Every one of us faces times of anxiety, stress and pain. These suggestions are ideas for ways to help you get through the tough times. Taking these small steps can help reduce even normal levels of stress that come with life as a young person. They won’t help everybody all the time, but even a little can make a difference.
1. Connect: Get Together
Spend time with other people. Talk with your peers and share as many positive experiences with them as you can. Find time for your parents or guardians. It may seem like these adults don’t understand you. Ask them to try. Show respect and patience. If both you and they can take the time to listen, fear and misunderstanding can clear off, leaving space for understanding. We all need the support of others.
2. Contribute: Help Somebody
Even little efforts can go a long way to help others, and make you feel good about pitching in. Try helping a little kid with homework, or picking up around the neighborhood. Elderly folks often need help carrying heavy groceries or reading the news. Adults really appreciate contribution of time from youths, and that time can help dispel myths and misunderstanding between generations.
3. Choose: Use Common Sense
Life is all about making decisions. We use our common sense most of the time. But how do we know that we have sound judgement? We ask others and we listen to our gut. Our instincts are usually pretty good, but sometimes we need feedback from others to know what’s right. Make sure to ask people that you believe are looking out for your best interests and have a track record of good judgement.
4. Practice: Follow Your Plan
Routines create stability in life, a kind of structure for the many changes and challenges we face every day. Its always a good idea to have a loose plan for the coming days and weeks, especially during a time of major stress. Try mapping out a routine to provide some consistency for your day. Its not like it won’t change, but it gives you some idea of what’s ahead and how you’re going to deal with it. Build in time for getting things done, checking in with friends, and doing things just for yourself.
5. Create: Express Yourself
Experiencing pain, severe anxiety or tragedy you might feel like you want to explode. Your feelings are confusing and powerful. It might be really hard to talk to someone about what your emotions are doing to you. Creative expression can be a helpful way to get your feelings out, to work through them in a constructive way. Write, draw, sculpt, dance – there are as many ways to show your feelings as their are emotions.
6. Rest: Create A Stress-Free Zone
Pain and stress do pass over time. As you work through these overwhelming emotions, allow yourself time to heal. Make a safe place in your home that is free from conflict and anxiety-producing worries. Make it comfortable and without distractions, such as computers or television. Use your time there to focus on the positive things in your life and the skills you’ve developed to get through challenges, work on relaxation techniques with music or breathing. Think about the important things that have stayed the same, even while the outside world is changing. Turn your mind toward good times and memories as you heal in this space.
7. Care: Do the Body Good
Everybody has different self-care habits, but when you’re distressed, its really important to pay better attention to taking care of yourself in all ways; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Remember to exercise daily, eat a balanced diet and go easy on the junk food, get solid sleep at night, and drink plenty of water. To keep up with everything, your first goal should be to look after yourself.
8. Discover: Learn From Role Models
Many people consider tehmselves life-long learners, just to keep life interesting and to allow us room to grow and adapt to the changing world around us. Be sure to choose teachers who are role models who you respect and trust. Just as you wouldn’t follow a stranger home if you were wandering around Times Square in New York City, you wouldn’t follow just anyone in life. Surround yourself with people who align with your values and have strong ethical character.
9. Overcome: Take Control
Even in the midst of tragedy, you can move toward goals with small steps. During a really hard time, just getting out of bed and going to school may be all you can handle, but even accomplishing that can help. Bad times make us feel out of control. By taking positive decisive actions in baby steps, you’ll be moving in the right direction.
10. Protect: Be Kind to Yourself
As we connect to the world and each other, we take risks. That’s natural and an important part of our growth. Be sure to measure your risks and be smart, both in terms of safety and also in terms of exposure. Try to limit the amount of media you expose yourself to, whether it’s from social networks, television, or other news sources. When you need to be informed, make sure to check a reliable source. Sensational media can increase stress levels unnecessarily without improving knowledge.