No matter how hard we try, stress is part of everyday life. Stress can manifest itself in many different ways, like when your elementary school student says that he or she is sick and does not want to go to school or when your high school student can’t focus on his or her schoolwork or struggles to sleep at night. Anxiety is often caused by increased social and academic expectations, overscheduling, less downtime and family together-time, as well as internal expectations that each student sets for him or herself.
While a certain level of stress and anxiety is normal, managing stress, keeping it in check before it leads to uncontrollable anxiety, is essential to every student’s health and well-being. Here are six suggestions for students to help them manage their stress and anxiety.
- Eat nutritious, balanced meals. A healthy diet is essential to managing stress and lowering anxiety levels. Eating fruits and vegetables will give students energy, helping to train their brains to manage stress. Limiting trigger foods, foods that cause anxiety and panic attacks, like caffeine, will also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Meditate and exercise. In addition to reducing a student’s negative feelings, and fostering compassion, meditation and exercise helps students to self-regulate and enhances their ability to focus. Students who meditate and exercise regularly tend to perform better in school, focus on the big picture and long-term goals, and reduce their stress and anxiety.
- Organize, organize, organize. The more organized students are, the more in control they feel. Students should organize their workspaces, their school work, and their schedules. Getting organized helps students to sleep better, improves interpersonal relationships, and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Spend more time with your family. Regardless of your family dynamic, spending time with family provides students with a greater level of acceptance and support. Students who spend time talking to family members tend to feel more secure. Spend family time discussing values, like compassion, integrity, and health, reminding students that success is not measured by grades but by who they are as members of the global community. Students with a strong family unit have greater opportunities to express their concerns, stresses, and anxieties.
- Get off social media. At best, social media is a distraction. Spending less time on social media reduces students’ stress levels as it reduces social stress. Students who spend a significant amount of time on social media not only have elevated anxiety levels, they also suffer from a lack of self-esteem. Rather than watching everyone else note their achievements and happy events, students should focus on setting their own goals.
- Set manageable goals. Setting goals helps students prevent situations from spiraling out of control. With a manageable goal in mind, students can thwart feelings impending doom, hopelessness, and irrational fears, all of which lead to greater stress and anxiety.
If your student’s anxiety levels are interfering with his or her ability to function socially or academically, please seek help from a professional. Talking to someone specifically trained to teach coping strategies can make a significant difference in your student’s life.
For students struggling to get organized, contact GAMECHANGER to work with one of our exceptional organizational or executive functioning coaches.