Stress relief can feel like an uphill battle. For teens and adolescents who are more accustomed to living with stress than safety, relieving stress might feel impossible. Stress can arise from general daily stressors, like business, schoolwork, family, friends, and others. Stress can also be a long-lasting result of trauma or mental illness. Although sometimes stress can’t be completely avoided by a change in behavior, teens need to find ways to relieve stress to improve their mental and physical health.
Begin an Exercise Routine
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Moving or engaging in exercise helps teens take their minds off their stressors and allow the buildup of tension to release. Many people who use exercise and physical activity as a stress reliever say they feel their stress melt away when they exercise. Many others report an increase in happiness, which can be from a decrease in stress, as well as an increase in endorphins (the happy hormones) released during exercise. Frontiers in Psychology states, “regular activation of stress systems by physical exercise may produce beneficial adaptations such that these systems will be able to respond to acute stress more effectively, for example, with reduced vigor and shorter duration.” These same researchers also concluded that exercise is extremely beneficial in promoting emotional resilience to stress.
Joining an athletic team, implementing a fitness routine, or simply taking a 30-minute walk each day can help teens cut down on stress. Teens may enjoy these activities with others, like family and friends, or in solitude. There is no wrong way to exercise, and it’s a good way to relieve stress and stay healthy.
Cut Out Avoidable Stressors or Adapt
There are ways to cut out some stressors. For example, teens can set boundaries with people who stress them out. If boundaries are being crossed and that is a regular stressor, put a stop to it by clearly labeling what behavior crosses a boundary and telling the other person to stop. If they don’t respect that boundary, limit contact with that person as much as possible.
For stressors that can’t be avoided, like general work, school, or family stressors, try to work it out with your boss, teachers, and family members. See if there is a compromise that can be made. Otherwise, change your thinking around the situation. No one deliberately starts their day angling to stress someone out. If they are, having a conversation and setting boundaries with this person—or cutting contact completely—is the way to go.
For stressors that are out of one’s control, try adapting one’s thinking with mindfulness. People can only control their actions in any given situation, so they can take stock of what they can control and do what they can to mitigate or leave that stressful situation.
Mindfulness is a method of calming that allows people to focus on the present moment, and observe themselves and their current surroundings. According to Plos One, mindfulness is related to meditation, but not the act of purely meditating. Mindfulness is a way to slow down, breathe, and make quiet observations of the world around in that stressful moment. Focusing on things besides the stressor, like body position, the decor or furniture, outdoor scenery, and more can help teens mentally distance themselves from the stressor enough to feel relief.
Focusing on the stressful situation in a different light can also help alleviate stress. For example, in conflicts with another person, observing the fact that there are two people in a room, in a building, in a county, in a state, and so on, can help place things in perspective that maybe the stressor isn’t that big. Plus One researchers observed that those who practiced mindfulness (particularly in work settings) may have improved physiological functioning.
One can also observe what they can and can’t control in the present moment. Taking deep breaths and observing their surroundings in a calm, distanced manner can help someone take stock of their choices as they respond to the stressor. They can choose to react calmly after thinking for a moment, or they can choose to react strongly.
Stress Relief For General Health
News in Health lists several little ways one can reduce stress and improve their overall health. These include:
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to higher stress, and getting enough sleep is important for overall health.
- Exercise regularly. This relieves stress and promotes a healthy body.
- Build a social support network. Good supports can help people feel calmer, safer, and give them a sounding board to talk out their stressors.
- Set priorities. Work out what must be done first, and what can wait. Making lists and schedules can help.
- Try relaxation techniques, like self-care and mindfulness.
- Think positive. Positive thinking is important for overall health.
- Seek help. If your stress is overwhelming, it’s time to talk to a parent, doctor, or therapist.
Stress can be debilitating in extreme cases. In fact, it can weaken the mind, body, and even the immune system. Stress can also make people make choices they wouldn’t normally make, or make a person think negatively in situations they wouldn’t normally find negative. Some people live in constant states of stress; this can be due to trauma or past experiences that have conditioned this person to experience significant stress. Teens in particular may find the older they get, the more stressed they become as they gain responsibilities. It’s important to ask for help if your stress is unbearable, and Havenwood Academy can provide that help. At Havenwood Academy, we understand that trauma-exposed teens and adolescents may have significant stress reactions. Our professional and experienced staff offers safety, therapy, and an environment that encourages stress-relief routines. Call us today at (435) 586-2500 for more information. We know you don’t want to do this alone, so we can help.
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