Relieving Stress


Kaydence Minnie

Some teens become overloaded with stress. When this happens, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, anger or aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills like using drugs or alcohol. When we think a situation is difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response results in faster heart and breathing, increased blood to different parts of the body, cold or clammy hands, and feet, upset stomach or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as you decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in your mind and body to help you relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

Here are some ways to help decrease stress: 

  • Exercise and eat regularly.
  • Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
  • Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
  • Develop assertiveness training skills.
  • Learn practical coping skills. 
  • Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts – with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. 
  • Take a break from stressful situations.