Does it ever feel like things are getting too much? Perhaps it is homework, exam pressure or issues at home. Whatever the cause, you feel anxious, irritable, and like you are finding it difficult to cope. You might even get headaches or struggle to sleep.
In other words, you are stressed.
But don’t panic — you’re not alone. Everyone suffers from stress from time to time; it is a normal way for your body to react to high-pressure situations. However, for the millions of people who suffer from stress long-term, it can have serious consequences. It has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and a weaker immune system. It can also feed into existing mental health problems.
This is why the World Health Organisation has dubbed stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century”.
April is Stress Awareness Month — which makes it the perfect time to think about ways of coping with stress. But how?
The NHS recommends that you start with small steps. Take some time out of your day to relax. Make sure you keep exercising, which will release hormones that reduce stress. And if things still feel like too much, remember that you can always talk to an adult or seek professional help.
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- As a class, complete this one-minute meditation for reducing stress. Discuss how you feel afterwards. Did it work?
- Noticing what makes you stressed is one of the most useful ways of managing your stress in future situations. Write a list of the five things that are most likely to make you feel stressed and a practical solution for each.
- Produce a poster, video or leaflet which gives young people advice on how to reduce stress.