Another test. Another assignment. More homework. These are all things that contribute to the stress taken in by students. There are plenty of different ways to get rid of this built up stress but not all of them are healthy. Thankfully, some colleges have begun to implement “relaxation classes” in which students are taught how to cope with stress. Perhaps high schools should begin doing something similar?
Life can be overwhelming, especially during those confusing teenage years. We try to balance social life, family life and school life as we prepare for what comes after high school. What do we do as we try to sort that all out? What do we turn to? Binge watching shows, stress-eating, non-stop gaming…and many worse things. We are not usually taught how to cope with all that building stress correctly and we build bad habits, take them with us into college. That is not right.
A college in our own state: Pacific Lutheran University, has a course titled “Healing Arts of the Body and Mind.” The course offers alternative and beneficial ways to relieve stress. Other colleges bring in animals before finals day to let the students unwind and just pet them. Why do high schools not do something similar? It may be too much to ask for llamas or kittens to be brought in every time we have a test but there are things high schools can do.
It may be questioned as to why this issue is being brought up. Why is stress so significant that courses teaching kids how relieve it are being offered? Stress is harmful. The more evident harm being mental—the pressure weighing down and driving students into depression, into doing unfavorable things to relieve that pressure. What may not be so known is that stress wears the body down and leaves it susceptible to physical illness. That should certainly be concerning.
That brings me to the prior mentioned issue. What can high schools do? Rather than inserting whole new courses, perhaps they could start small: a few things first. Maybe ten minutes of a class period devoted to helping students out daily, offering homework help. Maybe offer some kind of “class” during lunches in which healthy de-stressing behavior is taught. And then there is the chance that an actual class like this could be introduced. After all, if the universities see this as an issue deserving attention, why should their precursors not do the same?
Wishful thinking, maybe. It is a valid issue and I believe that more attention should be paid to the mental health of students at the lower education levels. Who would not want to hold a kitten and weep about the final looming over their head? We can do better to prevent destructive stress-relieving behavior, I am sure.