Life can be pretty stressful at times. Assignments, deadlines, tests, siblings and even parents can cause students anxiety, stress and depression. None of this is intentional, but it happens anyway. Three simple activities can prevent or relieve these conditions.
First is exercise. Don’t roll your eyes. All experts agree, adding more movement to your day can help you relax, feel better and improve your grades. Stressed out students make lousy learners. Do the following and watch your stress level go down and your grades go up.
1. You already walk between classes. This adds up to 25 minutes each day. If you don’t walk to school, have your parents drop you off a ten minute walk from school. Now you’re up to 35 minutes of walking five days each week. If you ride the bus, start walking to the bus stop ten minutes earlier than normal. Walk back and forth between there and home until you’re at the stop at your regular time.
2. Sign up for a sport. This can be at school or with the parks program where you live. It doesn’t matter. Find something you enjoy, which will not take hours of practice each day. If you aren’t into sports, your school or parks program may offer dance. Either will relieve stress and look good on college applications.
3. Remember Jumping Jacks and Jump Rope? They’re easy, simple and you don’t have to go to a gym to do them. They increase your heart rate, build stamina and bone density (you’ll be grateful later in life) and relieve stress. Start small, do five daily. After a week, make it ten. The third week, up the number of Jumping Jacks to twenty. That’s enough. For Jump Rope, also start small. Just jump for three minutes daily the first week, five the next, then ten. You don’t need to do more than ten minutes daily. If you have a medical condition, please check with your doctor before doing this or any new exercise.
Second is Meditation. Lots of experts and organizations preach meditating. They explain the health benefits, which are real, but the best thing about meditation is it teaches you how to relax. You don’t have to sit cross legged and chant. Just find a comfortable sitting position somewhere quiet. Sit relaxed and quiet and concentrate on your breathing. If you find that hard to do, repeat something simple either out loud or silently. Try “I am”. It’s easy. Do this each morning and each afternoon or evening for about five minutes. Once you get the hang of it, increase the time to ten minutes each session. You’ll find it pretty simple to slip into this relaxed state when you’re in a stressful situation, like just before a big test.
The third activity that will help you relax, decompress and avoid or relieve stress is the hardest one. It isn’t tough or complicated, but it sure is hard to convince students to do it. You probably need to get more sleep. Unless you’re getting about 9 ½ to 10 hours of sleep each night, you’re making life difficult for yourself. You’ll feel better. Your stress level will drop and your grades will increase. Figure out what time you need to get up to get ready for school and eat breakfast, then count backwards nine hours. If you’re already going to sleep then, move it back one more hour.
If you don’t believe me and the thousands of doctors who say these activities will reduce or eliminate stress, try them for a month and prove us wrong.
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