Ways to De-Stress


Ever heard parents say, “You have a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back. You don’t have anything to be stressed about.”

This may seem true to them, but times have changed, and life is harder for this generation. Teenagers in high school face a lot of pressure: Waiting to hear back from colleges, getting grade point averages to suitable numbers, and balancing school with a job. There are also factors other than major school-related issues. Some students have low self-esteem and feel the need to impress others, including outside issues relating to home, friends or family life. These pressures, among others, can lead to stress, anxiety, or depression. In order to make it out of high school with a smile, students need to learn how to deal and cope with these issues.

Towards the end of every semester, we have STAAR, a standardized test to measure strengths and weaknesses in multiple school subjects. We also have finals at the end of both semesters unless exemptions apply to second semester finals. Upperclassmen also have to sit for the PSAT and SAT, including the NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), which combines all three schools from the PSAT and determines if a student is eligible to receive a National Merit Scholarship. Usually, only five percent of test takers qualify. These test help determine GPA and what college best suits a student.

Many students experience nervous reactions or anxiety before taking a test. Anxiety is the condition of feeling uneasy or worried about what may happen. It brings on constant worry about the future and what is going to happen. Imagine having your entire future depending on one test, and not being able to take it because of anxiety? Imagine going into an interview for a job or college, not even going through with it? Heart races, sweat starts to form, body starts to shake: It’s getting hard to breathe, and it feels as if clothes are getting tighter and tighter. This problem can trouble a lot of people’s lives, so as students it’s best that we find ways to learn to cope with this problem.

Sophomore Krystal Diaz describes anxiety as “Having the world crash onto you at once, leaving you paralyzed.” Usual classroom tests are perfectly fine for some people, but when it comes to major testing that can affect the direction of life, anxiety kicks in for many people. There have been students who’ve walked out of testing rooms, because of the pressure. No one wants to settle for the lesser things in life, so no one should let anxiety or stress get in the way of reaching past the moon.

There are various ways to overcome anxiety. Although medication is a common “go-to” for controlling anxiety, they can lead to side effects, such as fatigue, that can drag one’s spirits down as well. An effective alternative to slow and steady breathing can also ease anxiety. Talking to friends or mentors may work well, and aerobic activity can increase adrenaline.

Like many people, students also experience stress. Stress is a natural physiological response to perceived or disruptions in balance. Like in danger, stress signals the body to enter “fight-or-flight” mode. At some point, stress stops being helpful and can cause major damage to health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life. Stress, in certain situations, takes over the mind, causing constant worry. Time may be spent thinking about the past and what could be done differently, sending one down a path of “what-ifs.” This constant worrying will stay on the mind for long periods of time, refusing to go away no matter what is done.

Negative stress affects daily performance, not only slowing one down but also affecting mental and physical health as well, especially when using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to try and relieve their stress. Yet it doesn’t relieve stress; it just keeps the body stressed. Symptoms of negative stress include headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping or insomnia. Stress can also bring on or make diseases or symptoms worse.

Natural ways to improve stress are massages, which relaxes the muscles and improves circulation. Meditation for at least 15 to 30 minutes a day can help cope with or relieve stress. Exercise, like yoga, aerobics, or even dancing works by releasing endorphin’s into the brain, which improves mood. Additionally, organization and order can offer a sense of control and peace of mind.

No one wants to give up on the things that they truly want to do, so people shouldn’t let these things get in the way of doing their best to accomplish whatever they want to do in life. everyone must find a way to accomplish their goals and overcome these obstacles, so that we can all be the best that we can be. When we are old and gray, we don’t want to look back on life thinking, “What if I had done this?” or “I wonder where I would be now if I had at least tried.” We want to look out in life and say, “I am so proud I overcame my obstacles, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.”

Don’t be the obstacle holding yourself back. Why be the moon, when you could be the sun?