! By listening to your mind and body often, you can learn to recognize when you’re feeling stressed. Use these stress-relief methods to calm down and release tension. You’ll be feeling better in no time!