Stress: More Harmful Than You Think

13 Dec

By Emily DeSantis

WGHS student Zach Kelly struggles with his daily workload. Photo by Emily DeSantis

WGHS student Zach Kelly struggles with his daily workload. Photo by Emily DeSantis

School.Practice. Work. Homework. Repeat.

This is the life of junior Brooke Grinolds.

Grinolds attends school until 3 pm. Volleyball practice begins at 5, and then she goes to work until 9.

Sound like a wonderful day routine?

“I sometimes feel like my life is miserable,” Grinolds states. “I have so much to do.”

Unfortunately, most of us teens strain ourselves through days like these all the time. When do we have time to relax, hang out with friends, or do the hobbies and activities we love? It doesn’t happen as much as we’d like.

“I’m tired all the time,” said Grinolds “I just don’t have time for anything.”

Stress brought upon by our busy schedules affect us in many visible ways—but what about the invisible?

Every teenager experiences stress symptoms at least once in their pre-adulthood years. It can be relieved, or it can reoccur. How and when stress is taken care of varies its effects on you; stress that is not resolved can lead to many other problems. It can cause mental disorders and poor decision making.

Mental disorders don’t just appear; they develop over time. As stress builds up untreated, you’ll begin to feel helpless, irritable, and easily frustrated. It will seem like your stressors will be the end of you. Illnesses like anxiety disorders and depression are no joke – They are serious illnesses and want to be avoided at all times.

Psychology teacher, Mr. Cheplick, explains in one of his lectures for class that if you experience any of the symptoms (and there’s more!), you need to get yourself checked out as soon as possible.

“These are nasty, just nasty illnesses,” Said Cheplick. “You don’t want to be stuck with them.”

When you feel overly stressed, you may also look to other negative short-term solutions. Drug and Alcohol abuse is a common coping method. It may feel good in the moment; to forget all your problems, and to be happy for the few hours you’re not sober. But it has serious consequences.

You become detached from reality. Your interpersonal relationships decline. Your grades drop. Addiction occurs. Suicidal thoughts linger in the back of your mind. Suddenly you’re wondering what got you to where you are now.

It’s all a result of bad coping methods to stress, and leaving it untreated.

“Keeping your stress bottled up is one of the worst things you can do,” said guidance counselor Mrs. Loughlin. “My door is always open.”

Mr. Frei, a member of the Council on Alcoholism and Chemical Dependence of the Finger Lakes, is specialized in not only things listed in his title; time management and organization skills are another specialty of his.

“I’ve been working at schools for over 25 years,” Frei said, “I’m not a therapist. I’m not going to diagnose you or prescribe you medicine. I’m here to help steer you in the right direction.”

Frei has an office in the guidance department and is here every academic day; except Wednesdays. He is very flexible in his scheduling; so if you’re interested in speaking with him, let him know. He’s more than happy to.

It’s natural to become a bit timid when presented with talking to others about your feelings. There are a few alternative coping methods.

You don’t always have to talk to a counselor or teacher. You can talk to close friends and family – they will help you! My personal favorite is exercise. Go take a walk or run, throw a few rocks; anything to get your heart rate up. It’s a proven method to relieve stress of all kinds.

Though it may be hard for you succumb to it, its recommended that you seek professional help– meaning a therapist or a doctor, if your stress level is seriously getting out of hand. Seeking help doesn’t mean you’re crazy. You will only be hurting yourself if you don’t.

Don’t let this happen to you or someone you care about. It’s completely avoidable! It’s easy to learn effective stress-coping skills through positive adult influences, Mrs. Loughlin or Mr. Frei, or great online resources such as kidshealth.org/teens.

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