Stress is an integral part of every person’s life. It can be caused by nearly anything which is why is is such a widespread issue. Stress manifests itself in a myriad of ways, both emotionally and physically. Some of the emotional symptoms of stress include becoming easily agitated, having difficulty relaxing, and feeling lonely or worthless. Physically, stress can cause one to suffer from headaches, insomnia, low energy, upset stomach and a weakened immune system. However, there are ways to limit how much stress one experiences.
Here at Ridgewood High School there have been numerous initiatives to decrease student’s stress levels. One of the most popular among students has been the implementation of enrichment days where school starts one hour later. These days are intended to allow students to catch up on sleep and work, and have proven to be very effective in reducing student stress. It may, however, be beneficial to increase the frequency of enrichment days. They currently occur once a month, far too infrequently to have a noticeable impact on student’s lives.
Another Ridgewood High School program takes a different approach to dealing with stress. This program is yoga and stress management, a class taken by all juniors as part of the Wellness curriculum. Rather than attempting to limit students exposure to stress as enrichment days do, this class teaches students how to cope with stress. This is an important skill to possess as stress is an unavoidable part of life. If students don’t learn how to deal with stress in high school, they will be forced to do so in college or at their first job when stress is much higher.
Stress is not always something to avoid, and in small amounts has its benefits. It causes the release of numerous hormones including adrenaline which triggers the flight or fight response which is an important part of human survival. Additionally, since stress is not enjoyable, it can motivate people to stop procrastinating and do their work. One example of this is when a student is stress out about school work it will often times motivate him to study in order to reduce his stress.
There are both benefits and drawback to stress and it is important to find a balance in both utilizing stress to increase productivity and limiting stress to maintain mental sanity.
Graphics: Jessica Chang