We need to talk about stress

Ragan Lewis, Opinions Editor

During high school our stress seems to rise dramatically, and in my opinion seems to correlate with increase of activities. Many students get involved to look good on college applications but we often get too involved with too many activities and become stressed and overwhelmed.
Stress, we hear everyday something about stress. Whether from your parents, friends, teachers or even yourself stress always seems to be there. A 2017 American Psychological Association survey found that a 80% of respondents reported experiencing at least one symptom of stress over the past month. Stress is a part of life and can not be completely gone so many of us have to learn how to cope with stress. The American Heart Association has an invested interest on stress as it can lead to many health problems including; digestive problems, anxiety, headaches, depression, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration
issues, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
As the American Heart Association tries to help americans lead heart healthy lives they’ve given a few ideas on how to healthily cope with stress on their website. First up is giggling, laughing until you cry, they want you to blow off steam by humor. When you laugh endorphins are released, it has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. When laughing the brain also releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also boosts the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system.
Another way to cope with stress is shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. According to Mental Health America, the superman/superwoman urge is one to be perfect at everything. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Start by asking yourself real questions you can answer such as, What really needs to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make? Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, most people have trouble with this one, including myself. In band I would often do tasks that require two people by myself just because I wanted to prove I could without help, even though I needed it.
Even though many of us believe we can take on the world, we can’t. We have to be realistic with ourselves. Saying no doesn’t come easily to most of us, we want to be seen as someone you can go to, easy to work with, or a team player. The issue with this is too much work leaves us drained and stressed, like when your mother is a teacher, a band booster, the secretary for the band booster, the Pavilion Coordinator for the band and the lead teacher for the kindergarten team. She had issues with on how to deal with stress, but she noticed that she had taken on too many jobs. So she did the best she could and said no to anymore that popped up and resigned from Pavilion Coordinator once the season was over. She was able to see that she had too much work, and while she is a superwoman in my eyes she still needs rest sometimes. Saying no comes with practice, call me crazy but saying no out-loud to yourself in your room or to some family or friends practicing is actually good according to Harvard Business Review. It helps you be more confident in your tone and learn how to say it without being rude. The skill of learning it’s okay to say no is beneficial not only now, but later in life too in your job.
Stress happens especially near the finals and the holiday season, for the next semester we must be able to cope with stress, recognize stress causing events and put your health above your ego. People will get mad sometimes when you say no, but the risks that come with too much stress is greater than the anger of another student or teacher.
If you are having a panic attack, suicidal thoughts or believe the stress is too much you can call one of these numbers located at the bottom of this page.

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers)
Youth Mental Health Line: 1-888-568-1112
Child-Help USA: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hour toll free) Coping With Stress
A 24 hour crisis line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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