"Stress is the body's natural response to difficult or scary situations" (NIDA, 2016). As a result of the brain's thoughts during stressful times, the brain, heart and breathing work faster, and muscles tense.
Too much stress over an extended period of time can lead to an increased risk in depression and anxiety, lack of focus, headaches and lowered immunity.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion have developed 9 tips for the management of stress:
1. Plan Ahead - Make a to-do list for yourself and refresh it each day. Have the highest priority at the top, and ensure you set feasible goals.
2. Prepare - Thinking about how an upcoming event may play out and how you would deal with various scenarios is a good way to reduce anxiety.
3. Breathe Deeply - Inhale...Exhale...
4. Relax Your Muscles - Go and get a massage, or even just do some stretches, or take a long hot shower to loosen your muscles and help your body to physically relax.
5. Exercise - Exercising releases endorphins and dopamine in your brain which has been proven to increase relaxation.
6. Eat Healthy - Eating foods that are high in nutrients such as fruit and vegetables will give your body more energy. Avoid consuming too many processed foods.
7. Avoid Alcohol And Drugs - Substance use can increase anxiety and reduce the ability to focus and think rationally.
8. Talk To Someone - Tell people close to you when you are feeling stressed. This doesn't have to mean your family or friends, it can be a teacher or counsellor too.
9. Get Help iI You Need It - If you feel like everything is becoming too much too handle, seek out medical assistance. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline helps with more than just suicide on 1800 273 8255.