Certain activities can reduce stress levels

Meredith Comas, Opinions Editor

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Stress is a problem almost every person in America suffers from. According to a 2016 study by the American Psychological Association, stress has been increasing for a long time. In fact, a 2014 study by APA showed stress in teens actually rivals that of adults, often exceeding what is considered normal or healthy amounts of stress. By far the most concerning to doctors working on the report was the lack of stress management both teens and adults seemed to have.

As end-of-year exams begin and many at Manhattan High are off to college or adult life, stress levels may be increasing. So, here are some basic tips and activities from the APA to help relieve a bit of your stress load.

 

Take a Break According to APA, it can seem almost impossible to distance ourselves from huge school projects, work responsibilities, or even college and life planning. However, stepping away from your stressor for a small amount of time can help your body and mind return to normal function. “Let yourself have time to do something else,” APA says, “which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed.” Just remember not to ignore your stressor completely; things have to get done eventually, but taking a little time for yourself can be widely beneficial.

 

Exercise Now this may be something your P.E. teachers have been telling you for years, and something many people avoid due to the thought of any sort of physical activity other than reaching for the remote. But exercise has been proven time and time again as a great way to reduce stress by helping your body naturally release endorphins — a hormone in your brain often referred to as “the happy chemical.” Taking a quick walk, jog or even doing a simple and short exercise routine during times of stress can cause your brain to release those endorphins for a calmer and happier state that can last for hours.

 

Social Support Having a friend or person to talk to can be an amazing way to relieve stress. Getting your emotions and worries off your chest to someone who will just listen can be really helpful. However, APA warns that, whoever you talk to, make sure they are trustworthy and will understand and validate you. For example, if a friend is what is stressing you out, maybe don’t go talk to that friend. Finding your person to just vent to can be really helpful, just make sure your person is the right person.

 

Meditation or Yoga These also fall into the category of things we have been told about for years to relive our stress. Again —  just like exercise — they have been proven time and time again to be extremely effective. Meditation and yoga can both help establish healthy and calm mindsets as well as helping to reduce tension in the body that might hold stress, such as in your shoulders. These can both show immediate results in lowering your stress levels.

 

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Certain activities can reduce stress levels