What Is It?
Stress is a natural response to pressure or threat. Everyday pressures may activate your stress response such as worrying about an upcoming test or preparing for an interview. However, it is important to note that not all stress is bad. Physically, stress activates your body’s fight-or-flight response when you’re in a dangerous situation alerting you of any harm. Also, in non-life threatening situations, stress may act as a motivator giving you that burst of energy or confidence you need to successfully complete a task.
What Does It Feel Like?
When your body is under stress you may feel tense or nervous. As a result, your heartbeat or breathing may increase, palms become sweaty and your body might begin to shake. Although stress usually goes away after the high pressure situation ends, it can sometimes last for quite sometime causing severe health problems.
What Does It Look Like?
There are two types of stress: short-term and long-term.
Short-term stress has less severe negative symptoms such as anxiety and nervousness. Short-term stress also has positive symptoms including increased concentration, reaction time and strength. This type of stress is situational; meaning once the situation is over your body will no longer feel stressed.
Long-term stress, however, has only negative affects on your health. Symptoms of long-term stress include: depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, memory impairment and weight gain. Long-term stress can be defined as having repeated exposure to stressful situations which keeps your stress response activated the entire time.
Did You Know?
Stress is extremely common among all people regardless of age; however, stress plays a huge role in teen health. The American Psychological Association reports:
- 10% of teens say stress causes them to get lower grades
- 59% of teens say balancing all their activities causes stress
- 40% of teens say their irritable due to stress
- 36% of teens say they feel tired because of stress
- 30% of teens say they feel depressed because of stress
What Are Ways I Can Reduce My Stress?
- Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Get active and exercise!
- Adopt healthy eating habits—NO STRESS EATING
- Avoid caffeine
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga
- Take breaks from stressful activities by listening to music or spending time with a pet
Take the Stress Quiz!
Sources: National Institute of Mental Health
The American Institute of Stress
American Psychological Association