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Johnathan Nagrant

Being a SuperSib isn’t easy! On top of things you’re experiencing at home, you’re still a normal teenager; you have grades, a social life and your future to think about!  All that stress can be tricky to manage, but understanding stress will make it easier to deal with.

So, what is stress?  Stress is the physical and emotional response your body has to any “big deal” experience.  Those experiences are known as stressors. Stressors can be pretty much anything—even stuff that makes you happy!  “Good” stressors cause “good” stress (aka eustress) and “bad” stressors cause “bad” stress (aka distress).  When you’ve got a lot going on in your life, your body can start to interpret eustress as being distress.  And that’s when you start to feel STRESSED OUT.  It’s like when your mom calls you from the other room… and uses your full name, right?  You know that SOMETHING’S up and usually, your body immediately prepares for the worst!  When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that can make you feel different physical and mental symptoms.

Stress can cause:

  • Fatigue Anxious or “on edge” feelings
  • Sad for “no reason”
  • Forgetfulness
  • Headaches
  • Backaches 
  • Stomach upset 
  • Breakouts

Are any of these sound familiar?  To top it off, the symptoms you experience when you’re stressed out can cause even MORE stress!  Ugh! The good news?  Stress CAN be relieved in healthy ways.

3 Tips to Control Your Stress

Get your rest!  Sometimes a good night’s sleep can make a world of difference to help things seem much better in the morning.  After 8 hours of rest, your body is a lot more prepared to handle all the surprises life throws at you.  Adequate sleep won’t take away all of your troubles, but it can help you manage them better!

Write it Down!  Journaling is a great way of figuring out what exactly is causing your stress and the SuperSibs journal “Hey, What About Me?” (which comes in the Comfort and Care mailings) has thought prompters to help you get started.  Or just use an empty notebook.  That’ll work, too!

Talk it Out!  Talking about your problems with someone you trust is an important way to reduce your stress.  It might not always feel like it’s easy or possible…your parents are super busy, your friends don’t get it and no one would understand anyway, right?  WRONG.  Your parents (as distracted as they may be) still love you, want to support you and want to know what’s going on in your life.  Even if your friends haven’t been on this same journey, open up and let them know how you’re feeling.  They might surprise you with what they CAN relate to.  Or talk to an adult that you trust—an older sibling or relative, your guidance counselor or a teacher you’re close to—and tell them what’s up.  Remember, there are terrific therapists that can help guide you through this difficult time, too. Ask the hospital social worker or a school counselor for recommendations to help you get the support you need… and deserve!