Handling Stress

5 minute read

Stress.  Stress is  something we feel everyday and all deal with differently.  Some days it might be a lunch-rush at your part time job, or an overabundance of school assignments on top of your personal commitments.  How does one make time for hobbies and interests on top of prior obligations.

Sometimes your overwhelming workload is all mental, and it just takes a minute to create a plan.  If you feel yourself wasting time from social media,  it could add to your stress load.  Take time out of your day to reflect, and ease your tensions

Stress activates sensors in our brain that go through a process which releases adrenalin and cortisol.  This is a “natural response to the information being received by the body as potentially dangerous or problematic” as stated by Hector Garcia in Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.  When it is overused, it makes us feel pressured and decreases our life’s longevity.

Not only should we try and control our stress for our mental health, but also for our physical health.

Taking Precedence

As a Student with a very busy schedule, I understand the rush of anxiety after thinking about everything that needs to be done.  The stacks of assignments, work schedules, and extracurricular activities start to pile up and it feels overwhelming.  However, if I look at my workload in the whole scheme of things, and plan everything out using a series of lists and calendars then everything is not as profuse.


The best way to solve a complex problem is with a simple solution.  Sometimes this solution is just as simple as using an app on your phone, or a physical calendar.  Although I prefer a physical calendar, or chalkboard on my wall, there are many apps you can use to plan out due dates, and see your schedule days ahead.  You can add tasks for everyday, and rank them by priority.  Everyone has used a calendar before, but implementing it into your everyday life is a necessity.

If you are looking to go for a digital planner, the standard Apple or Google Calendar works well.  My favorite third-party app is Dawn because of its very minimal design.

Using Lists

The use of a list enables you to simply view all of your tasks.

Turn this list into a checklist, and now every time you get something done it feels like an accomplishment.  This checklist can be as detailed as you like, and it helps you visualize your tasks on hand.

In the book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Ed Catmull says that

“I tend to flood and freeze up if I’m feeling overwhelmed. When this happens, it’s usually because I feel like the world is crashing down and all is lost. One trick I’ve learned is to force myself to make a list of what’s actually wrong. Usually, soon into making the list, I find I can group most of the issues into two or three larger all-encompassing problems. So it’s really not all that bad. Having a finite list of problems is much better than having an illogical feeling that everything is wrong.”

Its important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  If you can solve the bigger problems, then the solutions for the minor discrepancies will naturally appear.  Understanding this concept is key to living a less stressful and more productive life.

Disconnect from the Digital World

You are doing your work and all of a sudden you get a text message from your little boo thang.  This is a distraction.  Other times, you look at a Tik Tok your friend sent you and now you’re down the rabbit hole.  The biggest addition to stress, is procrastination caused by digital distractions.  You have an assignment due at 11:59, and you sit down to finish it at 8:00.  All of a sudden you have been replying to the group chat for two hours and the due date is quickly arising.

It is okay to use social media, even a little obsessively.  It only becomes a problem after it interrupts your work schedule.  Adding to your stress.

Now how do we stay focused, and disconnected?

My favorite technique is the Pomodoro Timer.  Generally, you will work for 20 minutes with no distractions and reward yourself with a 5 minute break at the end.  However, I edit this method to a 40-60 minute work session with a 20 minute break. I find that it keeps me on track for longer, and provides a bigger reward with larger work margins.  During this period I turn off my phone, because I know once my timer is over I can deal with any business I need to in my social life.  The Pomodoro Timer is a great solution to staying focused, and getting more work done.

The ability to stay focused on your task will reduce your stress levels.  Not getting distracted by whatever is trending on Twitter will allow you to get tasks done quicker, and more efficiently.  You will make it through your workload quicker, and not stress over time constraints.


The simplest way to reduce stress is to do nothing.


When I am overwhelmed I sit back and do nothing but sit and ponder.  Sometimes I try to restrict my mind, and not even think thoughts.  Other times, I just let my mind wander off and think whatever it needs.  Taking deep breaths, I do this for about five minutes,  Afterwards, I feel calm, cool, and collected.

According to Ryan Holliday’s Stillness is the Key

Stillness is what aims the archer’s arrow. It inspires new ideas. It sharpens perspective and illuminates connections. It slows the ball down so that we might hit it. It generates a vision, helps us resist the passions of the mob, makes space for gratitude and wonder. Stillness allows us to persevere. To succeed. It is the key that unlocks the insights of genius, and allows us regular folks to understand them.”

Easing your brain from the stresses in your life will allow us to focus on our tasks at hand.  It will Inspire us to create new ideas because we are not distracted by our mental tensions.


Grasping the entirety of your workload, and planning ahead will increase your productivity significantly.  I think the skill of staying composed in stressful situations can  help you at all stages of your life.  Organize your priorities and plan ahead, to rationalize your workload.  Make sure you are getting through that workload efficiently to not get overwhelmed, and stray away  from distractions.   Finally, reflect on yourself, and try to meditate to stay calm.  Stay distressed and increase your productivity to its best.

I hope that you guys can find at least one technique to implement into your life, or at least an idea or skill you can expand upon.