Stress. We have all heard the term, and we all have felt it at some point in time. Since we have just wrapped up our first quarter here at Seattle Lutheran High School, addressing the biological processes that contribute to late-night study sessions and occasional mental breakdowns is meet. High school students hear quite often about stress and that managing it is key to having a fruitful and enjoyable academic career. Not only does stress management make us happier human beings, employing it often results in a longer life.
In healthy amounts, stress keeps us alert and aware of our environments. However, when continuous stress is placed on an individual, the physical and psychological effects are harmful and potentially lethal. Alarming or pressuring stimuli, such as the process of writing a long, difficult paper at 3 am, trigger the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands. This then triggers a fight-or-flight response in the sympathetic nervous system-which is part of the autonomic nervous system that controls responses to stimuli and promotes homeostasis-which raises heart rate and blood sugar. The dangers of a high stress lifestyle lie in the perpetually high heart rate and blood sugar levels in individuals who are exposed to large amounts of cortisol regularly. If unchecked, high stress can lead to heart disease, which is the number one killer in the United States, taking 600,000 lives annually.
Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to mitigate stress. You can a) take up a calm, relaxing hobby, b) take frequent breaks while studying so that your mind is always ready to learn efficiently, c) take up meditation, or d) learn to assertively schedule time for work. These are a few ways that you can manage your workload, and therefore have less stress associated with school and thus have a longer, happier life.