Ladies, gentlemen and everyone else, it’s that time of the year again. Finals are coming up, and everyone is stressed out. Many high school students perceive stress as a negative side effect of the constant pressures of school, often times this is the case. However, contrary to popular belief, stress isn’t always bad. In fact, in small doses it can help people perform under pressure or motivate them to do well. Stress is simply the body’s natural reaction to something that makes a person feel threatened or upset. But as many already know, large amounts of stress—as in that high dose from finals week—can have all sorts of negative effects on your mental and physical health. Stress is a growing problem, with large numbers of high school students reporting feeling “extreme stress” during the school year and The American Stress Institute calling it the “#1 health problem in America.”
The negative effects of stress can range from headaches to depression to insomnia. In a 2013 study of teen stress, scientists found that when dealing with stress, 37 percent of teens reported exercising less than once a week or not at all, 27 percent said that they eat to manage stress, and 62 percent of teens said that they manage stress with screen time such as video games, movies and the internet. There are far healthier ways to manage this stress and turn it into a productive force, or at least less destructive. A popular tactic to help reduce stress is exercise, such as: jogging, basketball, yoga or Tai Chi. Other tactics proven to help alleviate stress are meditation, art or journal-keeping. You can always seek help from a healthcare professional for stress therapy or even medication. Remember in times of stress keep friends and family close as a support system. Finals and school in general can induce high levels of stress, so it is important to time to take care of yourself.
Additional resources are hotlines such as 1-800- 273- 8255 for times of crisis and 1-800-273-8255 for suicide prevention.