Stress poses threat for students

By Shealyn Miles
Special Features Editor

Stress is something that students have become far too familiar with. Often, it is accepted as a normal reaction that one must deal with throughout the entirety of their school/professional career. What people tend to overlook are the physical and mental tolls that it takes when motivation for the highest GPA becomes anxiety, depression, and even tragedy.

Of course, not all stress is bad stress. People rely on a small amount of stress to accomplish so much in life. For students in high school, it is nearly mandatory. Stressors like amplitude tests and progress reports are worrisome, but are essential to progress in the academic world. They are simply motivation to move forward.

However, too much continual stress may provide more damaging effects than one can possibly handle. Chronic or “long-term” stress poses detrimental risk to health. Students must understand that stress is not an emotion, but rather, a physical reaction to demanding day-to-day events.

When needed, the body kicks into the stress response known as “fight-or-flight.” During this process, the nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. The hormones prepare the body to take positive action against the stressor.
So what happens when this response stands guard constantly? Simply put, one forgets the significance and the appearance of it. Therefore, the stressor has become one with the person, as if it were normal to be vigilant every minute of every day. To the body, one’s reaction to an argument with a friend resembles that of a life or death situation.

So it is that many students find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into stressful situations, which enables further issues to develop. Chronic stress has been known to raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increases risks of heart attacks or strokes, and even contribute to infertility. It can also leave the brain more susceptible to disorders such as anxiety, and ultimately, depression.

Though there are unimaginable pressures that students face—getting into a college of their choice, working a part-time job, and participating to earn the highest of honors at graduation—they should not feel obligated to put their physical and mental health on the line for it. Take that extra hour of much needed sleep, cut back on a club, and take these reactions seriously. The good stress will continue healthily, as will you.