Stress 101


Stress is... 

~~~ a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.


~~~ The situations and pressure that cause stress are known as stressors. 

~~~ Stress is different for everyone. What stresses you out may not even bother your best friend, or vice versa. 

~~~ You may feel stressed by an upcoming exam or assignment, while a friend or peer may not be stressed about it at all.

~~~ Stress also is different for you at different ages.  What you are stressed about at age 8 is going to be different than what you are stressed about at age 16 or 20 or 50 years old.  It changes throughout your life. 

Activity ~~~ It can be helpful to write or draw out your stressors.  Make a list or drawing about what has felt stressful to you in the past, what feels stressful to you now, and what you think might be stressful for you in the future.

Check out these videos for more of an understanding of how stress works...

Symptoms of Stress

  • Upset stomach

  • Trouble breathing

  • Headache

  • Chest pains

  • Dizziness

  • Heartburn

  • Muscle pain

  • Aches & cramps

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Change in sleep habits

  • Change in appetite

Ways to Address Your Stress and Experience More Peace.

  • Learn and practice mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques.

  • Exercise and move your body regularly by doing yoga, dancing, taking a walk, or some other exercise or movement that you enjoy.

  • Notice any negative self-talk and work to decrease it.  You can use affirmations and words of peace to help you with this.  Or talk to someone you trust about any negative thoughts and feelings that are persistent.

  • Eat regularly and try to eat healthy foods.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.

  • Build a network of friends and/or family that support you and that help you cope with stress in a positive way.

  • Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.

  • Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress.  You can also use guided imagery to help you visualize positive outcomes of stressful situations.

  • Learn to feel good about doing a "good enough" job rather than demanding perfection from yourself or others.

  • Take a break from stressful situations.  Do something you enjoy that helps to reduce your stress like listening to music, playing a sport, drawing or painting or some other kind of art, or spending time with a pet.

  • Learn just a little bit about your nervous system and brain so that you can understand how and why you can take control of your stress response.

  • Learn practical coping skills.  For example - if you have a large project or task, break it down into smaller more manageable pieces so you can address them one at a time.

  • Learn to notice and name your feelings.  We can reduce a lot of stress just by naming our strong feelings, like "I feel angry."  Or "I feel disappointed."  Or "I feel really sad right now."

  • Develop assertiveness skills.  For example, you can practice stating feelings and needs in a firm but polite way.  "I feel angry when you yell at me.  Please stop yelling." Or "I don't want and don't deserve to be yelled at.  I am going to walk away until we can talk more calmly."

Tell us, what are other ways you address your stress and feel calm and at peace?