Homework, schoolwork, tests, quizzes, state exams, and more make up the pressure cooker that is modern day high school. Stress places mental and physical strain on the body and can potentially harm health. Stress is the feeling created by the body when it reacts to certain events that put tension or strain upon one’s physical, mental, or emotional state. Acute stress is short term stress that can last anywhere from three days to four weeks. On the other hand, chronic stress is a more serious problem because it is long term stress and can impact health even more. When under constant stress, also known as hyperarousal, blood pressure rises, breathing and heart rates speed up, blood vessels constrict and muscles tense up (Tennant). The amount of academic stress high school students experience negatively affects their mental and physical wellbeing by taking a toll on their health.
There are two types of stress; good stress, known as eustress, and bad stress known as distress. A small amount of eustress is always good; eustress motivates students and helps them concentrate on more than one task. Stress is good in the form of eustress when the person feels in control and motivated. However, when there is too much stress, it can backfire and lead to worry, irritability, or even panic (“Stress on High School Students”). “Stress is negative when a person feels threatened and not in control of the situation. Those feelings instigate a powerful reaction – affecting both the brain and body in ways that can be destructive to physical and mental health” (Tennant). It can lead to a myriad of health issues and other problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, chronic stress, drug abuse, suicide, and more. Stress takes a toll on all aspects of a student’s life and too much stress will lead to chronic stress and affect an individual forever.
“A child in a constant state of unmanaged stress is primarily focused on survival. ‘Continual distress can create deficits in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn.’ In addition to a general stressed state, specific events can create anxiety. In the classroom this often relates to performance anxiety. Most of us can recall a time when the anxiety felt before a test, presentation or other performance caused the mind to “go blank” and all our studying and rehearsing went out the window. When the anxiety passes, information and skills come flooding back” (Goleman qtd. in Tennant). Students worrying about their future are put under too much academic pressure. They begin to think of themselves as nothing more than a grade. Students are not learning anymore, they are too worried about that final letter grade.
When in constant stress, the body has no time to relax and recover. The body is constantly releasing stress hormones and makes the body work harder, putting it in overdrive. Stress disorders can result such as high blood pressure, headaches, reduced eyesight, stomach aches and other...