Stress and How to Deal With It

Stress and How to Deal With It

Isabelle Atha

Whether you’re behind on a big school project, preparing for an important job interview, playing a crucial football game, or performing at a recital, one aspect stays constant: that feeling we all know and love—stress. Students and teachers alike struggle with it. According to an article from Touro University Worldwide, chronic stress can have many negative effects on the body and brain, such as high blood pressure, decreased brain function, and irrational thought patterns. Although I will not be able to alleviate all of your stress (even though I wish I could), I can give you suggestions on how to better manage it.


1. Deep breathing

I know. You’ve probably heard this a million times over. However, maintaining a certain breathing pattern called “box breathing” can have calming effects on the brain. To use this method, breathe in through your nose slowly for 8 seconds, hold for 8 seconds, and breathe out through through your mouth slowly for 8 seconds. There are other variations on this as well, like breathing in deeply through your nose, and releasing your breath loudly through your mouth.


Image courtesy of Alexnld

2. Pet something soft

According to a journal from the US National Library of Medicine, “‘Smooth’ stimuli elicit a lethargic feeling” in the body. This means that smooth textures create tranquil feelings. So, feeling soft objects such as a blanket, a shirt, or a pet’s fur is a great way to cool down in trying times.


3. Make a to-do list

Stress can sometimes be caused by the fact that a person has no idea what tasks they need to get accomplished within a certain time. Writing out a to-do list can be extremely helpful because it allows you to see exactly what you need to finish instead of thinking about everything at once. You can also use this list to prioritize your tasks. There are many apps for this purpose, or you could use a planner.


4. Listen to your favorite music

This is a great way to distract yourself from whatever may be causing the stress in your life. You can get lost in your favorite melodies, and just focus on something else besides the thing that is stressing you out.


Courtesy of Angie Jones Tech

5. Take a nap or rest

Sleep heals all wounds. Not really. Sleep does, however, help us relax. Taking a short nap can calm you down after a stress-induced mental breakdown. If, however, you are physically unable to nap, just lay down on a couch or bed for a little  bit. Speaking from personal mistakes, make sure you set an alarm for when you want to get back to your task at hand!


6. Doodle

You don’t have to create a masterpiece. Even scribbling helps vent a little frustration. You can draw whatever you want, and put your feelings on paper.


Image Courtesy of Hurriyet Daily News

7. Do yoga or stretch

Both yoga and stretching can be very relaxing. According to another journal  from the US National Library of Medicine, “Yoga and exercise have beneficial effects on mood and anxiety”.



8. Exercise

You could walk outside, run on a treadmill, go to a gym, or do whatever is comfortable for you. Doing any form of exercise is a fantastic way to improve your mood, and it can help you become more focused.


9. Take a bath or shower

Both of these are wonderful ways to unwind. Putting essential oils such as eucalyptus, lavender, and orange are also great approaches to enhance focus and calm yourself. If you do not own any essential oils, they can be purchased relatively cheaply on Amazon or at Bed Bath and Beyond.


10. Avoid caffeine

While caffeine is a student’s best friend, but it is absolutely terrible when someone is in a state of anxiety. Caffeine is a stimulant, and while it will give you more energy, it will also increase your levels of stress.



A week ago, the Lightning Letter conducted a survey on how some of Legacy students deal with stress. Here are some of your peers’ responses:


I take deep breaths and relax for a bit maybe by reading a book.” -Jordan Brotamonte, freshman

Talk to some friends or play video games. Or maybe just take a nap.” Logan Kressin, freshman

I talk with my brother.” Annika Haugan, freshman

Cry and watch a show like Friends or Brickleberry.” -Hailey Higney, freshman

“Listen to music and retract from society,” -Phoebe Wennik, sophomore

“I usually just try to distract myself from whatever is stressing me out. Then after I calm down, I go back to it and try approaching it in a different way. I also find something physical to do so that I can use the energy I get from nerves to something positive.” -Julianna Carlson, sophomore

“Sleep/Be alone” -Anonymous, sophomore

“Talk to friends” -Faith Gutierrez, sophomore

“I find ways to make myself laugh.” -Cierra Saucedo, junior

“I play the piano.” -Annabelle Posso, junior

“I take time off between projects and work, and deal with the biggest problems first.” -Anonymous, junior

“Sometimes cry. Eat some food, hang with friends, and to avoid stress, I get all assignments I need done and taken care of and don’t procrastinate.” -Bryce Baca, junior

“Take a break and understand the importance of different things. Not everything is worth stressing about.” -Mason Milligan, senior

“I tell myself not to worry about things, and then I just do my homework and projects. It’s all a mental game. If you can convince yourself not to be stressed, then life becomes easy enough to do your homework without stressing about it as much.” -Jason Aidukaitis, senior

“I deal with stress by taking a break and do something enjoyable.” -Andrew Han, senior