How to Not Get Stressed by School

Four Methods:Changing Your PerspectiveFixing your Schedule and Work EnvironmentManaging Social AnxietyLiving Healthier

With the pressure to get into a good college, stress has become a health epidemic in high schools around the country.[1] Some stress is natural, even positive. But if you begin feeling physically sick, you should start changing your lifestyle. Have a good time, live healthier, rethink your approach to school, and learn to manage your time.

Method 1
Changing Your Perspective

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    Know when your stress has become unhealthy. Some stress can be a good thing; it encourages us to work harder and perform under high pressure situations. But too much stress can begin to hurt our health and make it harder for us to perform.
    • A good sign that you have become overly stressed is that you can no longer bounce back. It makes sense to be stressed the night before a test. But, if you are still stressed when you come back home to spend time with your friends, then you have a problem.[2]
    • The most commonly reported signs of excessive stress are headaches and stomach pains.[3]
    • Other symptoms include fatigue, constipation, nervousness, diarrhea, inconsistent sleep patterns, neck cramps, sweating, absence of appetite, indigestion, heartburn, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of inadequacy, guilt, helplessness, and failure.
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    Reframe your perspective. You should take some time off to try to rethink the way that you look at your situation. Try to find a more positive way to look at your situation.[4]
    • If you are struggling with AP classes, for example, remember that you are still a high schooler dealing with college level work. You aren’t struggling at college, you’re excelling at high school.
    • If bad grades get you down remember that it is only one assignment and that you will get a chance to make it up. Focusing on the negative will only keep you down and prevent you from excelling in the future.
    • Talk to the school counselor if you believe that your grades might be too low for you to meet you life goals. The counselor can tell you whether you are on track. If you are not on track, the counselor might be able to give you some suggestions as to how to catch up. Alternatively, the counselor can also point you toward other career paths commensurate with your interests and abilities.[5]
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    Talk to your parents. Talking to your parents might be the last thing most of us want to do in high school, especially if they are contributing to our anxiety. Sometimes, without meaning it, they put pressure on us to excel and push us further than we can manage. Hopefully, if you mention how you feel to them, they will adjust the way they talk to you.[6]
    • Without this outside pressure, it can be much easier for us to develop a healthy outlook on school work.
    • If our parents are aware of how we feel, they can become important partners in coping with stress. Parents can help us fix our schedules. Furthermore, getting them to commit to a quite household during homework time can make it easier to concentrate on finishing our assignments.

Method 2
Fixing your Schedule and Work Environment

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    Draw out a schedule. Get a planner and write down all of your obligations. Start by blocking out fixed obligations like school and club meetings. Figure out when you will work on each of your assignments and try to leave some time to relax.[7]
    • Try to schedule school work earlier in the day. You will find it progressively harder to concentrate as the day goes on.[8]
    • Schedule some free time every day. Clubs and sports can be a source of stress as much as they are a source of entertainment. You should have some unstructured time to do nothing, should you choose to.
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    Start big projects early. If you know there is a test coming up, study a little every day. Putting large assignments off to the last second is a recipe for stress. Schedule to have these projects complete several days in advance.[9]
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    Create a work space. It is important to have a place where you can work without distractions. There should be no TV, phones, and the internet should only be used for research. You might need to tell your parents to turn their TVs off too; hearing what you are missing out on in the distance is only going to make it harder to focus on work.
    • Your work space should also be clean and organized. You can easily lose your work in the clutter. That scenario can cost you a little bit of your time and a lot of your sanity.[10]
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    Talk to your teacher. If you talk to your teacher, he might be able to illuminate what is going wrong in class. It is possible that he could offer you extra credit or even point you in the direction of a tutoring service.
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    Get a tutor. A good tutor will help you organize your work, schedule your time, better grasp a subject, and progress more efficiently through your assignments. Look online for tutoring services in your area or search for private tutors. If you talk to your counselor or teacher, you might find that your school has some tutors who can work with you.
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    Prioritize. When you begin plotting out your schedule, you might find that there isn’t enough time in the day. At that point, you will need to determine what is important and start dropping things. Consider whether your sport or club obligations are distracting you from your school work. If your school work itself is too much, consider dropping some AP or Honor’s classes.[11]
    • Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too by harnessing the power of summer. Over the summer, you won’t have course requirements. You can use that time for SAT and ACT prep so you don’t need to worry about it during the school year. You can also get involved in sports and other extracurriculars over the summer. You can even take a summer course at a college, so that you can pare down your AP requirements during the school year.[12]

Method 3
Managing Social Anxiety

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    Get advice. It is natural and exceedingly common to be worried about making friends and feeling accepted in high school. Talk to someone else, whether they be a therapist, a friend, or a parent. These people can give you suggestions about how to navigate your social environment.[13][14][15]
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    Understand puberty. Puberty causes extreme emotional swings and will affect your appearance. Many teenagers are extremely distressed by the way that puberty affects their appearance.[16] But acne, body odor, and rapid weight changes are a temporary side effect of puberty. Recognize that these are a short-term discomforts that pave the way to you becoming an adult.
    • To deal with these side effects in the short-term, live a healthier lifestyle including a good diet and exercise.[17]
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    Find a way to express your emotions. Take up poetry, guitar, or art. Don't expect your high school work to be a masterpiece. Sometimes it just helps to have a medium to express your feelings. If you are lucky, you might learn a new skill too.[18]
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    Recite a positive mantra. Repeat in your head, "I am not afraid" or "I can do this." Repeat over and over again when you want to push your social boundaries, like if you try sitting with a new group at lunch. This will crowd out your pessimistic thoughts and help you move forward.[19]
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    Celebrate your accomplishments. Every time that you talk to someone new, succeed at speaking in front of a group, make it through a new club meeting, lose five pounds, or clear up your acne, celebrate. Mark your milestones so that you remember afterward that you can overcome your obstacles.[20]

Method 4
Living Healthier

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    Exercise. Exercise has been shown to increase confidence and energy, while reducing stress.[21] You should try to exercise three to five times a week, whether you are going for a jog, doing yoga, lifting weights, or playing sports.[22]
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    Eat a balanced diet. Food that is high in fat and calories can make you feel sluggish.[23] For energy you should have a good variety of nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats. Vary up the types of food you eat as much as possible.
    • It is particularly important that you eat a good breakfast, to give you energy throughout the day.
    • Avoid foods that are high in sugar. This will cause you to crash. Regular caffeine use will also eventually tax your supply of energy.[24]
    • Avoid extreme crash diets. These often involve starving yourself of key nutrients that are important for maintaining your energy level and your mental health.[25]
    • Foods that are said to increase your ability to think clearly include whole grains, oily fish, blueberries, oranges, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, sage, and nuts.[26]
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    Sleep. As a teenager, you should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Students who get less than this have been shown to get lower grades and be at higher risk of car accidents. Sleep is important to maintaining your concentration and overall mental health.[27]
    • To help get to sleep, stay off your computer for at least an hour prior to bed. Computer screens have been shown to emit a wavelength of light that suppresses melatonin, a hormone that is essential to getting a good night’s rest.[28]
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    Laugh. Laughing naturally reduces stress. Make time to hang out with your friends and have a good time. Watch funny movies and TV shows. Don’t forget to have a good time.[29]

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/12/02/246599742/school-stress-takes-a-toll-on-health-teens-and-parents-say
  2. http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/coping-with-stress-at-school/
  3. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/coping-school-stress?page=2
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Categories: School Stuff