I can’t handle this! This is how most of us would feel when we are stressed. Stress is a feeling we may get when we are faced with a challenge. It is a natural reaction when we feel threatened, or when something upsets our balance in some way. Many things cause stress, like problems at school, relationship issues, money problems or thinking we don’t have enough time. When these things happen we get worried, upset, depressed, moody, overwhelmed and anxious.....in other words, stressed!
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
But did you know that stress can also be good for you? Okay, so if a pitbull is chasing you, what do you do? RUN! If you car is coming right at you, what do you do? MOVE! Stress is also what allows us to react to danger. This type of good stress actually helps us to protect ourselves. Stress also helps us to get things done. How many students would study if they did not have an exam? Or start a project if there was no deadline to submit? Exams and deadlines are quite stressful, but that feeling motivates us to study and to finish our assignments.
So, stress can be good and bad. It depends on how much stress you are feeling. When stress becomes too much, it isn’t good for you, and that’s when it turns into bad stress. For example, if you are experiencing a little stress over your end of term exams, this might motivate you to study hard, but if you get too stressed out, it may make it even harder to concentrate and remember the material. The best thing to do is make use of good stress to help you get things done, and even protect you, and try not to let it become too much for you to handle. Keep reading to learn about things you can do to when you are feeling bad stress!
What Causes Stress?
Stress can come from the environment- like home or school- or from inside of you, meaning our attitude and way of thinking. Sometimes, our situation at home or school, the people around, or all that is required of us, can make us feel stressed. If this is the case, we should try to change whatever we can that is bothering us.
For example, if your stress is because you feel that you do not have enough time to study- then try to organize your time better. Make changes to your schedule so that you don’t feel so pressured and overwhelmed.
However, there will be times when you may not be able to change everything in your environment that is bothering you. Some things you may have to deal with. When this happens, it is time to change our attitude, or way of thinking. If you feel stressed because you hate getting up early and going to school, try to imagine all the good things about school- having an education and being intelligent, seeing your friends, playing games at lunch time and other things that will make it seem more pleasant for you to go to school. In other words, we change what we can, whether it is our environment or our attitude.
Dealing with Stress
Here are some more ways of coping with bad stress:
- Strengthen your relationships - Your support network may consist of your close family and friends, teachers, counselors or any other adult who you trust. Talking to someone about what you are going through can help you to feel better. One of your friends may even have gone through the same thing. Don’t forget, you can even call ChildLine!
- Start the day with a relaxing ritual - Rather than jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least 15 minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.
- Eat right - Eating healthy means eating the right types of food with the right balance. A balanced diet is important because it gives us the energy which helps us to deal with stress.
- Sleep - When we do not get enough sleep, we get cranky and irritable. This increases the likelihood that stress will affect us badly. Try to get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise - Physical activity helps us to control our anger or frustration when stressed, and also helps us to keep our body healthy.
- Time Management - Organize your schedule effectively. For example, write down what you have to get done, and allot times to start and finish. Or you can even leave home earlier to avoid being flustered when you get to school.
- Find a Balance - make time for different areas of life: Work, school, social, spiritual, family etc.
- Be Creative - Creativity is a powerful antidote to stress. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favourite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with school.