By Rachael Peel
Stress seems to be a big problem in students, especially as they go into high school. Tough classes, especially AP courses, college applications, social life, driving, all present significant challenges for the average high school student. There are definitely a few ways to make your stressful high school life a little bit easier.
Exercise: When people get stressed, their bodies release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to initiate a ‘fight or flight’ response. Living in the 21st century, we aren’t as prone to physical threats, therefore, relieving these excess hormones via physical exercise will eliminate stress.
Sleep: Though teenagers are known to have pathetic amounts of sleep, especially in this day in age where Fortnite and Netflix exist, sleep is one of the biggest relievers of stress. High amounts of stress can make the quality of sleep worse, but in turn, sleep can decrease the effects of stress. One way to rid yourself of bad sleeping habits is to read a relaxing, undemanding book at night. Another way to get quality sleep is to focus on relaxation during a ‘buffer zone’ time where you focus on getting from your wakeful phase (homework, gaming, hanging out with friends, etc.) to your relaxed phase (sleep, reading, alone-time, etc.)
Play Some Music: Technology is more advanced than ever before. Earbuds and headphones are distributed worldwide at cheap prices in extremely accessible locations. High-Schoolers: Use this to your advantage! Music can relax your mind and help you feel more relaxed, especially slow, classical music.
Breathe: Regardless of how basic this might sound, deep breaths can significantly influence the amount of stress that we harbor inside of our bodies. Take a few low, deep breaths when you feel stressed out. Sometimes when we are stressed, our breathing becomes faster and more erratic without us noticing it, so it is a great exercise to stop, breathe, and lower than heart rate and blood pressure.
Tune-in to Your Body: How many of you are clenching your jaw as of right now? What about lifting your shoulders? Are you furrowing your brow? These are common areas that people tend to subconsciously tense up when feeling stressed. Being able to identify this tension and decompress will affect our mind and switch it to a more relaxed state. Try to find a few points throughout classes where you work through your body to find the points of tension and loosen up a bit.
In conclusion, these few tips and tricks will make your high school life not only more enjoyable but hopefully more productive as well.