Beat The Stress
By Youngjoo Ahn
These past few months have been the most stressful in my entire high school career. I thought that after the March madness of speaking tournaments, SAT’s, and even prom night, I’d be able to relax a little but such was not the case. With upcoming AP testing, writing term papers, and even volunteering, no breaks are on the horizon.
Stress is something that every human being will endure at different time periods throughout life. Learning to deal positively with stressors takes time, patience, and effective management.
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Even if you aren’t an athlete, physical activity is beneficial. When you exercise, your body releases feel good endorphins that help improve your mood and help the day’s irritations fade away. With continuous exercise, you’ll have more energy plus the self-confidence that comes with being in a better mood. Physical activity also helps you get a better night’s sleep, which helps you face the tensions of tomorrow.
“Swimming allows me to laugh with friends and my coaches! I can forget about college applications while focusing on a swim set or a dry land workout,” Miramonte Senior Nora Ross said. “Once I go home, not only do my endorphins kick in, but I feel good from the exercise. I am then ready to sit down and get to work!”
If strenuous physical activity isn’t quite the thing for you, consider yoga. Yoga can be a phenomenal technique to relax your brain. The most fundamental part of yoga revolves around taking a deep breath. Doing yoga gives you time to mediate and reflect about your day.
“Yoga is a really refreshing way to de-stress and relax your mind. Although your first few classes might seem hard, after you get into the flow of things, it becomes super meditative! Some yoga instructors believe that stretching and yoga can release built up emotions and stress, which I think is very true,” junior Elizabeth Chenok said.
Keeping emotions pent up inside is not a good idea. Free writing of thoughts and feelings offers release. Don't think about what to write — just let it happen. Write whatever comes to mind. No one else needs to read it, so don't strive for perfection in grammar or spelling. Just let your thoughts flow on paper — or the computer screen. Once you're done, you can toss out what you wrote or save it.
If you are an extrovert, being with other people can be relaxing. Reach out to family and friends and make social connections. Social contact is good because it distracts you and provides support. Laughter is one of the best medicines. It lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Taking a coffee break with a friend or doing any fun activity together induces a relaxing dose of necessary relief.
“Hanging around others is a stress reliever because it allows you take your mind off of school and have a good time. You get to talk about what you enjoy in life instead of school work,” Junior Joe Li said.
Enough sleep is essential. When you have so much to do, sleep seems like the last thing that you should do. However, it’s quite the opposite. Sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle and the only way to beat the cycle is to rest.
“Whenever I’m super exhausted from school, I take a mini nap. I usually feel recharged when I wake up and have the energy to stay up later,” Miramonte sophomore Kelly Cheng said.
Stress management is an important skill. Other strategies involve music, room cleaning, and long showers. Stress doesn’t go away but the fear and anxiety that comes with it can. Instead of fretting about that test or tournament, take a run, talk to a friend, or write a journal entry.
Youngjoo Ahn is a junior at Miramonte High School. In her free time she hosts Express Yourself teen radio and enjoys volunteering, writing, and learning new things, including stress relief.
As the editor and teen coach forTeen Scene for the newspaper, Cynthia Brian has had the opportunity to work with talented teens with attitude and opinions. She shares selected published works. To read numerous articles shepherded by Cynthia, visit www.BTSYA.com
Causes Cynthia Brian Supports
Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy, positive media, and life skills.