Christine “ECKO” Ho, Staff Writer
There are many helpful and healthy ways to prevent stress that lead to a better lifestyle and a more peaceful atmosphere. However, it is hard to avoid stress altogether. Also, not all stress is bad, since it helps certain people perform under pressure and lights a fire under their tail, so to speak. But once you are stressed, how do you know that you are stressed? And how do you keep that level of stress from going out of control?Stress can affect your daily life drastically, and can cause physical symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, aches, chest pains, etc. To recognize stress, you need to monitor your body’s reactions to your situation. Your heart rate and blood pressure should accelerate and rise, your muscles may tighten, your breath comes faster, and your senses become heightened. Stress tends to narrow your focus on what is upsetting you. The “fight-or-flee” response is a huge indicator of stress. Once you start feeling like you must fight or flee, you are stressed. Stress indicators include memory problems, an inability to focus, anxiety, agitation, depression, and constant worrying. Behavioral problems from stress are also a common occurrence, such as nail biting, or if you know me personally, finger-biting.Once you find yourself going out of control with stress, there are many factors to help keep your balance. Your friends and family, your attitude and outlook, and knowledge and preparation are just a few. Turning to your friends and family during times of stress should be natural, and should also release a certain amount of tension. Your own attitude and outlook go a long way helping you deal with stress. If you expect the negative, your own body expects it for you. Knowledge and preparation also help in situations that you can plan in advance. If you know a big project is coming up in school, plan ahead. Do not push it off so that it will overwhelm you.Finally, just relax. Take a deep breath. Examine all the good in your life, and why you should not be stressed. Stay in control, know that you can handle whatever is thrown your way, and cruise on. If you like stress and it keeps you on your toes, always know your own levels and your own limits. How much stress can you handle? The answer is always different, since no two people are the same, but understanding yourself goes a long way to helping prevent any health and mental problems.

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