[MIND OVER MATTER] Ep. 1: Managing stress and anxiety

Annie Zhang: Almost 1 in 3 teens of ages ranging from 13-18 experience anxiety disorders and a survey done by the American Psychological Association reports that 31% of teens feel overwhelmed and 36% of teens report that they feel tired or fatigued both due to stress.

Annie Zhang: Hey! And welcome to our brand new series, “Mind Over Matter”, where we cover topics relating to mental health and well being, with guest speakers from the SPA student body as well as the faculty. I’m Annie Zhang, and today I’ll be covering managing stress and anxiety with sophomores Rowan Hofmann, Humza Murad, and Nora Shaughnessy as well as Mr. Bollinger Danielson from the SPA faculty.


Nora Shaughnessy: You know, I have an anxiety disorder, and many of us do. It’s very common and I don’t talk about it much because I didn’t think it was a huge deal.

Annie Zhang: That is Nora Shaughnessy, a current sophomore at SPA as well as a mental health advocate.

Nora Shaughnessy: When I got older, I started having panic attacks, and I had a difficult time controlling my breathing

Annie Zhang: Many of you may have been in similar situations, but there are many things you can do to help!

Nora Shaughnessy: As my anxiety would increase during school days, I would grab something like an eraser or a pencil and start fidgeting with it and hold it tightly. And this really helped me lose my tension because my body would just get so tired that I just stop feeling anxious as much. I would also just go on a walk or take some water when I needed to. I always felt as if my voice would get dry when I felt uncomfortable. So, drinking had a huge impact on me as it helps cool down the dryness of my voice.

Humza Murad: I guess the most important thing would be to take breaks. When you periodically take breaks while you’re working, you know, just like a ten minute break, it kind of helps your brain chill a little bit and kind of resets. It’s really helpful to go outside for a walk and do something you enjoy for a period of time. I promise a twenty minute break isn’t going to set you back that far. It’s okay to do that. It’s gonna help you be more productive in the next couple… you know, however long you’re gonna work. You’re gonna be more productive when you take a break.

Rowan Hofmann: Dude just like take a break man. Find your passion and when you don’t have to deal with stress, just go do that. Like almost associate or like, figure out skating or drive somewhere and get food, or play guitar. Just like, take a break man.

Mr. Bollinger-Danielson: I think generally, I believe people should sort out what their own main thing to get over stress or get through stress but my recommendation is movement. Preferably outdoors, I really think moving outdoors connects you to the earth that makes you feel better.

Annie Zhang: These are all great tips, spoken by Nora Shaughnessy, Humza Murad, Rowan Hofmann, and Mr. Bollinger-Danielson. However, sometimes things can be more severe. Everything is happening at once and you might not know what to do.

Nora Shaughnessy: Whenever I have a panic moment, I would do something active. I love being active. So that could be playing sports; for me, I love tennis which really helps my body relieve stress and anxiety. I believe everyone should have something active they can do when they feel scared or anxious instead of just sitting around all day on their phone. And because when you are active, it helps strengthen your mind and your body as well as meditating. Even though you’re sitting around, you’re still opening your body because you’re not on your phone in the dark; you’re listening to the world around you. I also think writing is a really good tool. It’s really effective to let your emotions out because you can write whatever you want to write about your feelings. It’s very difficult to tell someone how you feel so drawing or writing down your feelings can help a lot.

Annie Zhang: Although we have covered many positive habits you can try, there are also many negative ones you can try to avoid.

Nora Shaughnessy: I think it would have to be rushing. I think a lot of people rush whether it be a sport or doing your homework. I feel like we don’t realize the reality behind our stress levels, meaning that sometimes we’ll pretend or ignore what’s actually happening. We’re just ignoring reality and we need to accept the pain and just move on from it, whether that be a breakup. Or maybe you have a difficult time with change, maybe you’re going to a new school- anything you like that. We need to acknowledge it because if you hide that icky feeling, it’ll just come back to you and it sucks.

Humza Murad: Working for long periods of time- just like really going at it for a long time because that’s not good. Your work quality is going to decrease and so is your mental health. And also staying awake at night is not good either because that takes away from your sleep which is also going to impact your quality of life.

Rowan Hofmann: If you’re going to take the break and stuff, don’t do it for too long. You don’t want to delay. It just adds to more stress. If you can just deal with it, just do it. The worst kind of stress is when you’re doing something else but you have this overhanging idea of something’s coming.
Mr. Bollinger-Danielson: I think two things: One is other people who ratchet up your stress- you know, if you’re around catastrophizers who will only help you think of things terribly, I think that can rash it up. And Two, I think sometimes kind of interestingly, if you’re in your own mind about it and don’t release any of it, I think that’s a problem. So sharing that with other people who don’t ratch it up and help offload that can be helpful.

Annie Zhang: Once again, that was Nora Shaughnessy, Humza Murad, Rowan Hofmann, and Mr. Bollinger-Danielson speaking. Thank you for listening to Mind over Matter. Once again, I’m Annie Zhang and this has been a discussion about managing stress and anxiety. Tune into the next episode, The Psychology of Risk Taking, and adios!

Music Credits:

Once Again by Benjamin Tissot

Link: https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/track/once-again