Students cope with high school stress
Everyone deals with some sort of stress in their lives whether it is due to their home lives, school, relationships, sports, etc. and there are many different effects and ways to cope and deal with the effects. It is natural to feel stress at times. Stress does not just disappear, but the ways people deal with it reflect how this stress affects a person and how it affects the people around them.
Two major high school stressors include tests and homework. Many students become overwhelmed and overthink, which leads to high-stress levels. When it comes to tests there is normal stress involved, but when the stress builds up and turns into overthinking this can lead to test anxiety which can ultimately decrease test scores. Reasons for this extra stress can be because it is hard for students to get caught up on homework once they are already behind.
“Tests are stressful. I am worried that I am going to forget stuff. Even though I know my stuff. I am also scared I am going to be the last one taking the test. Also, when I am behind on homework then the stress just builds even more,” junior Eme Rickhiem said.
Not only does stress affect a person mentally, but it can also take a toll on a person physically. Stress can cause mood changes, increased heart rate, and the sense of feeling sick, and in the long term it can lead to an increased risk of health issues later in life.
“I have cried and could not stop crying. I have had to go home from school because I feel sick. I have had stomach aches, headaches, and sweaty hands. Sometimes everything hurts. I become tired all the time and take lots of naps,” Rickheim said.
Being stressed out all the time can lead to changes in behavior. Not only does the stressed-out person not feel like themselves, but also the people around them and closest to them notice it, too. The people who witness the person’s stress may also have changes in behavior because bad moods can rub off on others.
ASL teacher Becky Mazzara explained that if someone is happy then the people around them will be happy. If someone is frustrated, then others will become annoyed or frustrated. She compares this to stress because if someone is stressed and is in a bad mood because of that stress, then it will rub off and be felt by other people. It is a chain reaction.
Surely, nobody wants to let stress consume their lives, so there are different ways people deal with stress. There are positive and negative ways to cope with stress. Sometimes people cope in negative ways unintentionally, so it is important to be able to identify stressful situations and have positive coping strategies to use. Knowing how to cope in a positive way is important and the way situations are dealt with can impact witnesses.
The Vantage Point website explained how “positive coping mechanisms include seeking help from supportive people, such as a counselor or friend. Other positive ways to cope include meditation, journaling, and exercising. A negative coping mechanism includes stress in which a person attacks others and makes them feel uncomfortable.”
With that in mind, two very positive coping mechanisms are deep breathing and taking walks. Deep breathing relieves stress by calming down the body. It can help calm the mind and help a person regroup and get back to what they are doing. Taking a walk or leaving the situation for a moment can also help calm the mind and body.
“Deep breathing helps. I know I can do it from any place. Anytime. If I feel a panic coming on I can base my breathing around that. And sometimes I have to get up and walk away. Sometimes I just need thirty seconds away from reality,” Rickheim said.
Even though one cannot rid themselves of stress, there are ways to prevent stressful situations from becoming worse. The way stressful situations are handled can affect how stressful the outcome is and how a person feels during or after the situation.
Freshman Grace Reinke does her “homework right after school, before sports, so it’s not so stressful after sports,” and this helps her focus more on her sport when she is there rather than letting the stress follow her and affect her performance.
“When feeling stressed, the first thing to do is to just take a deep breath. Do not react. Just take a deep breath and then think about the things that make you happy, whether that is sitting and meditating, reading, walking, or talking to friends, but do not ever react when feeling stressed or frustrated. That is one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give,” Mazzara said.