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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

5 Steps to Managing Stress: a Guide for High School & College Students

We all encounter stress, whether it is at school, home, work, sports, or all of them combined. Here is a list of 5 simple steps to managing all types of stress. 
  1. The easiest and most effective way of dealing with stress is to take a step back (mentally or physically) and take 5-10 very deep breaths and focus on your breathing. It is like a mental reset, giving you the ability to relax for a moment and you will now be able to take the situation from a totally new perspective.

  2. If your stress is being caused by having to do multiple things, create a list. Doing a list in order causes you to focus on each task individually, which has you give it more attention to detail. And crossing items off of the list will make you feel accomplished and more relaxed, thus reducing your stress level.

  3. Go exercise. When exercising, your mind will focus on the workout at hand, and not what is causing your stress. Plus, the added benefit of having just worked out boosts your self-esteem.

  4. Talk to a close friend. If your stress has reached an all time high and you feel as if you have nowhere to turn, talking to a friend can really help put you at ease. In talking to a friend you can get a fresh/outside perspective, which can help by adding multiple angles of problem solving. Along with being able to talk it out with a friend, their presence is generally soothing, because you associate them with feelings of security, also reducing stress.

  5. My personal favorite of all the stress reducing techniques is petting an animal! Scientists have proven that interaction with a pet can significantly reduce blood pressure (a side effect of stress). Petting the animal produces Oxytocin a stress reducing hormone, and reduces Cortisol, the stress hormone.
There you have it, the top five stress reducing techniques! They require minimal effort, but have proven results. And if your skeptical, it never hurts to try!

Oscar Eclov-Reher is a 17-year-old Senior at Irondale High School. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Oscar enjoys playing soccer and volunteering in his community. His favorite activities include mentoring elementary students, delivering meals to the homebound elderly, and raising money for clean water in Africa. Oscar also previously created and developed a mobile app called Helping Hands that notifies students about extracurricular and volunteer activities. Oscar's volunteer work has had a deep impact in his life and he hopes other youth can be connected with similar experiences.


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