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Relieving Stress

Edition #7, February 27th, 2021

Assalamu’alaikum, Friend! May peace be upon you.

My name is Summer Siddiqui. I am currently in 6th grade. I love writing murder mysteries and drawing anime.

People, especially adults, may not notice, but kids can get undeniably stressed. Research has shown that 1 out of 7 kids feel anxiety. After you turn 13, it becomes 1 out of 3. That is a lot of kids. I myself feel overwhelmed from time to time. It can be hard to balance work with other things.

Living up to expectations can also be a challenge!

Everyone has high standards for you, not to mention the standards you have for yourself, which can cause stress and anxiety. Do not worry if you cannot live up to them. As long as you try your hardest, you should be good.

On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear.”
–Surah Al-Mu'minun [23:62]

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala never gives us burdens we can not bear. There is a reason the things that happen the way they happen, and a reason that they happen to you happen. They may be hard and painful, but it's not the end of the world, and they may end up helping you in the future.

The question is, “How do we know when we are stressed?” Well, there are some small signs that can tell you. They may be subtle, but they are there, even if you don't know it.

Here are a few signs:

  1. Change In Appetite: This could include not drinking enough water, or eating more or less food than you usually would or should. Craving sugary foods could also be a sign of stress.

  2. Trouble Sleeping: You could be sleeping too much, too little, or not at all. You might take daytime worries with you to bed. Your brain will keep bringing them back up, making you worry about them and taking away golden sleeping time. If you feel like staying in bed all day, or find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, you could be experiencing signs of depression. If you feel like this is happening to you, you should probably go see a doctor and see what is happening. I have trouble sleeping and getting out of bed. Maybe I should take my own advice…

  3. Constant Head Or Stomach Aches: Sometimes, stress can trigger head or stomach aches. 20% of kids in the U.S. between ages 5-17 experience head aches. 15% experience tension headaches, while the other 5% experience migraines. These can be triggered by stress. I have a lot of head aches…

  4. Being Edgy Or Irritable: You might get annoyed or snap at people easily. When we are stressed, our brains go into “Survival Mode”. This can heighten negative emotions. This sounds like me. Weird.

  5. Finding Less Enjoyment In Fun Things: Experiencing less joy in things you used to take pleasure in can mean you have too much on your plate. According to Reader's Digest, "During high-stress situations, interactions between a stress hormone called adrenal glucocorticoid and serotonin receptors in the brain interfere with our ability to experience pleasure and remain motivated. Serotonin levels that are consistently off-balance produce the brain chemistry that leads to depression."

  6. Biting Your Lip: Biting your lip can become a habit to reduce stress and anxiety. This has been noted as a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is presented by the impulsive biting of the lips along with biting of the insides of the cheeks. I do this all the time.

  7. Odd Dreams: Having odd, vivid, or bad dreams may mean that your brain is subconsciously working through problems you had during your day. Robert S. Rosenberg, doctor of osteopathic medicine, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, explained why in a 2016 interview with Women's Health magazine. He said, "It's during REM sleep that we believe most emotional modification takes place," which means your brain might be managing negative or stressful emotions while you're just trying to get your zzz's. I've been having weird dreams lately. It must be a coincidence.

  8. Persistent Sweating: Sweating when we are stressed is not the same as sweating when we're hot or physically exerting ourselves. According to The Wall Street Journal, "Stress sweat is triggered by the same hormones [as sweat from being overheated], mainly adrenaline, that prompt us to react quickly when faced with a threatening situation."

  9. Jaw Or Tooth Pain: If you're having pain in your jaw or teeth, you may have some pretty extreme stress. Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, is something you may be doing whether you realize it or not — many of us do it in our sleep, which can lead to serious pain during waking hours. If you have it, you might want to go see a dentist to make sure it doesn't get worse.

  10. Becoming Less Social: It's normal for people to want alone time. But when it becomes a common part of your day, it may indicate that you are stressed. It's natural to want to be alone, but social withdrawal will usually have a negative effect on your life, which can make things worse all round. I lock myself in my room most of the day…

There are many ways you can reduce stress. You don't have to do anything big or fancy, or something that could stress you out more. You only have to set aside a few spare minutes a day.

These are some easy things you can do:

  1. Exercise: At first you might think "Exercise? Why do I have to do that?" Exercising, or doing any physical activity, releases endorphins, which triggers a happy effect in your body. You don’t have to do anything crazy like get a gym membership, or use a snazzy upscale machine. Some simple yoga stretches, or a walk around the block can help mitigate anxiety. From personal experience, I find this to be true.

  2. Meditate: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Just close your eyes and divert all your attention to your breathing. Feel how your body changes as you breath in and out. It's innate for your thoughts to wonder off. Just try to re-focus your concentration to your breathing when this happens. I feel like doing this really helps me relax and calm down. Did you know, salah is a form of meditation? Focusing on your prayers and your connection to Allah (swt) will help you deal with your stress and anxiety.

  3. Organize: Organizing a small part of something like your desk or closet can help diminish tension. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment and control of something.

  4. Talk To Someone About It: Talking to someone you trust, or with similar problems, can help alleviate stress. If you are feeling extremely stressed, you may want to talk to a doctor about it.

  5. Listen To Calming Sounds: Listen to something that makes you happy or calm. Experiment with different sounds (e.g. rain, nature), find something you like. And of course, the best of all, listen to the Qur'an.

“Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things).”
- Surah At-Taghabun [31:34]

We never know what will happen tomorrow. But remember, a little stress is not the end of the world. There are many ways in which you can calm yourself. In the end, we will see the light of day again…

Best regards,

Summer Siddiqui


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