As many people know, high school is a time when our stress levels are at a peak. Whether because of too much homework/projects to do, too many due dates to remember, or simply too much “stuff” going on, stress is often the result. Interestingly, stress is meant to keep us on our feet and ready at all times in fight or flight situations. However, during this modern age, stress seems to only make us feel worse. Luckily, there are ways that can help us fight off that horrible feeling of being stressed out.
I usually experience stress whenever I have too much homework or when I have to study for a difficult test. In certain cases, I’ve had to spend entire nights in order to properly prepare for a test or to finish a lengthy project. Trying to balance academics and sports also causes me a great deal of stress. During swim season, for example, I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get to a college pool since we don’t have one nearby. Worrying about being tired and not having enough sleep causes stress for me. However, as I have become accustomed to these routines, I have found several measures that help me reduce stress.
Controlling your environment should be first on your list to eliminate stress. Sometimes stress is more strongly related to what is around you rather than what you are doing. Try to create a soothing environment or find a comfortable study space where you cannot be distracted and can work efficiently. Such an environment will not only lessen stress, but will also help you work efficiently.
Music can also be a great way to control your environment. Some people focus better with music. Studies have shown that classical music can promote clear thinking; but if you are able to think with another genre, then go ahead. Music can also make assignments seem less boring, but be sure you stay focused.
One fun way to lessen stress is to reward yourself. After completing a tedious project or paper, reward yourself with a break or an activity you love to do. This will usually provide you with an incentive to finish a task for that prize at the end. The prize I usually want is a nice long nap. If you feel that you are too overwhelmed with stress while you are still hard at work, then simply relax. Take a few minutes away from whatever is causing you too much stress and breathe; do not think about the stressors and just clear your head.
Taking breaks is important because our attention spans can be short. After a quick break, we can dive straight into our tasks and are usually able to focus; however, the important part is that the break not distract you so much that you procrastinate.
A very effective way to reduce stress—which may be difficult for some—is to develop optimism. It has been shown that optimists easily shrug off stress and their outlook provides them with a defense against the effects of stress. They are generally healthier and more successful. So next time you begin your homework or a project, try to find something fascinating or enjoyable within that subject, and what you have been dreading may not seem so terrible or tedious.
Whenever you feel stressed, try a few of these tips. Sadly, stress is an everyday part of high school life and managing it is a key to success. Managing stress, academics, and enjoyment is similar to a balancing act. You may not be able to eliminate all your stressors, but reducing them can be very rewarding.