Myth #1: Only bad/unpleasent situations are stressful. Actually, lists of stress-makers also include all kinds of happy events: waddings, graduations, a job promotion, moving to a now house, a new baby brother or sister, winning the lottery, and even falling in love. For instance? If you get into your first choice for college, you’ll be jumping for joy–but you’ll also have a whole new list of decisions, choices, and worries to handle.
Myth #2: In the best kind of world, there wouldn’t be any stress. BOR-ing! Too much peace and quiet can make us bored, restless, and miserable. Stress is a sign of life’s changes–a sign that things are happening in your life. We like mental challenges, a change of scenery, new experiences and friends–and all those things bring stress into our lives. The trick is to find out what kind of stress is OK for you–and how much is too much.
Myth #3: What stresses me out will stress you out, too. Nope. Some situations will be stressful for almost anybody. But much of the stress you experience is something that depends on how you relate to the world around you and what you think about the situations you face. You might be upset by your brother’s “clowning around” in public, for instance. But do you have a friend who thinks his act is “cute”?
That doesn’t mean that stress is just in your head. Difficult situations are very real. But it’s good news all the same. Why? Because if the stress you experience depends (even partly) on how you think about it, then CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT STRESS might be a way to keep stress under control.
One Day at a Time: 10 Tips to Help You De-Stress Your Life
1. Live healthy: Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours), eat right, and exercise at least every other day.
2. Make friends with “positive” people who enjoy life and whom you can talk to honestly. Having close, trusting relationships is a great way to fight the negative effects of stress.
3. Give yourself extra time to do things and get places. Why start the day with a panicky rush–if you can get up for school 30 minutes earlier?
4. Live in the present. If you think too much about the past or worry too much about the future, you may not get around to doing things today that will help you make the life you want.
5. Get organized: Put your stuff where you can find it easily…have “backups” to help you avoid emergencies (extra car and house keys hidden somewhere, a good spare in the trunk, etc. .
6. Practice controlling your temper. Before you speak or act in a tense situation, think.
7. Learn to tell the difference between the things you can do something about and the things you can’t. If you can’t do anything about a situation, try not to worry about it.
8. Feel free to put off choices you aren’t ready to make. If you aren’t sure about a relationship, for instance, you do not have to let the other person pressure you into actions or commitments you’re not sure about.
9. Avoid getting into a cycle of substance abuse (of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, food, etc.) that will make the rest of your life more stressful.
10. Stand up for yourself. If you think someone is being unfair, say so. If you need something, ask for it. Don’t expect other people to read your mind.