Where does stress originate from? Is all stress necessary?
How does stress affect high schoolers? How can we manage stress?
The Psychology of Stress
Stress refers to the psychological perception of pressure and the body’s response to it. Some stress is necessary in all living systems; in dangerous situations, the fight-or-flight response is activated through hormonal signals and in other instances, stress can motivate humans to complete certain tasks.
During fight-or-flight responses, a cascade or hormones is triggered. Adrenaline and Cortisol surge through the entire body. These hormones increase heartbeat and circulation, mobilize fat and sugar for immediate energy, and prepare muscles for movement.
Unlike necessary stress for response or motivation, there can be negative or unncessary stress for survivable. This type of stress can stem from various factors including school, family, friends, health, or in extreme cases the loss of a loved one. Prolonged or repeated stress of this kind, which is common in modern society, can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health. In extreme cases, unnecessary stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
How Stress Affects Today’s High School Students
Today’s teenagers are experiencing higher levels of stress than in the past few decades. With increasing technology, social media is becoming more prevalent and teenagers are expected to be involved on social media platforms. Aside from social media, the college admissions process is becoming increasingly challenging and students are expected by teachers and parents to maintain high grades and exceptional extracurriculars. These factors and many more are resulting in an increase in anxiety and depression among high schoolers in the United States. In the past decade, most teenagers have viewed anxiety and depression, which stem from stress factors, as problematic. As a result, untreated prolonged stress can drive high school students towards thoughts and attempts of suicide. Without any treatment or change, data shows that projection of anxiety, depression, and suicide rates will only increase.
How Students Can De-stress
There are many ways students can de-stress. The hardest task is finding which activity works best for them. Common de-stressors include:
- Coloring Pages or Drawing
- Practicing Yoga
- Listening to Music
- Staying Active
- Practicing Self-Care
- Folding Origami
- Creating a Vision Board
How Greenhill School Students Combat Stress
Greenhill School’s environment can be challenging at times – the courseload and classwork, athletic games, and art classes and competitions are hard to balance for most students. Under the direction of Dr. Abby Seeskin and with the help of three board members, Junior Kelly Meng and founded Happiness Club to help students de-stress. The goal of Happiness Club is to build a safe environment where students can relieve stress stemming from various factors including school, family, and health. With this in mind, Kelly dedicated Happiness Club to sharing stress-relieving activities with the Greenhill Upper School community. This year alone, members of Happiness Club have met to create gratitude cards, color on coloring pages, talk about what leads to stress, and to meditate.
“Whenever I step into happiness club, I immediately feel somewhat brighter. I know I can leave the everyday stress of school by entering this safe and inclusive space. The projects we undertake in happiness club have sparked real change in both me and my community, and I hope it can be taken worldwide!”Raag Venkat, Happiness Club Member, Greenhill School Class of 2021
My Position in Happiness Club
With the current situation of COVID-19, some Greenhill School students are experiencing more stress as they worry about schoolwork and their family’s health. They are in need of de-stressing activities more than before the pandemic began. As a board member of the club, I wanted to make the mission and purpose of Happiness Club accessible to Greenhill School students during this difficult time. I partnered with Kelly Meng and I created a website with activities students can do from home. Rather than reaching out to only Greenhill students, we decided to publish a website that students all throughout the nation can access since all high school students are currently facing the same dilemma.
Greenhill School students share their creations from Happiness Club
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Happiness Club Website
Tour of the Website
Start a Chapter
To help raise awareness about Happiness Club’s mission and to share de-stressing tips, I need your help. One way you can get involved is to start your own chapter at your school. Find a school sponsor (teacher), go to our website, find the “start a chapter” tab, and fill out the form. Create your own Happiness Club and share our website with students at your school. Let’s get through this pandemic together!
There are many activities you can do on the Happiness Club website. Try an activity and post your creations with #happinessclubwithGOA on social media. Comment your social media handle below so I can see your creation.
Also, head over to the website and interact with the GOA Participants page. Give me feedback on the website, talk about your experience, or share anything else you wish to share. Thanks for interacting!