Stress in the Classroom

Unwanted stress may lead to even more serious problems.

Julie Chlopan is a high school senior who's currently enrolled in four-advanced placement courses; she says the pressure to excel academically has taken a toll on her.

"I think that society pressures students these days to work their hardest and not only to be an all A's student and take some of the hardest classes that their school has to offer but also to be involved in the extracurricular activities, to be in sports and at the same time have a social life,” Chlopan explains.

A recent survey shows 44-percent of teens feel the most pressure to get good grades, while 32-percent are concerned about getting into college and 29-percent are stressed because they want to fit in socially.

Jeff Herring, who works with teenagers, says stress can be eliminated if a little structure is added to their lives.

"One of the things I help them to do is to try to break it down into manageable pieces, not trying to do everything at once, take things one at a time. Let's deal with this now, and then this next, and then this next,” Herring says.

In addition to time management, Herring suggest extracurricular activities which can help alleviate stress.

Teens who are feeling severe stress should contact their school's counselor for additional guidance.

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Six Myths About Stress

  • Myth 1: Stress is the same for everybody.
    Completely wrong. Stress is different for each of us. What is stressful for one person may or may not be stressful for another; each of us responds to stress in an entirely different way.

  • Myth 2: Stress is always bad for you.
    Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how to manage it. Managed stress makes us productive and happy; mismanaged stress hurts and even kills us.

  • Myth 3: Stress is everywhere, so you can’t do anything about it.
    Not so. You can plan your life so that stress does not overwhelm you. Effective planning involves setting priorities and working on simple problems first, solving them, and then going on to more complex difficulties. When stress is mismanaged, it's difficult to prioritize. All your problems seem to be equal and stress seems to be everywhere.

  • Myth 4: The most popular techniques for reducing stress are the best ones.
    Again, not so. No universally effective stress reduction techniques exist. We are all different, our lives are different, our situations are different, and our reactions are different. Only a comprehensive program tailored to the individual works.

  • Myth 5: No symptoms, no stress.
    Absence of symptoms does not mean the absence of stress. In fact, camouflaging symptoms with medication may deprive you of the signals you need for reducing the strain on your physiological and psychological systems.

  • Myth 6: Only major symptoms of stress require attention.
    This myth assumes that the "minor" symptoms, such as headaches or stomach acid, may be safely ignored. Minor symptoms of stress are the early warnings that your life is getting out of hand and that you need to do a better job of managing stress.

    Source: www.nlm.nih.gov (National Library of Medicine, and National Institute of Health Web site) contributed to this report.


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