Don’t Let Stress Rule Your Life

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Sitting alone in her room, fists clenched, she exhales a deep, shaky breath and finally pushes herself up off her bed. Her schedule is packed today. She has a huge history test and a math test as well. Though she has studied for both of them, just the thought of possibly failing weighs her down with anxiety. Reluctantly, she pulls her overly heavy backpack onto her shoulders and walks out of the house.

The bus arrives. She boards and takes her usual seat in the back, not speaking a word of greeting to any of the other occupants. She wrings her hands, trying to calm down. There is no way she could fail, right? Studying for as long as she did, the A she dreamed of was nearly guaranteed. Despite the heat in the bus, the thought of the failing grade puts her in a cold sweat. This is just like every other day.

According to an article in USA Today by Sharon Jayson, this junior is one of the 27% of teenagers these days who have issues with stress and anxiety disorders, yet somehow most adults don’t realize that it’s a problem. A survey of 10 TA students found triggers of stress range from family problems to school, and even concerns about war. For some people, school is continually getting harder. Mandatory presentations and being asked difficult questions during class in front of their peers can trigger social anxiety for some students.

Stress has varying effects on people. For example, freshman  Josh Wynne compared the feeling to feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Enough to cause him to not be able to function. Wynne also stated that a big contribution to his stress was school, and just having easier classes would relieve most of the stress he felt.

When teenagers are feeling stressed or dealing with anxiety, they feel completely helpless to the point of not even being able to function.

“It’s like carrying weights around all day,” said junior Kayla Gagne.

On her Carpe Diem survey entry she stated that despite the heavy burden of stress she hardly reaches out to adults for help.

“I just feel like it’s my responsibility to deal with my own problems, and I shouldn’t bother anyone else with it,” Gagne explained.

Most of the people who responded to the small survey stated that family was their biggest source of stress. On a scale of 0-10, most of the survey results are between 5 and 10 levels of stress. Despite the fact that family is their main source of stress, these teens only go to their family for help in any given week 1-3 times, if at all. Most of these teenagers don’t feel comfortable talking to their own parents to help resolve their stress problems.

According to the same USA Today article,  in February 2014, developing stress and anxiety problems at an early age can lead to more overpowering stress in adulthood. This can affect not only college, but also future jobs.

In the present, the article highlights the many ways stress is impacting teens’ lives. Of the teens surveyed,  “40% say they neglected responsibilities at home because of stress; 21% say they neglected work or school because of stress… 32% say they experience headaches because of stress; 26% report changes in sleeping habits; and 26% report snapping at or being short with classmates or teammates when under stress.”

Although there are some teachers who are blind to their students’ stress issues, there are some who understand. Mrs. Sharland, a history teacher at TA, said, “Students get way stressed out. They sweat the small stuff and as long as they are putting their best foot forward they should be happy with their performance.”

“I would suggest I guess… Kind of like laying it all out on the table and analyzing it, and then like taking it all in and just kinda like do whatever you want. Like doing what relieves stress, for example walking or drawing or reading,” said junior Kylie Garrett.

Her history of stress has taught her a lot about dealing with anxiety or situations when everything seems to be too much to handle. Though she still has trouble sometimes following her own advice, she is still coping.

Despite the fact that stress, anxiety, and other emotional disorders can be hard to deal with, it is possible to overcome it when you utilize proper coping methods.

According the the same article, “Only about 37% of teens surveyed exercise or walk to manage stress; 28% play sports. Many more choose what experts say are less healthy activities, including playing video games (46%) and spending time online (43%).”

If you’re experiencing major anxiety or stress due to school work, it’s best to lay all your work out on a table and just look at it. Try to figure out which would be easiest to eliminate, and then go from there. Try to plan out a way to get all your work done, and done well. If needed, take breaks in between assignments.

With stress attributed to family or friends, most people say the best way to deal with it is to either talk to them about it or to talk to some other trusted person about it.

Trevor Tanski, a junior, said “Stress makes me feel like punching things. It would be great if I could just figure out what causes my stress.”

Tanski continued to say that he feels like he needs more support from his friends to help him get through this. If you know someone who is dealing with anxiety or stress, one of the best things you can do for them is be there to help them if they need it.

Five Quick Tips to Help Manage Stress
1. Get some sleep
2. Focus on your strengths
3. Engage in physical activity
4. Do things that make you happy
5. Talk to someone
-Psychology Today

Isis Guignard
Isis Guignard

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