Stop the Stressing

Tips to limit extra anxiety


Madison Donovan

Senior Kara Teel listens to music while studying for a test. This is one way she studies without stressing herself out. “Listening to music is how I relax when I have something to worry about at school,” Teel said.

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for many people. In fact, millions of teenagers in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. Many people deal with stress every day. School, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are parts of everyday life that commonly contribute to heightened stress levels.

Minimizing the chronic stress of daily life as much as possible is important for overall health. That’s because chronic stress harms health and increases your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression.

These 10 coping strategies might be able to reduce stress:

1. Get more physical activity

If you’re feeling stressed, regularly getting more exercise may help you. Several studies have shown that participating in aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming can reduce overall stress levels. In fact, these studies have shown that engaging in physical activity helps reduce stress levels and improve mood, while a lack of movement may lead to increased stress, poor mood, and sleep disturbances. Start with something that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it!

2. Minimize screen time

Using devices has become unavoidable in today’s society. While these devices have become a necessity, they have been linked to an increased level of stress. Many studies have shown that excessive use of a smartphone has been linked to stress and increased mental health issues. In fact, this has proven to be true in both adults and children. It’s important to minimize the amount of screen time in order to promote a healthier sleep cycle and limit stress levels.

3. Have a self-care day

Having a day to yourself can always help lower stress levels. There are plenty of activities that can be considered self-care. For example, taking a bath, reading a good book, and lighting a candle. Studies show that people who engage in self-care have lower stress levels and improved quality of life. Taking care of yourself is important to living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t think that self-care has to be complicated. It can be whatever helps you relax as long as you are able to take the much-needed break.

4. Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and energy drinks, and it stimulates the central nervous system. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to increased stress levels because it affects sleep. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back by replacing coffee or energy drinks.

5. Spend time with your friends and family

Social support from family or friends can always help with lowering stress levels. Having a social support system is important for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling alone and don’t have friends or family to depend on, social support groups may help. Consider joining a club or sports team or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you.

6. Learn to say “NO”

Not everything that has the potential to stress a person within that person’s control, but there are some stressors that people can control. Putting too much on your plate can increase your stress level and limit the amount of time you have available for self-care. The first step to lower the type of stress is learning to say no. Being selective about what you take on, and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load, can reduce your stress levels.

7. Learn to avoid procrastination

Staying on top of your priorities and avoiding procrastination is another strategy to manage your stress. Procrastination can reduce your productivity and force you to scramble to catch up. This might lead to stress, which can have a detrimental impact on your health and sleep. If you find yourself procrastinating frequently, it may be beneficial to develop the practice of establishing a prioritized to-do list. Set reasonable deadlines for yourself and work your way down the list. Work on the tasks that need to be completed today and block off time for yourself. Multitasking or switching between things can be stressful in and of itself.

8. Spend time in nature

Spending more time outside may help reduce stress. Studies show that spending time in green spaces, such as parks and forests, and being immersed in nature is a healthy method to handle stress. In fact, these studies show that spending as little as ten minutes in nature can improve mental health, such as feeling stress and happiness. Hiking and camping are excellent choices, but not everyone enjoys them or has access to them. If you don’t enjoy these activities, you can go to local parks and botanical gardens to find green places.

9. Practice deep breathing

Your sympathetic nervous system is activated by mental stress, and your body goes into fight- or-flight mode. Deep breathing exercises may assist in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the relaxation response. Deep breathing aims to bring your attention to your breath, slowing it down and making it deeper. Your lungs totally expand and your belly rises when you breathe deeply via your nose. This lowers your heart rate and makes you feel calmer.

10. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to practices that help you stay in the present moment. Meditation is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. Meditating on a regular basis, even for short periods of time, can help you improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. If you want to practice meditation, there are many books, apps, and websites that can teach you the basics.