Advice

Ask Ala: How to Manage Stress

By Ala Paruch

Volume 1 Issue 6

March 18, 2021

Ask Ala: How to Manage Stress

Image provided by The New York Times

Q. Hi Ala!

This year has been so crazy, and it just seems to be getting worse. How do I manage stress?


A. Hello and thank you for asking!

This is such an important question to ask, especially now, when everyone is put under even more pressure than during any other school year.


Stress can come from many different sources. Getting to know the source can be a good first step in starting to manage the pressure life brings upon us. Even though that sounds easy, the process can become quite complex because stress can come from a mix of categories like personal, family, social, academic, and economic, though now we have been presented with an addition to the list - a global pandemic (Darity 1).  We can also be affected by the “unwanted, random, uncontrollable, and close together in time” type of events (Darity 1). Trying to keep a track of when your emotion changes occur and analyzing the events beforehand can help pinpoint the roots of the stress. Some people practice recording their day as it passes. Writing can help you unravel your thought patterns and recognize what triggers you. It’s important to take this process little by little, to have patience, because this is going to make it possible to work on your problems later on. As I mentioned before, this is a rather complex process, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You can share your problems with a professional and get yourself on the right path to figuring things out and learning concrete methods for dealing with all of the ways stress and anxiety affects you.


It is important to know what influences you and address the source directly if possible.


It is hard to make up scenarios that would answer everyone’s questions due to the intricate nature of stress, however I will try to provide you with as many resources as possible. In this article, Six surprising sources of stress -- and how to do away with them, Erinn Bucklan presents the readers with six sources of stress (such as your surroundings, relations with others, social media, or your attitude) and simple ways to go about dealing with them healthily. Maintaining “[s]trong healthy relationships with supportive friends and family are beneficial, and support groups and social activities, such as clubs … [and] [v]olunteering also provides benefits'' to your self-worth and self-confidence and gives you the validation many seek (Mental Health 2). Writers also recommend to cope with stress by exercising, enjoying nature, writing in a journal, and participating in other activities” (Mental health 2) They deem “[s]kills such as meditation, prayer, and relaxation exercises are also useful in dissolving stress” (Mental Health 2). Washington Post journalist Elizabeth Chang even suggests watching cute animal videos to calm down and feel happy. That definitely works or me! Her uncomplicated way of communicating coping ideas are perfect for high school students and adults during these difficult times.


If you are ever dealing with something you can’t handle on your own, please reach out to others like your family, your friends, your guidance counselor or teachers, or even a hotline. You can always visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to learn more about mental health. Additionally, don’t be afraid to call 211 or visit 211.org to get help. You are important, and there always is someone to help you, so you must reach out for such help. You made a great choice reaching out to me, and I appreciate your trust. What you did may just help one of our readers recognize ways to manage stress or ask for help themselves. Everyone could use some help today during this extra-stressful year!


Works Cited

"Life Events, Stress." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, edited by William A. Darity, Jr., 2nd ed., vol. 4, Macmillan Reference USA, 2008, pp. 443-444. 

Gale In Context: High School, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3045301354/SUIC?u=nysl_li_vsnhs&sid=SUIC&xid=c5a14ce2. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.


"Six surprising sources of stress -- and how to do away with them." Washingtonpost.com, 25 Feb. 2015. Gale In Context: High School, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A403143888/SUIC?u=nysl_li_vsnhs&sid=SUIC&xid=5f9fc7da. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.


"Mental Health." Gale In Context Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Gale In Context: High School, link.gale.com/apps/doc/ULXUHX033802376/SUIC?u=nysl_li_vsnhs&sid=SUIC&xid=a7062c8e. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.


"Feeling election anxiety? These 12 articles about coping with covid stress may help." Washingtonpost.com, 4 Nov. 2020. Gale In Context: High School, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A640616471/SUIC?u=nysl_li_vsnhs&sid=SUIC&xid=680f56b4. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.


Nami Website:

https://www.nami.org/Home