7 Healthy Ways to Deal with Stress


A visualization of how stressors can pile up.

Everyday it seems like the stressors of life tower higher and higher in the lives of high schoolers. Between people telling us our stress isn’t earned, and deadlines quickly approaching, it makes everything seem worse. We may not be able to control the things that cause us stress, but we can control how we deal with that stress.

1. Find an outlet for your negative emotions.

It’s easy to let the negativity overtake our minds and emotions, but in order to overcome the things that try so hard to defeat us, we have to be able to let our frustrations out in a productive manner. Maybe it’s a hobby, a comfort T.V. show, video game, or your favorite music. Everyone should have something that brings them peace, a distraction in the middle of the storm.

2. You’re not a superhero, you can’t do everything.

As much as we may wish we can do everything at once, we’re only human, and it’s not always possible. That doesn’t change the fact that we still have those things to do, but stop, breathe, and combat each thing at once. Stressing over your math homework while writing your English paper isn’t going to make that math homework go away. Take care of one thing at a time. When you’re done with your English paper, then you can worry about the math homework. Prioritizing things in categories of completion can be very useful too. Find your preference of how you like to do work. Do you want to get the things you dislike the most out of the way and do it first? Or do you like doing the easy stuff first to get it out of the way? Separating and combatting different things at different times can completely change the way you deal with stress. 

Senior Amy Brandenburg who is currently preparing for college, juggling the work she has from school, along with the work from her farm, and serving as FFA secretary said, “The more you stress the worse it gets.” 

Stressing and taking everything on at once does more harm than good, and it’s like running up a mountain. It’s exhausting.

3. It’s okay to say no. 

As a people pleaser, I completely understand the fear of letting someone down, however we can’t let that fear allow us to put too much on our plate. It’s okay to tell someone you can’t do something right now. It’s okay to help people too, but don’t let the satisfaction of other people control your life and what you do. Sometimes we have to tell someone we can’t help them now, but that we will later, and that’s completely okay. We can’t take on things that aren’t ours to take on.

4. It’s also okay to ask for help. 

There is no shame in asking for help. We can’t always do everything by ourselves. It’s good to be able to reach out to people when you’re struggling. Maybe reach out to your teacher to ask for an extension. They most likely understand because they’ve been working with teenagers for years. 

Ross High School 2022 graduate Riley Thomas said, “As more things begin to pile on top of each other, the natural instinct is to ignore it or take it all on at once, both of these will only cause more stress. Solve one problem at a time, and if it’s still too much, ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it shows that you are willing to do what it takes to accomplish something, and that ambition is the best thing anyone can have.”

5. Prioritize yourself above everything else.

Do small things that put you first. Wash your face every night, or make it a mission to brush your teeth twice a day. Some people hear these things and think “who doesn’t do that?” but those are the people who have never dealt with mental health issues. Make it a routine to do three beneficial things each morning and each night. Make sure you do those things before anything else.

The American Heart Association states that “Positive self-talk can help you calm down and manage stress” 

This goes right along with the self-care aspect of lessening stress, because speaking positive things into your life can make things a little easier to deal with, and better your mental health.

6. Look to the future. 

Is the thing you’re stressing about even worth it? Will it matter in a week? Month? Year? It’s very easy to let things affect us as if they’re bigger than what they are, but most times once they pass, we realize how small those things really are. Everything will be okay. It might seem like you’re not gonna make it out alive right now, but you absolutely can. One day you’re going to look back and be grateful for the hardships because they’ll shape you into the person you will become.

7. You’re in control. 

Remember that you are in control. You have the ability to change the way things turn out. You have the ability to rise above the things holding you back, and overcome them. It’s possible and I believe that if you put your mind to it you can make things good. We can’t get rid of the bad that puts itself in our lives, but we can choose to make them good. Anything is possible with a positive mindset. You can get through this. 

No matter what you take away from this, above everything else, remember that the things that cause stress in your life now are temporary and that you can get through this rough patch. It’s part of life, and it’s a part that we have to learn to deal with. You can do it though. Everyone can do if they really want to, and one day everything will be okay.