Leave the Stress Behind


By Ilaria Lobo

It’s hard to accurately pinpoint the first time when you felt stressed out about something, and even harder trying to deal with stress creeping up on you every now and again. Stress is a natural feeling that unfortunately has no off switch or stand by mode. Yet, this doesn’t mean that stressful situations and emotions can’t be controlled or dealt with effectively.

In high school stress is inevitable, but there are solutions to overcome the feeling. The first step is taking the time to acknowledge that stress is present. A huge part of overcoming any mental obstacle is acknowledging its presence and its impact. Then, it helps to talk about the issues or problems with someone you trust or feel comfortable with. In some cases talking to a professional may be an efficient and very effective solution to handling stress related problems. Talking it out tends to help clarify the issue(s), put them into perspective and gain some helpful advice and support.

Graphic by: Devon Stoeber

Aside from alleviating yourself of stress by communicating your problems with someone else, there exist relaxation techniques to help eliminate or control stress levels and that can be done entirely on your own time, including:

  1. Meditate – A few minutes of meditation each day can help clear the mind and the body to feel more relaxed.
  2. Deep Breathing – Taking the time to focus on your breathing can help to feel less stressed. Breathe in slowly for five seconds through your nose and exhale slowly out your mouth.
  3. Be Present – Take time to step back from what you’re doing and mentally try and slow down everything that is going on around you. Focus on one specific behavior around you.
  4. Reflect – Tune into your body and see how stress is affecting you as a whole. Lie down and notice your energy starting from your toes working it’s way up to your scalp.
  5. Get active – Start exercising, it can be an intense hike or a calm walk, focus on you and your breathing.
  6. Yoga – In yoga, the main focus is teaching your mind and body how to relax in certain positions while also gaining strength and flexibility.
  7. Release – Place a warm towel on your forehead, behind your neck or on your shoulders and close your eyes.

Many relaxation techniques involve focusing on the individual’s breathing patterns. This is because controlled and steady breathing has multiple benefits for the mind and body including: the ability to release toxins, release tension, bring clarity to the mind and body, improve the immune system, help elevate your mood, and help you relax. Although trying to focus on just your breathing might seem boring or difficult, it has shown to be an effective and simple way to help alleviate stress on your own.