One of our Young Authors Contest winners, high school student Lea Pereira shares her thoughts on how stress is affecting young people today and what we can do to fix the problem.

As students, we are expected to excel academically while having a social life, engaging in sports and participating in extracurricular activities. Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed can easily cloud the drive and passion we previously possessed for our sports and activities. When all of these elements overlap, however, we are rarely taught how to deal with all of these obligations. This article will help teach you how to cope with the accumulation of events stacked before you.

Before considering any coping methods, we must first learn how to reduce the pressure students create for themselves. It can be most helpful to create a clear goal first. For example, if your end goal is to be a performer for a professional dance team, perhaps focusing on perfecting your dance skills would be a better way to start. If you have hopes of becoming an author, doing your very best with your English homework will help you. Creating a realistic path to achieving your goals will reduce pressure. You should try to focus on one thing at a time, allowing your brain to prioritize.

Even if you focus all of your efforts into one element, other elements do not vanish from your life. If you focus on dance, you must still do your schoolwork. This creates unavoidable stress for many students. Again, it’s time to prioritize.

Putting all of your tasks on paper, using a planner or agenda, would be a valuable method for students who are visual. Planners come in a multitude of formats, so select a format you feel would best suit your needs. Having all of your tasks written out before you will help eliminate mental clutter, leaving you one step closer to a stress-free mindset.

If you are someone who likes organizing your time, this next method is for you! Create a schedule with everything you are obliged to do and organizing your time. For instance, you have soccer practice on Tuesdays, schedule time for your schoolwork on another day. If you have a predetermined schedule to follow, you will feel less pressure to complete your tasks and will feel reassured that all will be done.

Lastly, spend time enjoying your sports and tasks. Converting stress into excitement may not be as difficult as you think. Perhaps this is something you haven't given much thought to. Instead of being anxious that you have both a project and a test on the same day as your skating exam, be excited for them! Use study methods that are enjoyable such as working with a friend or making sketches that will help you remember the information. After conquering your school tasks with more confidence, head out to the arena, ready to land that double axel!