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This Month’s Letter

Dear KRS,
I would just like to know how I can get rid of the stress I go through everyday. First, I have trouble getting to school on time and that causes me stress. At school, I stress over paying attention and learning. When I get back home, I have to do tons of homework and practice drums for about an hour (my drum teacher says I have to). I also have this ex-girlfriend that I remain very good friends with but she keeps breaking my heart, although I know it’s not intentional. So I stress over her too. Finally, when I’m ready to sleep, I stress about what I should wear tomorrow! What can I do!?
Stressed Teen

Dear Stressed Teen,
It seems you are in “the habit of stress.” This is actually quite common and fortunately, it is something that can be reversed. There are some behavioral changes I would suggest:

1) Getting to school on time. Simple solution: allow yourself more time by getting up earlier, if necessary. Decide on the time you need to leave the house to get there on time – then vow to get out the door at exactly that time. You can set an egg timer to help you with this in the beginning (have the egg timer go off 10 minutes before you should leave the house).

2) Paying attention at school. Worry less about it and try to relax into hearing something of interest to you. I always suggest that, if the teacher doesn’t weave that information into practical usage in your life, you can use your own imagination to think how this information might prove worthwhile at some point. It will then “stick” in your memory better than stressing over memorizing lists of unrelated facts or statistics.

3) Drums – if practicing them brings you stress, consider quitting for now. That is something that should be pleasurable to you, not stressful.

4) Ex-girlfriend – whether she intends it or not, if she is making you feel bad, consider making other positive friends. Good friends should not, by definition, be stress producing.

5) What to wear. Lay out your clothes the night before. This eliminates the time and worry it takes when you’re under pressure to get out the door in time.

Finally, when you catch yourself starting to worry about something, recognize the pattern and say “I don’t need to continue this stress cycle. I release the need to cause myself stress. I deserve peace and happiness.”

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