Defining stress and dealing with it

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Defining stress and dealing with it

Keira Collins, Staff Writer

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Almost everyone in the world, middle school students included struggles with the same vague psychological phenomenon: stress. But what exactly is stress?

 

Scientifically speaking, it’s your body’s response to a demand or a threat of some sort. When experiencing a negative feeling or sense some kind of danger, the body then defends itself in the form of a stress response. The stress response is just the way the body protects itself from dangers or threats.

If this process works properly, then stress can actually help you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can actually save your life. In reality, stress can help you achieve your goals or meet your own challenges. If during a presentation you’re worried about messing up or having a bad piece of work, stress can keep you on your toes, making sure you stay focused and push through the presentation. Stress can also motivate you to study when you’d rather be doing something a lot more fun.

The effects of stress are numerous, as the human body’s nervous system isn’t very good at telling the difference between emotional and physical threats. As a result, the body might react the same to a deadline, an argument with a friend, or even getting in trouble in some sort of way, to a real life-or-death situation. The more your body is stressed out by non-emergencies, the easier it is to trigger even more stress, making it a lot harder to shut off. If your body gets stressed out really easily, then it can lead to some serious health issues. Stress can lead to a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and many other mental health issues. Some health issues created by stress are sleep problems, digestive problems, heart disease, weight problems, thinking and memory problems, and many more.

Stress isn’t just caused by negative things, really anything that puts high demands on you can be super stressful. Getting married, buying a house, going away to college, or even receiving a raise are generally positive things that can happen, but to some, they can also be stressful. Stress can be both self-generated and internal and usually is created when you worry about something that could or couldn’t happen. From there, you can start to rethink your life, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Of course, everyone’s thoughts on stress are completely different, something that could be stressful to you may not be stressful to your best friend. For example, many people love the spotlight and performing in front of people, but others may find it horrifying and stressful. In addition, while you may not work well under pressure, your friends could work amazingly with high pressure and tight deadlines. Stress isn’t all psychological, there are also external symptoms of stress, like major personality changes, being too busy, and even relationship issues.  For internal symptoms, many people suffer from negative self-talk, an all-or-nothing attitude, and increasingly unrealistic expectations.

Stress isn’t something that should be kept bottled up, and there are many ways you can improve your ability to handle stress. You could get active and moving, connect more with others, engage your senses by practicing mindfulness, find things that relax you, eat healthier food, and even just getting more rest can help. At the end of the day, stress is a normal reaction to situations that everyone struggles with. Remember, it’s always healthy and okay to ask for help if you have major stress issues or even minor stress issues; the important thing is learning how to manage your stress.

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