It’s safe to say that most students, and humans in general, feel some degree of stress and anxiety in their lives. The list of reasons could go on forever. As it pertains to students, the stresses of succeeding in classes and finding the right path to take can be enough to put them into a depressed state.
However, school is rarely the only thing we have going on in our lives. Some of us have family problems, some deal with sickness which can be physical or mental and others are kept up at night thinking about financial issues. This only scratches the surface of the potential causes of stress in our lives.
Then there’s the societal pressure. Whether it be through social media, television or a bus passing by, we are constantly being bombarded with advertisements and online content that tells us how we should live and how we should look and feel. We see the lives of influencers on instagram and other media, teaching us that we should all be models, or at least wealthy enough to be taking photos on some tropical island. It truly is never-ending.
Anxiety can be a big issue for some as well. Anxiety can come out of the stresses of everyday life, but it can also be produced internally. Some of us feel anxiety simply from the idea that we will be interacting with other humans at some point in our day.
So how do we deal with this stress and anxiety? What’s the right way to alleviate these feelings and be at peace? If you’re asking me, there is no right way, and there is no wrong way.
There are many ways people deal with their uneasy feelings. Some go down the self-care route, lighting a few candles, drawing a bath, meditating and trying to create their own peace. On the other end of the spectrum, some turn to substances, indulging in drugs and alcohol until the problems start drifting away, being replaced with a blissful numbness. And for some, none of these things work, the weight of life becomes too heavy to bear and they opt to shut down and shut themselves off from the world.
It may seem obvious from what I just laid out that some of these options are better than others, or at least healthier. Well, that may be true, but I don’t think that makes the other options wrong.
All of us feel things differently. What seems trivial to one may be world-ending for another. Not everyone has the innate ability to brush off and move past the countless ways that life can break a person down.
So where’s the good in judging others for the way they choose to handle stress? Whatever helps someone get through a hard day is a good thing in my opinion.
Maybe your friend got fired, rejected by a potential lover or failed a crucial test and you haven’t heard from them since. I’m not saying not to reach out to them and show your support, but don’t take it personally if they decide not return your message. Sometimes we need a break from it all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate supportive friends.
Maybe a friend has been drinking at night or partaking in more serious drugs trying to unwind. This doesn’t make them weak or a bad person, it’s as valid as meditating. This is a great opportunity to offer them your help, not to shame them. Sometimes all we need is to know we aren’t in this alone, that there are options for help that don’t involve self-medication.
The point is, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to stress reduction. We all live differently, feel differently and have different methods of staying sane. And there is nothing wrong with that.