The good, the bad and the ugly


Nick Sande

Sophomore Jade Hanson is stressed out

In 2018 there is more awareness about many social issues, and there is no exception when it comes to stress and mental illness. Citizens are discussing and accepting these topics while they are seeking solutions. April is National Stress Awareness Month, and it comes with a push for understanding the causes and possible solutions regarding stress.

High school has been known to cause a lot of stress on students, and the Owatonna High School is no exception. According to a poll conducted by the OHS Magnet from April 6 – 10, 92 percent of responders were stressed within the last day of submitting their answers. With spring right around the corner, now is a perfect time to spread awareness and relieve some stress.

Good stress

Stress usually is associated with a negative connotation. However, one should remember the differences between good and bad stress. People can be moved by, motivated by and inspired by the internal force. According to Psychology Today, five examples of good stress include traveling, falling in love, exposure to things that are meaningful but make one afraid or uncomfortable, change and being a beginner.

Exposure to the things that can provoke discomfort can turn into being a meaningful lesson for learning about yourself. Public speaking, a main fear for people in today’s society, creates a lot of stress. I has been determined that when people finish presenting and do it over and over, they can feel more confident and accomplished then before. Senior Payton Wunderlich, a member of the Owatonna speech team, said, “Learning to get over public speaking applies to everything else. I never knew how much more confident I would become, and it is a lot easier to do other things.” It does not come easy to overcome one of the most common fears. It comes with time, practice and perspective. Wunderlich said, “Think about things in perspective. What goes on in our head isn’t necessarily what everyone else is thinking or caring about.” So, with more exposure it becomes evident that the little things should not be worried about.

Bad Stress

Stress is an issue that occurs when people are not able to cope with the effects of a busy lifestyle. It is also important to note that stress and anxiety are not one in the same, but that they go hand in hand. Mrs. Nancy Williams said, “Viewing stress as a continuum from no stress to high stress, anxiety is in the high stress region.” When stress is consistent, consumes thoughts, creates the inability to do daily tasks and is difficult to cope with/manage, it becomes anxiety. When stress turns into anxiety, some coping intervention may be needed to work on helping to get over the obstacle. Mrs. Williams also said, “The biggest thing is figuring out coping methods for stress.” Intervention does not necessarily need to be invasive. There are many positive ways for anyone to manage stress.

According to the poll by OHS Magnet, common ways people manage stress include listening to music, sleeping, writing, drawing, exercising, taking deep breaths and taking breaks. The most important part is to finding what works for each individual person. However, 77 percent of responders to the OHS poll said they have a hard time managing stress, and many of them said they do not know how to manage or cope with it. Issues arise when people let stress fester inside them, and OHS stress levels could be helped with focusing on better coping methods.

Origin of OHS stress

Stress in school is not new, and student stress comes with its own set of complications. Viewing the poll conducted by the OHS Magnet, concerning stressors are school, people and expectations put on students, and more main stressors include college, tests, work, homework, scholarships, ACT testing, relationships, math and life overall. All of these put into a messy package can take a toll on teen’s spinning head.

OHS is trying to put different options of stress relief and coping into effect. Students brought up yoga sessions during academic support the counselors as beneficial tools for stress relief. Students have also expressed ideas for improvement including therapy dogs, a separate stress/mental health class for students to take, a crisis room, holding awareness events, having a system that won’t let their be multiple tests taken on the same day and giving more breaks during the school day.

Stress at OHS comes from many places, and there are many different ways to deal with stress. Be willing to try new things to cope with stress, and above all, it is important to spread awareness, talk with people and to be there for others.