With the high expectations that are set for students to excel in every area of their life comes stress— arguably one of the strongest emotions that teenagers experience on a day-to-day basis. Whether this feeling is rooted from demanding and watchful parents or the pressure of future college acceptances, students hold a large amount of unnecessary and heavy weight on their backs. Managing this invisible, yet very impactful weight ultimately causes mental and sometimes physical harm to many young girls and boys. These pressures encompass maintaining a great diet, flawless relationships, beautiful skin, straight As, and much more.
In complete honesty, there have been countless, repeating moments in my life in which I have inefficiently handled any sort of stress that is thrust upon me. If I have issues with friends or family, I tend to shut down and let the problem pass until a sense of normalcy is restored. Whenever my schoolwork becomes too difficult, I block out my friendships and focus on getting the grades that I need for college. In moments where classmates disrespectfully question marks on my skin or make comments about the condition of my hair, I tend to jokingly dismiss them, while internally becoming self-conscious of the person that I am.
Regardless of how I poorly handle these issues, there is one thing that I continue to try and teach myself: stress is not worth being unhappy. You must continue to live, however, do so naturally. Do not force yourself into straight As, for example, if it damages your well-being and sanity. Dismiss societal expectations and focus on you. Your feelings matter the most. I always try to remind myself that our futures are set in stone. We will end up where we need to be no matter what.
As I continue to try and teach myself this lesson, I encourage you all to do the same. Alleviating or completely letting go of stress will undoubtedly result in a more relaxed, healthier, and happier lifestyle.