Decreasing Academic Stress in Schools

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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 …show more content…
“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 digestive problems, facial, neck and back pain. When high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are present, the immune system is depressed. Studies have linked high levels of cortisol with other diseases such as AIDS, MS (multiple sclerosis), diabetes, cancer, coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s (Lewis qtd. in Tennant). Stress…