Stress is everywhere. I repeat everywhere. If you are a student, chances are you're stressed most of the time at school. Whether it's because of an upcoming exam or your college applications, the bottom line is you're stressed.
Aren't we all?
The answer to my rhetorical question is yes, actually. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 44 percent of Americans feel more stressed than they did five years ago.
Photo from Pexels
You may be thinking, "But this study doesn't specifically mention teens, so how does that affect me?"
Well, the APA also conducted a survey in which 1,018 teens (ages 13-17) participated. What were the results?
The report, mentions that "31 percent of teens say that their stress level has increased in the past year and 34 percent believe their stress levels will increase in the coming year."
So how can we stop feeling so stressed and overwhelmed? Read on for 7 tips that can help you!
But first, take a deep breath!
Tip #1. Start Thinking More Positively
When we begin to feel stress creeping up on us like the monster that used to live under our bed, we begin to think negatively. Stop focusing on the negative and search for the positive. I say search because it's not always written out on a neon poster. Sometimes, you have to really look for the bright side.
When you do eventually find it, you'll feel a sense of calm wash over you.
Say, for example, you get a bad grade on a test because you didn't study for it. What's the negative? That's easy, you got a bad grade and now your average is going to drop. You can probably think of even more negative things.
Now, what's positive? Well, it seems like there isn't anything positive. I mean you just got a bad grade on a test that counts three times!
Well, try to look closer.
Now that you have a bad grade, did you learn anything? Well, how about to take the next test seriously and study for it? That's something positive because you won't repeat the same mistake.
This happened to me once. We had a vocab quiz on the second day of class. I didn't study because who would have a quiz on the second day of class? Anyway, we got new vocab words on the second day and on the third day we had another quiz on the words from the first day! It was a mess, but I learned that I needed to study everything the teacher handed out.
After you change your thought patterns, you must continuously tell yourself that you can do it. Keep doing this day after day until you finally believe it. Then, you're halfway there.
Hey, you can do it.
Tip #2. Let Go of What You Can't Control
Do you remember that test you failed to study for? You know, the one the teacher has and still hasn't graded yet? You can't help but wonder, "what is my grade?" and you stress yourself out from just thinking about what your grade is going to be.
And that's where you went wrong.
After you turn in your test, you can't do anything about it. Which is exactly why there's no point in wondering, "what if I would've circled c instead of a..."
There are only a few things we can control in life, but most of the things we have little to no control over.
If you can do something about your situation, then do it. Take control, focus, and do it. But after you've done everything you can, just let it go.
There is no point in wondering about how things could've gone differently. You might as well let it go and relax.
Tip #3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
I really like this tweet from lifestyle Youtuber, Allegra Shaw.
“I’m only X age and look at what I have/accomplished” is some of the most detrimental shit ive seen on the internet . I want everyone to remember WE ARE ALL ON OUR OWN TIMELINES. DO NOT COMPARE WHERE YOURE AT TO WHERE SOMEONE ELSE IS AT. YOU ARE WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.— Allegra Shaw (@AllegraShaw) September 20, 2019
I like the part where she says, "We are all on our own timelines. Do not compare where you are at to where someone else is at. You are where you need to be."
Can we just give this girl a round of applause?
I literally couldn't have said it better myself.
You are your own person and you do things in your own time. I once watched a Youtube video where this man was talking to a woman about her goals and why she didn't feel successful. She said something like, "Because other people my age are making tons of money with their own business and I'm still working at a 9-5." He asked, "What other people? Who is successful at your age?"
Do you know what she said? Get ready for it.
This poor girl was comparing herself to the youngest billionaire ever. A person whose mother had been paving the way for her. No hate towards Kylie. I love the Jenners, but this girl was comparing herself to The Kylie Jenner.
Don't do that.
Don't compare yourself to someone super successful who's your age or perhaps younger. It's not healthy. Besides, you should find a different way to define success. Perhaps by how happy you feel or how pleased you are with your friends and family.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Say No
Have you ever done something that you didn't want to just because you felt pressured into doing it?
If you answered yes, keep reading. If not, then you should probably keep reading too. Just for future reference, you know?
You can't say yes to everything. Well, you can, but eventually, you'll be burned out. We don't want that. If you don't want to do something, you don't have to. Remember, you're your own person and you have control over your life.
I really like this article from Inc.com that gives 7 Tips for Saying No Effectively. If you need a little help with this, you might want to check the article out.
I can identify myself with being afraid to say no so that I don't hurt people's feelings. But what happens when you say yes out of pity? Well I, for one, end up either regretting my decision or feeling bad about it.
You don't have to say yes. Just remember that.
Sometimes you don't feel like doing something or you just need some time to rest by yourself and that's okay.
Did you hear me? That's okay.
Then again, when you do say no, be respectful and kind. Don't be rude. Otherwise, people will stop inviting you to things altogether and we don't want that either.
We want balance in our lives. We need balance.
5. Target The Source
Do you know what stresses you out?
Most students say that school stresses them out. I agree with that.
Others say that the future stresses them out. I agree with that too.
But perhaps you're not that stressed out by the former, so what are you stressed out by? Maybe you're stressed when it comes to deciding what you want to wear because you don't want people judging you.
Figuring out what the source of your stress is essential to relieving it.
Think about what stresses you out. It can be big things or even small things. Once you have thought about them, write them down on a sheet of paper.
Now that you know what the source of your stress is, what do you do about it?
6. Draw up a Game Plan
Imagine you're going on a trip to the mountains. At some point, the signal gets progressively weak until you no longer have any. What if you got lost up in the mountains? It's scary to think about being lost somewhere without a GPS or a map to guide you.
When it comes to stress, it's kinda the same. You can feel lost and alone with no way out.
But you're not. There are so many teenagers and young adults that are dealing with similar sources of stress and they have figured out how to deal with it. Most of the time, these people have shared their techniques. All you have to do is search for it.
When you take a look at these techniques, there may be a few that interest you and that could help you.
Remember the sources that you wrote down on a piece of paper? Refer to those again.
Now, when you look at these, think about what you can do the next time you're faced with a stressful situation. Draw up a game plan so you know how to proceed and make the situation as least stressful as it can be.
7. Take Things Day by Day
Do you ever just think about your future and what it holds? I have. It gives me a huge headache just to try to think about it.
Well, if you're the same, I'm here to tell you to calm down. You're okay where you are right now.
If you're always worrying about getting into the college of your dreams, then focus on getting good grades and getting involved in extracurriculars that you enjoy.
If you're worried about an exam you have next week, just focus on studying enough to ensure that you get a good grade.
Instead of excessively fretting about these huge things, just worry about what you can do NOW to guarantee that your future is the one that you want.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also enjoy this video from Teen Vogue where 16 year-olds share what stresses them out and what they do about it.
Thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed reading it, make sure to check out similar articles on the Teen Magazine!