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Navigating Through Pressure

The Overwhelming Stress of High School

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Our years of youth are such exciting times for growth and maturity but sometimes the pressure of society causes us to forget these times are not everything. The current generation of high school students are under constant pressure to appear perfect, both academically and socially. By the time sixth grade starts the stress of college has already worked its way down to middle school. 4.0 GPA. 1600 SAT. 36 ACT. Take every AP class. Exams. Choose a college. Figure out your future. The current day high school standards have undoubtedly become one of the biggest causes for stress in America, but high school is not everything and life goes on. Though you should still take highschool life seriously, it is important to maintain other connections in your life because life continues to flourish outside of high school. It is crucial when hit with the stresses of high school that one knows how to deal with it. There are many different tactics to cope with stress in school such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep. 

A common mistake for people who endure heavy levels of stress is turning to unhealthy eating habits. However, when bodies are fed poorly, stress levels rise further due to low amounts of energy and nutrition. Not only is high school one of life’s most stressful times but it is also the prime time for bodily growth and development. As stated in the National Institute of Health, teens ages 14 to 18 need about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of fruit a day and 2 1/2 to 4 cups of vegetables each day. Studies also show when given the right diet, students maintain attention and memory for a longer time. Students with healthier eating habits have also proven to have better grades, higher standardized test scores and less absences. It is important for students to remember to put their health before school matters as maintaining healthy habits will help to overall reduce the stress of school. 

As high school is overwhelming and time consuming, exercise is an excellent way to take a break and connect with the mind and body. A healthier state of mind reduces states of depression and stress. As found in Better Health, exercise is proven to block out negative thoughts and daily worries. It is especially important for high schoolers to remain active due to the constant worry of college and grades looming over them for the entirety of their high school career. Studies have also shown exercise can stimulate the growth of new brain cells. As the brain grows, areas associated with memory and learning get bigger and eventually improve brain functions. People who exercise often show improvement in IQ test scores as well. Keeping up with daily exercise is a great way to divert the direction of stress typically associated with school. 

Sleep is a crucial component of overall health and well-being. It is a time that allows our minds and bodies to rest after a long day. Lack of sleep limits the brain's ability to think, remember details, respond to questions in a mannerly fashion and process information. It is incredibly important to process information learned at school because being able to recall them can prevent long-term stress associated with tests and exams. According to the American Psychology Association, sleep is when our brains recharge and without enough of it our bodies do not get the benefits of muscle repair or memory consolidation. Getting enough sleep each night is super important when under such intense pressures associated with highschool because it is the only time that fully allows the brain to rest. 

Though high school is important for our future, it is not everything. Choosing a future over the health of our body should not become a lifelong habit. With the right amount of planning and time management, it is possible to make good grades while maintaining a stress-free life. It is still important to have fun in addition to academic classes. High school is a chapter in a larger story of life, so it is important that we do not spend it mistreating ourselves and our bodies. 

Overall, creating a balance between school and stress is difficult, but there are many different approaches as to how. A healthy diet, good exercise and plenty of sleep are just some of the many ways to lower levels of high stress associated with high school. Though the pressure of college has become more competitive, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial because it is truly valuable in the long run of life.


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Andy Poll

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