Chilling off the Stress

DHS's New Chill Zone

By Jose Corte-Real - 05/09
NEIRAD enilno edition

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Life at Darien High School is filled with lots of stress.  There are the long nights of homework to multi-hour sports practices and the constant pressure to succeed. Each person has his or her own way of dealing with it. Many cope through exercise, a Quake sesh, eating or anything that stimulates the body instead of going with a more relaxing approach.

“Taking a deep breath is sometimes a difficult thing to do, and yet it holds the power to help us through those stressful moments."   Elements Yoga program director Rebekah Jacobs said. It may seem extremely simple, and it is, but it is a way that is overlooked by most people.

Dr. Henri Roca recently came to Darien High School  to talk to the Parent DPN monthly meeting about what stresses adolescents and how they deal with it. Dr Roca pointed out that aerobic and invigorating physical activities are not always the best way to combat stress. The power of pure relaxation is often discounted. 

School, social life and athletics are the leading causes of teen stress.  Stress can be unhealthy.  Numerous points in the immune system are affected. Even though they may not worry about it now, stress puts forward aging. It is common knowledge that one would not want to look 50 at the age of 40.

Stress can weaken the immune system by making you a lot more susceptible to all kind of illnesses by raising the Cortisol levels in the body (Cortisol controls the strength of disease fighting in the immune system). Sleep deprivation is one of the worst things one can do to the body. It is often an unavoidable link since stressed people have trouble getting enough sleep.

The newly opened “Chill Zone” provides a place to release stress. The comfy leather couches are great to sink into and just relax or hang out with friends. But to make this relaxation zone better maybe the school could add green plants and student art to give the room a more relaxed comfortable feel. The lack of décor does not send out a relaxed vibe.

Yoga is also another option to fight stress.  It is one of the most beneficial things anyone could do to deal with added pressure. The main point is to release oneself from any outside stressors and to just dig deep inside and relax. “Take a deep breath, pause, breathe, and soften. The breath helps you see your truest self more clearly and allows you to open to your greatest potential.  It connects you to something bigger than yourself.” Jacobs said.  Elements Yoga is located at 354 Heights Road next to Roxy Video. They offer a co-ed class each Thursdays at 2:45pm open to DHS students. 

Creating your own “chill zone” at home can also be very beneficial. A number of people have them already, and it is quite easy to make. “Well, I do have a chill zone: my room,” junior Sarah Nielsen said. “It's my attic and I have a bunch of pictures cut out from magazines, some of my photography from last year and artwork. I also have (embarrassingly) inspirational quotes around and incense. It's chill and I just listen to music,” Nielsen said.

You can put anything in your zone. Make it original with cool things such as plants, art, pictures and some relaxing music to bring down the energy level. The point is to just plain chill. Filling every minute with activities does not give the body a chance to slow down and refuel for another day. Sometimes a person can do more by doing less.