1) Looking to Religious Faith
Some teens will tell you that the best stress relief comes through religion and prayer. Some teens, such as fifteen-year-old Cassie, grew up in a religious home. “Religion has always been a part of my life,” Cassie says. “I won’t say that I have no stress, but I think that having faith sometimes helps. Getting ready for religious holidays can be really stressful, but you do get a secure feeling when you have all of those family traditions.”
Surprisingly, many adults are discovering religion for the first time, either because there was no religion in the home or because they were not paying attention. “I started doing drugs when I was only thirteen,” says Randy, who is now twenty-three. “I think it was a response to stress. I was as low as you could get and still be breathing. My parents finally got me into a rehab program. That’s when I learned that you don’t have to carry the weight of the world all by yourself; there is a higher power, if you want to call it that, who can help. I’m not a very religious person, but I think religion has helped relieve a lot of my stress.”
2) Make Decisions Yourself
In order to avoid the stress that comes from peer pressure, you need to think for yourself. Decide if a situation is right for you without judging others. Your self-esteem will be boosted when you know that you can make your own decisions.
“Some of my friends were putting a lot of pressure on me to do drugs with them,” says sixteen-year-old teenager. “It was causing me a lot of stress, until I decided that drugs just did not fit into my plans for the future. I made a decision, and I feel good about it. The stress is gone, at least in that part of my life.”
Making your own decisions is an important step in the maturation process. As you learn to evaluate situations and to react according to how you feel is best, you are discovering how to rely on yourself. You are learning to develop an inner strength that will be with you for the rest of your life. You will learn how to live with both good and bad decisions, and this experience will help you make better choices in the future.
3) Talking to Yourself
Talking to yourself helps to relieve stress by clarifying your problems in your own mind; helping you establish goals, set priorities, and get organized; and creating a positive attitude. Often you can take charge of your problems and your life and work to resolve your own issues. Taking charge of your life also means taking responsibility for your own emotions. You do have a choice. You can bring your emotions under control.
Talking to yourself is good, but you are not the only person you need to talk to. Teens often feel that they have to keep to themselves, but it is important to talk and to share with others: family members, friends, or counselors and other professionals.
Talk to yourself and others, take time to relax, and find the positive side of things. By keeping in touch with how you feel, you can give your mind what it needs to cope with a stressful situation.