Hey Northwest students!!!
Any 7th - 12th grade students that come to me and tell me something on the website will have their name put in a drawing for a prize.
Most people who play a sport do it to have fun with others who share the same interest. But it's not always fun and games. There can be plenty of pressure in high school sports. Sometimes pressure comes from the feeling that a parent or coach expects you to always win.
But it can come from inside, too: Some players are just really hard on themselves. And specific situations can add pressure: Maybe there's a recruiter from your No. 1 college scouting you on the sidelines.
Whatever the cause, the pressure to win can sometimes stress you to the point where you just don't know how to have fun anymore.
How Can Stress Affect Sports Performance?It's natural to feel some stress before a big game or when facing a tough opponent. That positive pressure can prepare us to do our best. Stress can help us rise to a challenge and meet it with alertness, focus, and strength.
When the challenge is over, the stress lets up. We can relax and recharge. Then we're ready for the next challenge. But at times, there are more demands and pressures than we can handle. Stress can pile up if the stressful situation doesn't have a specific end point.
Ongoing stress can exhaust our energy and drive. And, it can interfere with doing our best.
Feeling like there are too many pressures and demands on you? Losing sleep worrying about tests and schoolwork? Eating on the run because your schedule is just too busy?
You're not alone. Everyone feels stressed out at times — adults, teens, and even kids. But you can avoid getting too stressed out by handling everyday pressures and problems, staying calm, asking for help when you need it, and making time to relax.
What Is Stress?Stress is a response to pressure or threat. Under stress we may feel tense, nervous, or on edge. The stress response is physical, too. Stress triggers a surge of a hormone called adrenaline that temporarily affects the nervous system. As a result, when you're nervous or stressed you might feel your heartbeat or breathing get faster, your palms get sweaty, or your knees get shaky.
The stress response is also called the fight-or-flight-response. It's an automatic response that prepares us to deal with danger.
Positive thoughts can reduce stress. What inspirational words help you feel better?
Advice from familyInspirational quotesSong lyricsWords from a prayerTelling myself everything will be OK
But a situation doesn't have to be physically dangerous to activate the stress response. Everyday pressures can activate it, too. For example, you might feel stress before taking a test or a giving class presentation, facing a tough opponent in a sport, or going on stage for a performance.
Even in these situations (which are hardly life-or-death), the stress response activates to help you perform well under pressure. It can help you rise to a challenge and meet it with alertness, focus, and strength. Facing these challenges — rather than backing away from them — is a part of learning and growing.
When the challenge is over, the stress response lets up. You can relax and recharge, and be ready for a new challenge.
When Stress Doesn't Ease UpStress doesn't always happen in response to things that are immediate and over with quickly. Ongoing or long-term events, like coping with a divorce or moving to a new neighborhood or school, can cause stress, too.
Long-term stressful situations can produce a lasting, low-level stress that can leave a person feeling tired or overwhelmed. Finding ways to cope with the difficult situation can prevent this from happening, and ease stress that's been lasting. Sometimes, people need help to deal with difficult situations that lead to intense or lasting stress.
Keep Stress Under ControlHere are some things that can help keep stress under control:
- Take a stand against overscheduling. If you're feeling stretched, consider cutting out an activity or two, choosing just the ones that are most important to you.
- Be realistic. Don't try to be perfect — no one is. Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself. If you need help with something like schoolwork or dealing with a loss, ask for it.
- Get a good night's sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. Because the biological "sleep clock" shifts during adolescence, many teens prefer staying up a little later at night and sleeping a little later in the morning. But if you stay up late and still need to get up early for school, you may not get all the hours of sleep you need.
- Learn to relax. The body's natural antidote to stress is called the relaxation response. It's the opposite of stress, and is a feeling of well-being and calm. You can activate the relaxation response simply by relaxing. Learn and practice easy breathing exercises, then use them when you're caught up in stressful situations.