Stress Reduction

When confronted with an obstacle make a choice

Life is not perfect. Every day we come across obstacles that have the potential to upset us. For some, it may be a severe physical handicap, the passing away of a loved one, a life-threatening disease or an abusive parent. For others it may be a broken nail, a stubbed toe or an insult. Bad things happen all the time. You can do your best to avoid them, but eventually something unfortunate will touch your life. When it does, you have a choice to either focus on the negative, or to focus on the positive and move one. You can either sulk and wallow in your misery focusing on how terrible this thing is and why you don't deserve it. Or you can accept it as something that just happens in life, and focus on what you are going to do to improve your life under the current circumstances. Obviously you're much better off making the second choice. However, in order to do that you must stop focusing on the negative. For some, this is very difficult. A healthy perspective can help.

A Healthy Perspective

Let's say you're walking along one day and you discover a ball. When you compare it to a golf ball, it's pretty large. However, when you compare it to the largest ball you know, let's say the sun, that ball you found seems so much smaller and insignificant. The same goes for obstacles in life. It's truly amazing that some people can get just as upset over a stain on their clothes as another person could get about a wrongful death sentence. When something happens and it upsets you, before you get all furious, think about someone else who has suffered tremendously. When you do, your trouble will seem much less severe, allowing you to get over it more easily. Human history is rich with examples of extreme suffering. Out of all the billions and billions of humans that have lived, there are many others who have suffered more than you are suffering. We are in no way trying to trivialize your pain or circumstances. You could be dealing with an unspeakable tragedy. What we are saying is that you don't have to feel like you have been picked out of the crowd to suffer the most. Others have felt pain equal to yours and still others have suffered more. With this fact and some research you have the power to make your pain seem less severe.

One source of stress is illness.
Reduce stress by avoiding illness.

  • Exercise regularly. (Especially aerobic exercise)
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Eat 3 well rounded nutritious meals a day.
  • Dress warm in cold weather.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water per day.

Get a good night's sleep

We recommend at least 7.5 hours of deep sleep per night. For ways to improve your quality of sleep please read our Sleep section.

Exercise regularly

Exercise reduces stress considerably. It allows us to vent our daily frustrations and pent up energy. It releases endorphins into our blood which causes us to feel good and to relax. It helps us achieve a deep restful sleep. Regular aerobic exercise lowers our resting heart rate. It also boosts our immune system and makes us less prone to all sorts of illness. This comforting fact can reduce our stress as well.

Refuse to Procrastinate

Procrastination can be a huge source for stress. The more things you put off, the more unfinished business you have to stress about. By changing your habits from procrastination to tackling duties right away, you can change your life and accomplish a heck of a lot more. You have the power to delete a whole class of stress by taking care of business as soon as it shows its face. Do your chores today so you don't have to listen to your mother nag all week. Do your homework when you get home, so you don't have to stress about your grades. If you've been meaning to tell someone something, tell them. Just think for a second how good you'll feel when you have finished the duty you most dread. Then do it so you can feel that way!

Don't overload your schedule.

Teens can be incredibly busy, always running from one thing to the next. School and homework consume a lot of time. When you add activities on top of that like sports, jobs, clubs, music lessons, and hobbies it can be very difficult to fit everything in. If you are stressed because you don't have enough time to finish your homework, practice your musical instrument, or whatever it is, consider making time for yourself by dropping one of your activities. If you do, you may be able to get more out of the activities that are most important to you.

Don't forget to make time to relax

Reserve time for yourself. Exercise, such as running, can provide a feeling of freedom and a time for thought and reflection. Maybe you relax by writing in a journal, listening to music, rollerblading or walking the dog. Make sure you take time every week to relax in your own way. This will refresh your mind, and will give your mind the rest it needs in order to focus on important activities during the week.

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