Welcome to second trimester! I’m sure our “friend” stress just finished his finest deeds, basking in the pains of finals, and he’s back for seconds as you explore unfamiliar territory. Stress isn’t really a team player in your day to day life, and it’s only been on the rise in past years.
Stress, anxiety, and mental “demons” as such are beneficial in small amounts: they motivate us to work to reach our goals and keep us from ignoring important responsibilities. But, in the extraneous amounts we experience, stress causes the very same problems that it was supposed to avoid in the first place. According to studies by the National Institute of Mental Health, 30%. of females and 20% of males are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disorders, which have been on the rise in past years. We teenagers aren’t just a little bit worried--we’re becoming mentally strained.
Our little voice, our presumed “voice of reason,” is so prevalent now that it feels like a part of everyday life. You hear every trace of doubt as you work on your projects, fill out your worksheets and debate in your head whether or not you and your friend have drifted too far apart. Giving up seems so easy. Drop it all and sleep. Sure doesn’t seem like you get enough anyways. Well, turns out you’re right. Teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep, which, as it turns out, contributes to the overwhelming feeling of our buddy, stress.
I think that almost everyone can come to the consensus that school is a nagging feeling tearing apart your sense of stability in life. As found by the American Psychological Association, school is the leading cause of stress for teenagers. Tanking a class is always dwelling in the depths of our mind, and bombing that test is in there for sure. There’s an abundance of things to worry about; from running a club to keeping friends close, school is just there to catalyze all our greatest fears, and influence us to make bad decisions.
As we continue on through the course of the year, we all feel the effects of our less than optimal decisions to cope. Maybe it’s the withdrawal to the comforts of your screen, the simple pleasures that keep you up for endless hours. Maybe it’s the midnight munch, the little snack that comes back to haunt you. Maybe it’s the rants to your friends, the ones that lead you to become not-so-friends. Or maybe it’s the procrastination, the beautiful art of avoiding your reason and responsibility. Sound familiar? We’re all guilty, and I mean all guilty of these coping mechanisms, the ones that seem so perfect at the time and then make you double over in anxiety a day later. It’s like fighting fire with fire, and it feels like the house is about to burn down. Fortunately, there are aliviations that can still put us in the right mindset.
Sleeping. Ah yes, the miracle of sleep. While we always seem to love it, we never seem to get it. Making sure that you get a full amount of rest every night can help to make sure that you won’t be snoozing during an important lesson the next day. Keeping active will help combat the dreary moments of pure nothingness too. An important consideration is doing things you actually like though, as joining a club or sport you don’t enjoy, along with too many at once, can be suffocating. And, finally, while the entire list may seem to be get up and go, finding you-time is always a key to a happy lifestyle.
All of these APA-approved methods are very important, but I have a few to offer from the bottom of my heart to you that I’m sure you can relate to. Stay away from toxic people; they can’t make you happy. Don’t bite off more than you can chew; AP classes may seem like the end-all-be-all, but too many are signing a death warrant to CollegeBoard. Stand up for yourself; submission just leads to sadness. Talk to your friends; they’re close to you for a reason. Keep a close tie to family; nowadays it seems like we’re at home for a solid three hours a day, but always keep in touch with the people who love you the most. And, most importantly, you do you. I’m no mental health expert, I’m just here to propose a few ideas, but if there’s something that motivates you, that washes the stress right out of your system, that makes you feel happy, healthy, and connected with yourself, go for it. I’m just a writer that can’t see you through the screen. Be yourself.
So maybe our “friend” is nagging us everyday to quit and give up. Sometimes he’s pretty convincing. And in the end, he’ll always be there. It’s just how that mental blockage gets to us. If we were able to channel that fear, we’d be the strongest people in the world. After all, there’s plenty of nervous energy to go around. It just takes you, your willpower and a whole lot of love.