Planning for your future, applying for university and getting career ready can be stressful.
According to a recent survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, 6 out of 10 young people in the UK have felt overwhelmed with anxiety at the pressure to succeed.
Add the pandemic into the mix and it’s no wonder that teens across the world are feeling unable to cope.
Scroll down to find out the winner of My Peaceful Place: InvestIN's Young Photographer Competition!
Top Tips for Coping With Stress
Everyone experiences stress sometimes.
That’s why it’s vital to practise healthy coping mechanisms, so that when stress does occur you know how to handle it.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and guided imagery are useful stress management tools. Research shows that the visualisation of a tranquil place or image can help lessen stress, anxiety and fear by sending a message to the emotional control centre of the brain. Apps like Calm, Headspace, Balance and Insight Timer have loads of free exercises you can try.
- Communication is key to managing stress. Talk to the people you trust about how you’re feeling; voicing your worries can be immensely helpful in lightening the weight of your anxiety, and the people around you may be able to offer advice or words of comfort. Alternatively, counselling or therapy could be beneficial if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Dedicated sessions will give you the time and space you need to explore the way you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, and a professional will be able to give you the tools you need to manage difficult emotions.
- A good support network will not only provide you with help and encouragement when you need it. Friends and family can offer welcome distraction when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you dedicate regular time to the people you care about and the activities you enjoy.
- Exercise is scientifically proven to reduce the body’s stress hormones and increase the production of mood-elevating endorphins. Aerobic exercise (such as running, swimming and cycling) is particularly beneficial, though even something as simple as taking a walk can be helpful. Not only will it improve your mood and promote relaxation, a walk can provide a change of scenery, taking you out of the environment where you were feeling stressed. Getting out into nature is especially calming; if you live in a city, seek out green space in local parks, cemeteries, community gardens, playing fields, canals and university campuses.
- Art therapy is a respected means of enhancing mental wellbeing. Try drawing, painting, colouring or any other creative activity at the end of a stressful day to encourage creative expression and relaxation.
- Try to cultivate a positive mindset by focussing on what you can control and practising gratitude. Take control of each day by employing good time management and focussing on what you will realistically be able to achieve. At the end of the day, write down 3 things that went well.
My Peaceful Place: InvestIN's Young Photographer Competition
In honour of Stress Awareness Week 2021 (1st-5th of November), we ran a charity competition entitled My Peaceful Place: InvestIN’s Young Photographer Competition.
We asked students to send us a photograph they’d taken that represented their peaceful place, somewhere they could find respite and tranquillity when feeling stressed.
The response has been overwhelming.
We received over 3,500 remarkable photographs, depicting everything from peaceful lakes to mountainscapes, cities to sunsets, bedroom views to beloved friends, family and pets. As a result, we have donated £2000 to Stem4, a fantastic charity that works to promote positive mental health in teenagers and those who support them.
Thank you so much to everyone who submitted their photograph; your entries demonstrated passion, creative flair and technical skill and it was a real privilege looking through them.
Choosing a winner was no mean feat.
But we’ve managed it.
May we present: the winner, the runners-up and the shortlisted entries of InvestIN’s Young Photographer Competition...
Tranquility Trapped in a Glass Ball
Samuel, Barton Peveril College
“The location is called Mogshade Pond: I have come here since I started photographing landscapes; I enjoy the peacefulness and quiet, especially during a sunrise, it really helps take my mind off of anything stressful.”
InvestIN’s comments: We found Samuel’s photograph really special. Not only is it visually beautiful, but the use of the glass ball held in a gloved hand brings a unique perspective that sets this image apart from the others. The colours, the reflection and the use of perspective all come together to create a palpable sense of quiet tranquility. Congratulations Samuel - keep photographing!
Fields of Yellow
Ben, Churston Ferrers Grammar School
“Where Rosie the dog loves to spend her days prancing around in the fields of yellow.”
InvestIN’s comments: What a great action shot! We couldn’t help but smile when we saw this entry; Rosie’s expression and the bright yellow of the flowers made for such an uplifting image. Bravo Ben - pure joy.
Nicole, Dubai English Speaking College
“My tranquil place is a quiet space where there are no distractions and I can completely be myself. In this image I symbolize how the flour being blown is the bundle of stress I need to release and by blowing it away, I am relieving myself of all the built up unnecessary stress.”
InvestIN’s comments: We loved Nicole’s representation of her blowing her stresses away. The simple composition against the dark background makes for a really striking image. A great concept, perfectly executed - well done!
Lake of Tranquility
Daniel, Sutton Community Academy
“This is a place me and my girlfriend go to escape from the pressures of life and stress. The fire trail represents how we connect with nature and a peaceful atmosphere.”
“As saturated clouds painted the sky in waves of colour, the rocky sea mimicked a brilliant blue before crashing into the horizon. With my feet sinking into the retreating sand, I pressed a finger down, capturing the moment in its raw beauty.”
Reflection of Peace
Jasmine, King's InterHigh
“I took this photo from my apartment balcony, where I have a lot of wonderful memories. The city that stretches beyond the water, the sound of seagulls & people & the smell of summer make me feel calm. On this specific day, the hot air balloon definitely lifted my spirits even more.”
Ava, Alderley Edge School for Girls
“I walk along the wooden planks, the ruby red bridge walls surround me. After travelling all day, this bridge brings me relief, a sign, we are almost home. Looking down onto the river, we are almost there, almost home, ready to relax. The most simple bridge makes me feel peaceful.”
Cam, Langtree School
“The skatepark is my peaceful place because I feel free to do whatever I want. Skateboarding helps me relax after a long day of school. I can meet up with my friends and just hang out and skate.”
Ajani, American International School of Kingston
“Palisadoes, Jamaica -- the last stretch of land before our airport, has always been my place of tranquility. With the sea on one side, Kingston Harbour on the other and some of the island's best sunsets, Palisadoes' aura of peace exists for all those who need it after a long week.”
My Saviour of Hope
Josh, Durham Sixth Form Centre
“Loss is a thing we all experience at some point. 2020 saw me lose someone close to me, myself. My mental health was not in the best place. But then Pearl showed up and saved me. Pearl, my saviour, my hero, my peaceful place.”
Liam, Absegami High School
“The Horseshoe Crab is a very prehistoric animal that roams the ocean peacefully. Though covered in barnacles, it is still so peaceful. Even beached and lifeless, the Horseshoe Crab, still, sits so peacefully.”