The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

4 Ways 4 Teens 2 B.E.A.T. Stress

I see how stressed out my teen daughter and her friends are about school and their crazy and intense schedules (up too early, to bed too late, too many activities, too many responsibilities….sound familiar?) Basically, stress if going to be a part of your life unless you decide to manage it.  Lucky for you, there are a few easy things you can do every day to help you manage this stress. I’ve made it really simple for you. Just remember the letters B – E – A – T. These are four easy ways to BEAT stress.

1. Breathe.

When you’re stressed, whether you realize it or not, you start to breathe more shallowly. You deny your body of oxygen and getting more oxygen via a few deep breaths is one of the easiest things you can do to calm yourself down. This doesn’t have to be complicated but there are a few different techniques out there. One of my favorites, and one that helps me to fall asleep really quickly, is called the 4-7-8 technique. Basically you just breath in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of 7 and then exhale for a count of 8. It might feel weird at first but it works. If you want to do something simpler just count your breath. Breath in and count to one, breathe out and count to two. Breath in and count to three, breath out and count to four. Now start over. Honestly, do whatever feels comfortable for you but just breathe.

2. Eat Right.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Eat right. Don’t drink sugary soda. Avoid fast food. Blah blah blah. I know you’ve been told to eat your veggies since you’ve been little but what you eat can really impact how you feel. Our instincts when we’re stressed are to eat comforting and fattening junk food but eating healthy makes you feel better inside which makes you feel better outside and so when you eat right, you feel right. I’m not saying you need to give up your comfort foods completely but don’t drown your stress in food. It will just make you feel worse.

3. Accomplish Small Tasks.

As a life coach I worked with graduate students who were trying to write their dissertations for their PhDs. They would come to me with huge lists of what they wanted to accomplish each day. “Write for 2 hours!” or “Finish one book each day” and I have to tell you, this is just crazy and reaaaaally adds to your stress. If you are going to learn one study/work habit make it this one – break everything down into small tasks. Got a paper to write? Write down a list of all the things you have to do to get it done: 1) Research the author and find 5 articles about her, 2) Write one paragraph on the author’s childhood, 3) Outline the last paragraph of the paper, etc. Sure you already sort of know all of the steps but writing them down into reasonable chunks and then checking them off when you do them is a huge stress reliever. You get to see everything you have to do and then get to see your progress. Again, sounds simple but do it consistently and you will see how much less stressful school tasks can be.

4. Take Time 4 Yourself

I’m not going to tell you to stop watching videos of puppies and delete your social media accounts to relieve stress because that would be, well….stressful! In order to manage your life you need to take time for yourself and do the things you enjoy. But here’s the thing, you can plan for these things to make them seem like more of a part of your life instead of constant distractions. When you get home from school tell yourself that you’re going to take 30 minutes just to do whatever you want to do. It can be watching TV, texting your friends, going outside, sitting and staring blankly at a wall…whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Do it and enjoy it without guilt. But when those 30 minutes are up, get back to whatever you need to do until your next break. I know time management can sound like it might be stressful but it’s really just being organized and managing your precious free time smartly. You’ll see that you actually do have time for everything and may even find that you have time leftover to do ever more of what you love. Trust me, it works.

So there you have it. Four easy things to do to BEAT stress. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You tell me what you do to manage your stress. Share it with other teens and share it with me! We all lead crazy stressed out lives but by being aware of yourself and your time and body and energy you can go a long way to managing stress, as a teen and forever.

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