Smoke Signals

Inner Self

What is Stress?
Jessica Chung
Art/ Photography Editor

No matter how hard we try, it just seems like there is no way we can avoid it: Stress. Whether it is because of a test or presentation coming up, of a fight with your parents or friends or of physical danger, stress just tags along with every event in our life. Everyday I hear people saying, “I’m so stressed!” or “I have so much to do, I barely get sleep anymore,” etc. So, if stress is inevitable, then what is stress exactly?
Stress is the emotional and physical tension caused by pressure or any kind of demand. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation. Situations that cause us stress are called stressors. Stressors activate the nervous system and specific hormones that speed heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and metabolism. This natural reaction to stress is called the stress response which is also known as fight or flight response. This is important when dealing with emergencies or important situations.
So, stress is simply a fact of nature. It comes and goes. Our body is just designed to react to pressure which we call stress. We think of stress as a negative experience because of our fast-paced lives that gives us an excess amount of it. Especially as teenagers, parents and teachers have higher expectations from us, putting us under the pressure to excel at all times. Stress is definitely bad if we have too much of it. Negative stress from being overworked and building of tension and anxiety can cause physical and emotional changes. However, stress is also a positive experience. Stress gives us that little excitement of a challenge and motivates us to do better to overcome that challenge. As new demands are thrown at us, we try to think of new ways to complete the task and relieve ourselves of the stress that comes along with it.

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Stressed Out?

Jessica Chung

Art/Photographer Editor

The end of first quarter is approaching and so are progress reports, college deadlines and SATs. The worry about grades and college applications and essays bring an unpleasant amount of stress to students every year. According to Teen Stress Statistics, 68% of teenage stress comes from school.*  Here are some helpful methods to relieve some of this stress:

1) Exercise or Workout.

Exercising is one of the most therapeutic activities that bring immediate relief. It releases hormones that help people to feel more positive and focus better on other activities the engage in. So go hit the gm or take a jog around the neighborhood or even blast some music and dance! It’ll leave you feeling fresh and anew.

2) Cut down on junk food.

As hard as it might be to cut down on your midnight snacks, reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake can go a long way in restoring your body into a healthy balance. Eating and feeling healthy will give you a lot more energy to work with.

3) Talk to others or Spend time with your friends.

It is always good to talk out your problems with friends and family who can empathize and support you emotionally. Talking can help let out some of that stress. They might even be able to give you some great insight on what they think about the situation.

4) Prioritize.

Organize your tasks in order of importance. Having a neat, organized schedule for your tasks is a great way to manage your time and really get things done quicker. Do things that require more time and of greater importance first. You can avoid being overly stressed this way.

5) Breathe and Relax.

Taking a few deep breathes and a few minutes of solitude to think can really do wonders. Calm down and clear your head. It will prepare you mentally for all the work. Listening to relaxing music can help as well.

*According to www.teenhelp.com

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Inner Self