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A Changed Message: Embracing Stress for Growth

Issue 31

In partnership with mentalhealthliteracy.org

Have you ever said, “That stresses me out” or “That makes me so anxious”? We often mix up stress and anxiety, but it’s important to know that feeling stressed is a normal part of life. It helps us grow and learn new things.

What is Stress?

Stress happens when we face challenges, like a big test at school or juggling many activities. Our bodies react with signs like a fast-beating heart, feeling tense, or having trouble sleeping. This is our body’s way of preparing us to handle these challenges.

Understanding Stress Better

Think of stress like a signal. It’s like our body saying, “Hey, there’s something here we need to deal with!” When we face our challenges, even if they’re tough, we learn and get better at handling them for next time.

Two Ways to Look at Stress

  • Path A might be thinking, “I’m so stressed out. I can’t handle this.”
  • Path B is more like, “This is hard, but my body is getting ready to help me through it.”

Choosing Path B helps us in the long run. It’s not always easy, but with practice we get better at facing our challenges. Avoiding things that stress us out might feel good at first, but it’s better to face them. This way, we learn how to handle them better in the future.

Stress Can Be a Good Thing

Yes, stress can help us! It can motivate us to study for that big test or to handle the long lines at work. By taking a 3-step approach we can handle our stress proactively.

What are the 3-steps?

  1. Reframing our thoughts about stress as useful for skill-building
  2. Using a calming strategy (if needed)
  3. Making a plan to face the stressor (which may include enlisting support)

Tips for Managing Stress

  • Talk to someone: Sharing your worries with friends, family, or a teacher can make a big difference.
  • Breathe deeply: Try breathing in slowly, holding it for a few seconds, and then breathing out slowly. This can help calm you down.
  • Stay active: Playing a sport, dancing, or just going for a walk can help reduce stress.
  • Mindfulness: Take a moment to notice the world around you. What do you see, hear, or feel? This can help you focus on the present and worry less about stress.

Learn More and Practice

The more we understand stress, the better we can manage it. For more tips and information, visit mentalhealthliteracy.org. Remember, feeling stressed is normal, and you’re not alone. With each challenge, you’re getting stronger!

Journey Team
Journey Team
The Journey Team is made up of writers, gatherers, creators and people with a passion to make recovery from addiction visible.

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