Your guide to leading a happier life
“Stress” and “Pressure”– These two words are the most common adjectives used by people describing their life. The pressure and stress of getting a good college, or getting good grades are just some of the things teenagers experience, not to mention the peer pressure, too. And these are just some external factors! Internal factors such as unrealistic expectations, uncertainty and low self-esteem, created by lack of assertiveness and negative self-talk, can affect the body and mind drastically.
Stress is a perfectly normal reaction that “developed in our ancient ancestors as a way to protect them from predators and other threats.” according to the American Psychological Association. While today’s predators aren’t what our ancestors faced, they still exist and cause stress- a negative force that can have a serious impact on both our professional and personal lives.
So here I am, a teenager, giving you advice so as to how to de-stress and live a life that you enjoy till the very end. So let’s dive right in…
1. Delete all Social media apps
Now before you freak out and go back, hear me out.
Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Even without knowing, when you randomly browse Instagram or Facebook, seeing other people happy gives you the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) which can impact your self-esteem, trigger anxiety and fuel greater social media usage.
A little time away, a week or so, can do you so much good. You stop comparing yourself to others and get back out into the real world. That little step of deleting apps could lead to a bigger step of a happier life. And this is just for a short while to get your focus back into the real world and help reconnect with that which is important. For further knowledge and research read this.
Exercise is key for your mind and heart.
Of course it will be difficult at first, it will be a lot of work but, believe me, stick with it and soon it’ll be fun and you’ll start depending on it. Exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress.
Simple activities like playing football or basketball with your friends can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, the same “reward” chemical that follows winning on a slot machine, taking a bite of chocolate for example. The more you’re rewarded, the more time you want to spend on exercising, and thus it becomes your new addiction which would lead to burning calories along with stress.
Music has a deep effect on both the mind and the soul.
From upbeat tempos to fast and slow beats, music has everything for the heart, mind and soul. Researchers at Stanford University have said that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” Music is available to almost everyone and is one of the best stress reduction tools.
Music has a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, too. It slows the pulse and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the levels of stress hormones. Usually when we are stressed there is likelihood that most of us don’t understand the power of music and it feel like a waste of time but it just takes a small effort to begin with. So go on and put on some headphones- experience the world of music.
Who doesn’t like laughing… Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. It lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing- a feeling of immortality.
Of course, the best way to do this (in this pandemic situation) is to laugh your heart out with some iconic shows such as FRIENDS and The Office, or some of the more recent ones like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So come on and laugh like there’s no-one around.
I promise you, this trick never gets old and you can do it no matter what condition you are in.
5. Inspire yourself to find a creative outlet
Everyone wants a bit of creativity in their life… Maybe something like painting or creative writing… and it turns out tapping into that creative side of yours actually improves your overall health. With over 60,000 thoughts a day, the human mind can get pretty complicated and being creative can help you focus those thoughts and turn your thoughts away from stress as well as anxiety while releasing dopamine, a natural antidepressant.
And I know this is easier said than done… Many people don’t know what their creative side is. As always, there is a solution to this. There are some things you might enjoy doing such as reading stories or appreciating art and these are exactly the kind of things you should try out. It may not be necessary to showcase it but enjoy it and try to detach yourself from the world, even if it is just for a little bit of time.
And that brings us to the end of our ‘guide’… I do hope you found something useful from this.