How To Deal With Stress

Learning ways to cope with stress today could save you trouble tomorrow


Alexis Boyer, Senior Reporter

Stress plagues the lives of millions of people every day. It can show itself through physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, body pain, and skin rashes, as well as emotional responses, like worsened mental health, sadness, worry, and anger. The Global Organization for Stress reports that “75% of people in the US experience moderate to high-stress levels in the past month.” So how are people supposed to deal with this?

While stress cannot be eliminated from one’s life there are ways to manage it. For minor to moderate stress it is all about self-care. Deep breathing, exercise, eating healthy, and meditation are all ways to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. These techniques are most effective when used often. Goal setting and planning can also help lower future stress. 

For severe stress, there are more intensive treatment options. Stress that prevents a person from getting through their day-to-day life could be a sign of anxiety disorder or depression. In this case, people can take antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medication. There is also therapy such as cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on changing a person’s thinking processes and behaviors to change feelings about stressful situations. Exposure therapy aims toward building tolerance to stress by exposing a person to intense anxiety-producing situations. 

With all the pressure put on high school students, how do high schoolers in the North Clackamas School district cope with it? Emelia Puerta, a junior at Adrienne Nelson High School  says that “School is one of my biggest stressors…sometimes school stress can take away from outside of school happiness because I get overwhelmed and can’t stop thinking about it.” While Puerta states that she knows of other ways to deal with stress, they’re too time consuming and instead she copes by crying and petting her cat. 

So what do administrators experienced with working with stressed teens think? Erika Rutz, a counselor at Adrienne C. Nelson High School, says, “I think stress affects everyone. Students are constantly working to balance school and personal lives and that can cause stress, especially with everything going on in the world, including COVID, returning back to school after distance learning, etc.” When asked how students should deal with the stress she suggested that a person should adjust what they’re doing in their everyday life to be less overwhelmed and make a schedule to limit procrastination. She also emphasized the significance of self care: Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, taking breaks to center yourself. Using those skills students can be more relaxed and learn to think of stress, not as a negative thing but as an initiative to get things done. 

People must be patient with themselves in order to work through everyday struggles such as stress; “The most important thing to do every day is to be kind to yourself”, Rutz suggests. Educating people on better ways to deal with stress is vital, but it’s really about how a person chooses to deal with stress that defines how it affects their life.