How stress affects students at LHS.

Ethan Atkins and Regan Johnston

Graphic by Ashley Tindall

Whether it’s from school, home, work or extracurricular activities, stress affects students everywhere. It’s important for teenagers to know how to spot signs of stress and learn how to cope. With help from other students, teachers and counselors at LHS, stress can be managed.

How Stress Affects Students

According to a poll on student stress at LHS, the main cause of stress is school work and academic pressure.

“I mainly deal with stress from homework,” sophomore Noah McGannon said. “Some teachers give a lot of it and if you fall behind, it can be easy to get buried in work.”

School isn’t the only thing students have to deal with though, senior Audrey McBride’s main concern this year is keeping the friends she made during high school after she graduates.

“A lot of the stress came from school last year, but this year it’s just relationships because it’s my senior year,” McBride said. “I’m going to be leaving all my friends soon. It’s hard to maintain those relationships as things get more stressful.”

According to the Child Mind Institute, a non-profit organization in New York, social media can also impact students’ stress levels.

“In several recent studies, teenage and young adult users who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms were shown to have a substantially (from 13 to 66 percent) higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time,” editorial director of Child Mind Institute, Caroline Miller, said.

Photo by Charlene Nguyen

Stress can cause a strain on the body and mind if it goes on for long periods of time. According to the school nurse, Becky Kovac, stress can cause things like headaches, stomachaches, difficulty breathing and chest pain.

“There’s the fear center called the amygdala, and in that fear center, it overrules everything logical in your brain,” Kovac said. “Your heart is immediately going to start racing, your respiratory rate is immediately going to increase and you’re going to feel fear. With teenagers, that’s a very active part of their brain because the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed yet.”

According to Douglas Carlson, an advocate for students and technology, stress can also cause a loss of sleep, irritability and in some cases, hurt grades. “When a student is stressed and preoccupied, it takes over their ability to focus during lectures or studying,” Carlson wrote in his article 3 Ways Stress Negatively Affects Student Performance. “Stress may even cause students to drop out of school or drop classes. The 2010 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment reported more than 25% of students say that stress lowered their grades or ability to finish a course.”

Graphic by Ashley Tindall

How Students Cope

People handle stress in many different ways, the important thing is for each individual to find what works for them. Sophomore Aiden Norris finds that having healthy habits keeps his stress at bay.

“I sleep a lot,” Norris said. “I’ve also started going to the gym and have changed my eating habits. I eat a lot of broccoli and chicken for lunch. It’s a lot easier to eat healthy if you prepare your week’s food on Sunday.”

Some students, like McBride, prefer expressing their emotions through writing.

“I journal every night and I write about my feelings so I don’t have to dump all my emotions on other people,” McBride said. “I think journaling is good because it’s the same thing as telling somebody what you’re going through. In a journal, you can see it in writing and get it off your chest. You can also look back on it and see how much you’ve grown.”

Photo by Makenna Smock

Now, sometimes these methods don’t work, but don’t freak out, there are still plenty of ways to cope. It’s all about finding what works for you.

“Keep cool and don’t panic,” Rains said. “Don’t freak out on the inside. If it’s about schoolwork, go online and watch videos about the subject.”

Junior Lyrah Buddemeyer further emphasizes the importance of students expressing themselves.

“People who struggle with stress shouldn’t bottle it up because bottling it up can make you angry,” she said. “I would tell people to try and find someone to talk to and that could be a counselor, teacher, friends or even talk to a dog. Try to get it out of your system so you are not so stressed.”

“There are times in our school day, like Liberty Hour where students can get some of those things that might be piling up off their plate. This gives some time back to students to work and manage their time a little bit more efficiently.””

— Counselor Scott Gillespie

How LHS Can Helps Students Manage Stress

The counselors are very aware student stress can be very difficult and they have tried to create a better environment for students. Counselor Scott Gillespie believes the school has many ways to help students.

“There are times in our school day, like Liberty Hour, where students can get some of those things that might be piling up off their plate. This gives some time back to students to work and manage their time a little bit more efficiently,” Gillespie said. “We also have different clubs and activities. If a student is looking for a way to decompress to recharge or do what they need to do to take care of themselves, there are many opportunities that are here for students to get plugged in and do what they need to do.”

Freshman Layton Brier noticed one of the smaller ways the school has helped students with stress.

“In advisory, they tried to do a game day where you can play games,” Brier said. “They tried to make it more fun and less stressful.”

By incorporating fun into the classrooms, students can get their minds off of their stress and relax through fun.

LHS doesn’t just have times and activities, but they also have people. The school is full of teachers and counselors who are all willing to talk with students.

For Buddemeyer, talking is the ultimate form of stress relief.

“They have counselors and they have amazing teachers you can talk to and they’ll talk with you about whatever,” Buddemeyer said. “The entire school environment helps stress but students can easily talk to teachers or counselors or whoever is in the building.”

Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Stress