Stress is something that we all experience every single day, either physically or emotionally. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the damage of stress because they have little to no control over their environment. This can make it difficult for many teenagers to improve their situation and chronic stress. You feel stress when you are under pressure or threatened. This article will explain the types of emotional stress and ways to reduce it.
The Two Types of Stress
There are two main types of stress, acute and chronic. Acute, or short-term stress, can be beneficial. However, chronic, or long-term stress, can cause an array of problems. When people talk about anxiety or PTSD, that is chronic stress.
Short-term stress can be beneficial in many different scenarios. It can help you do better in a sports game by increasing your speed and strength or help you score higher on a test.
You can tell if you are experiencing acute stress by recognizing common signs like having “butterflies” in your stomach or even feeling nauseous.
On the other hand, chronic stress is harmful to your mental and physical health. When you have chronic stress, your body is always in “fight or flight.”
Constantly being in “fight or flight” causes you to have elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol (mainly). Both increase heart rate and are damaging in the long term. Stress can cause many difficulties, like headaches, digestive troubles, mental health problems, and weight issues.
There are two types of stress, acute and chronic. Acute stress is beneficial because it helps you perform better in the short term. Chronic stress is harmful because it elevates your cortisol and adrenaline levels.
Methods to Reduce and Prevent Stress
All types of stress are challenging. Some ways to deal with it include:
Getting More Exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress because when you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called “endorphins.” They reduce stress by making you feel good.
The effects of endorphins will also last for a short time after you have finished exercising. Depending on the type, exercise can also be a form of meditation.
Eating a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can go a long way in preventing stress. Your diet affects your health in many ways, including your mental health.
Decreasing your consumption of processed foods and increasing your consumption of nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans) lowers your risk for nutrient deficiencies and improves your mental health.
Self-care can be an effective way to reduce stress and improve your overall health. Self-care methods include:
- Participating in a hobby or doing something you love
That is just a short list of effective self-care methods. Check out this article by Psychology Today to learn about more self-care strategies.
Getting a Counselor
Connecting with a mental health professional can do wonders for your health. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to drastically improve stress levels and mental health. There are many different options for anybody who is looking to get a counselor.
There are online services like betterhelp.com and talkspace.com. You can also talk to somebody in-person, although, many people do not have access to a good local facility, so online options are better for most people.
Meditation does not always require sitting in a forest with your legs crossed and your eyes closed. Although that works, there are many other ways to be mindful that you can do anywhere.
A helpful version of meditation for many people is “visualization.” In this type of meditation, you practice visualizing something happening in the future. This method of meditation can help manage stress because you can attempt to solve the problem you are worried about before it happens.
Getting Enough Quality Sleep
Stress and sleep can be a vicious cycle. Too much stress can make it difficult to sleep, and not enough sleep can make stress worse.
Getting 8-9 hours of sleep can reduce stress and improve your health.
A study by the American Psychological Association shows stressed teens are half as likely to sleep enough. The study also shows that teens who sleep less than eight hours a night report higher stress levels during the day.
Check out “Sleeping for Success,” a detailed article I wrote about improving your sleep!
Many effective methods to reduce stress exist, including self-care, meditation, and exercise.
Stress is simply a part of life, but when it gets out of control, it can cause many problems. Fortunately, stress is manageable with tactics such as self-care, meditation, and sleep. I hope that the information I provided in this article helps you feel better and have less stress.