Letter To My Middle School Self: How to Distinguish Good Stressors From Bad Stressors + Anxiety-reducing Strategies  


Pressure. We all know what it feels like. Pressure can be both good and bad. When there is pressure to complete a task, we may use that pressure as motivation. But, when pressure becomes too much for us to handle, it can make us feel insufficient.


We all face pressure on a daily basis. Pressure in school to perform well. Pressure in sports games to win. Pressure from our families to make certain decisions.


While most middle school girls may not recognize these everyday motives, I urge you to slow down in your daily lives and take a closer look. Try to recognize when pressure or anxiety has a positive influence on you and your performance, in whatever scenario you are in. Also, you must notice when pressure or anxiety hurts your performance.


This moment is critical. This is where we must pause, and diverge to a new solution. We want to limit negative stressors in our life, and I, myself have gone through trial and error trying to accomplish this.


Here are my tips and coping tactics for those anxious moments when I feel overwhelmed or affected by a negative stressor.


  1. Breathe. I know it sounds cliche, but if you are in that uncomfortable position. Try to take a moment to yourself. Maybe step outside and take a breather. I’ve found this to work very well when I feel this anxiety from my family. Sometimes just having time to yourself can be calming and refreshing. Think about what you can do to make yourself feel better when you enter back into that stressful situation.

  2. Find good company. This could be your dog, your friend, your classmate. They can be great listeners, if you feel the need to vent. Or, they could just make you feel good. If you have a hard time talking about your feelings, you can use this good company to distract yourself from the issue. I use the word ‘distract’ lightly; you should not try to avoid your problems, but sometimes there can be temporary and positive distractions that can help you regroup.

Write about it. Write! Write! Write! Grab a journal and just let your thoughts run along the paper. I have gone through three notebooks just for this purpose. I find that writing down my thoughts can be extremely cathartic. This journal is for you only. Your writing doesn’t have to be neat or well-structured. Just get out those thoughts and feelings. Another great thing about this strategy is that you can go back and reread your entries and reflect on them!