To all you Latinitas out there whose mind is running a million miles per second, stop and breathe. Stress is a common factor that every person deals with. It comes at you with a whirlwind of emotions known as anxiety, paranoia, frustration, and agitation (to name a few). As a teen, or young adult, the first phases of stress are often coupled with new responsibilities; and you hardly know how to deal with it. According to Teenhelp.com, teens usually deal with stress related to school work, friends, family, romantic relationships, or even peer pressure in the social realm. Here are a few tips that can help you deal.
“All in all you’re just another brick in the Wall” - Pink Floyd
As odd as it might sound, you’re not the only one going through school stress. Look around you, everyone else is trying to pass or make an A. They’re also applying to colleges and looking for scholarship money. What you can do is slow down, set goals, and organize and prepare yourself for the unknown. Tackle your school tasks day by day while using planners– one for school-work and activities and another for your future plans (like college). Unless you absolutely have to, only focus on what needs to be done at the present moment.
Marissa Martinez’s solution for school stress is to take study breaks. “Study at intervals so that all the information and stuff you are studying does not consume you, as it can help you lose motivation,” says Marissa. An important tip: while applying for college know that most universities look for Latinas to fill their classrooms. We are wanted all over the nation, use your multitasking, smarts, and perseverance to your advantage while applying for college, but don’t let it get the best of you.
Wendy Gonzalez shares how her college preparation was a little overwhelming. “It was mainly due to always having this force that drove me. I always dreamt of going to college and growing up and then it felt like I had finally arrived at that point and it was scary. It was scary not to know where my life would be headed. Studying and achieving good grades numbed my emotions and my fears,” says Wendy.
Although growing up can be terrifying, don’t be ashamed of your accomplishments, and don’t be scared of putting yourself out there. Going to college or a higher grade level means entering a new phase in your life, embrace it and see what you can do for yourself and others instead of fearing the unknown. You might not know it, but there are people out there who really love and believe in you; if you’re having stress or anxiety problems with your academics, go to someone you are comfortable talking to.
“I get by with a little help from my friends” – The Beatles
Sometimes your friends can be like family, they love and support you, they can be extremely judgmental and they can also be persuasive. Your family can also fall under these categories, just remember that their input is usually meant for the best; take it with loving acknowledgement and do what you believe is right. Stick to your guns and don’t let anyone push you into doing something you don’t want to do. Remember that the person you’re with most is yourself, you should be able to like that person. Your friends and family should be your support group and relief when there’s no one else to go to. Make sure you surround yourself with people you can trust, because those bonds last a lifetime.
If you’re in an unhealthy relationship with a friend, family member, or romantic other, stop and think about how you’re being affected. Peer pressure to do drugs, drink alcohol, or do any kind of sexual activity can be detrimental. Abusive behavior and inappropriate remarks are all signs of an unhealthy relationship. Although you might feel stuck or are blaming yourself in any of these situations, know that you do have a choice. Communication is key, but most of all communicate with yourself.
Jocelyn Perez comments how people try to keep their feelings to themselves, what she does to release stress is, “ run, paint, sing, and I do something that makes me laugh.”
Find your own niche where you can be comfortable. Keep a diary and write everything down, like your stresses or letters to the people who are harming you. If your problem is with a family member let them know, sit down and talk to them or write them a letter, they need to understand how their harsh words are making you feel. Get everything off your chest, then get yourself out of that position; there are better relationships to be made.
“You are the Hero of your own Story”- Joseph Campbell
Your surroundings can be overwhelming and may leave you feeling self-conscious and anxious. The trick is to try and keep them out. So many girls are pressured into thinking girls/teens/women need to be thinner, or smarter, or nicer, or more hip, but in reality you just need to be you. Count your strengths, even the small things. If you help your mom out with your family, that makes you a strong supportive woman. If you turn your homework in on time, that makes you a good student. If you can dance by yourself in front of the mirror that makes you beautiful. If you ever come by a stressful or hopeless feeling take a break from your world to do something that makes you happy.
Gonzalez states, “We have to learn how to be mindful. Acknowledge our feelings and advocate for what we need at specific moments.”
Body image can be a huge factor in causing stress problems. There is a high percentage of girls suffering from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem because they feel that they’re not good enough.
Wendy Gonzalez shares her own experience stating, “stress led to my anemia,vitamin d deficiency,costochondritis fibromyalgia and patellofemoral pain all during my senior year of high school…luckily I am better.”
Stanley Popovich, author of Managing your Persistent Fears, Anxieties and Stresses, advises girls to keep a small notebook full of positive statements that they’ve seen before or wrote themselves. If you ever get low or depressed feelings it’s always good to read one of these affirmations (positive statements) as a mantra, and say it until you believe it. At the end of the day it all comes down to you, reason with your mind and challenge your thoughts with logical questions (Popovich). If you feel like your stress is turning into something bigger and more disruptive, find help.
All of these topics have one common factor, you. There are many different ways to get rid of stress and handle what might become anxiety, it all depends on your mind power.