In the past two years, Everyone has been put in a stressful situation one way or another. However, what makes a student’s stress different?
The answer is school. School is a place many students experience the most amount of anxiety and stress in. Many social aspects of the school environment can lead to stress and anxiety. Whether it is sharing ideas in class or feeling the need to have friends or belong in a social sphere it is what causes student’s stress and anxiety.
Many studies have been conducted to assess the effects of stress and how it can further incite anxiety. More than 70% of students say that stress and anxiety is a “major problem” among their classmates. Personally, I believe that this statistic should be taken seriously and considered carefully. Mainly because school has caused me to have anxiety and higher stress levels than the average person.
I have had anxiety from around the time I was in middle school. This is a normal time for individuals to be very impressionable and worried about self image and meeting standards. However, for me it was a matter of feeling the need to do everything perfect and make no mistakes. Although I learned to be less anxious about being perfect, school is still the place that brings that need to be perfect out more than any other environment.
Anxiety is a disorder in which an individual feels strong emotions of worry and stress. These emotions are strong enough to interfere with daily life and activities. Anxiety can also be the feeling everyone gets when presenting a project or being forced to interact within a group of people. Anxiety is a medical diagnosis and there is no “cure” for it. In other words, there are ways to cut back on stressful situations and calm your mind however there is no definitive cure. Because of this inability to cure a diagnosis like anxiety, places like school can push these anxiety-like symptoms to a high.
Personally, as someone who has experienced induced anxiety as a result of school it is easier for me to recognize situations in which I will be more susceptible to nerves and uneasiness. For instance, something that gives me increased anxiety at school is talking in oral presentations. For some reason, even if I know what to say I get really nervous and second guess my words or contribution. For these reasons, I try my best to avoid putting myself in situations where I will be required to share orally. However, this is a setback because in a professional work environment it is a quality to be able to speak in front of others.
So how do you manage stress levels by challenging yourself and being at a place where you are allowing yourself to grow?
Something that works for me is changing the narrative by using “if so”. For instance, if I am in a situation where I am about to present for class and I am really anxious I will say “if so I will grow from it and learn what I need to improve upon for next time”.
These “if so” statements are directly talking about if something were to go wrong. Little things like these statements can help students figure out why they are anxious and turn things around to look at the bright side of what could be negative instances. Even more so, it is important to take breaks before getting to the point of burn out and keep your mind healthy. Taking breaks can help students clear their mind and find clarity in places where having reduced anxiety can feel impossible.