The relationship between stress and school performance is a complicated one. Stress can lead to lower grades, difficulty concentrating, and an inability to perform as well as you would like. In this blog post, I will explain how the negative effects of stress on your brain can be mitigated by mindfulness exercises such as meditation or deep breathing.
What Are Common Causes Of Stress?
Everybody gets stressed out sometimes, but nobody deals with more additional factors than students. Schoolwork is commonly overbearing and tacked onto already long days of class and extracurriculars.
Beyond that, students have entire lives to navigate without all of the necessary skills. Where you grow up and the quality of your home life have significant implications for your stressors. And without a solid support system, students may feel like they’re lost without a paddle.
Here Are Some Of The Most Common Stressors For Students
- Trouble At Home Or With Family
- Managing Personal And Romantic Relationships
- Balancing Time Management Between School, Work, And Fun
- Staying On Top Of Their Assignments
- Feeling That They Are Struggling To Fit In
- Negative Self Views
- Health Complications
- Mental Disorders
- Feeling Unsafe At Home Or In School
What Happens To Students Who Are Stressed?
There are a lot of risk factors for students who face increasing levels of stress- starting with a drop in school performance and degrading into school drop out and possible substance abuse.
Parents and friends may notice the student acting strange or increasingly agitated. And, especially in younger children, that stress can translate directly into anger. In addition, studies show that consistent stress can cause long-term emotional and behavioral problems.
A study was done in 2006 by AHA, which found that 32% of students believe stress causes lower school performance and increases dropout rates. Emotional intelligence was a significant factor in how significantly heightened stress levels effective the behavior of students. Suggesting that higher stress levels could have more damaging effects on younger students without a high enough level of emotional intelligence to cope. Although there is no current evidence to support that claim.
It is important to note that stress and failure or loss are not synonymous. While it has become more common for youth programs to call “everyone a winner,” there is no evidence showing that this lowers stress levels.
How Can Students Deal With Stress
The best solution for any student is a healthy and supportive environment surrounding them at both school and at home. Unfortunately, students, especially in grade school, do not have much control over their surroundings.
That’s why organizations like ours teach them meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques that they can use to calm themselves regardless of the situation. Not only do these techniques provide immediate improvements in stress levels, but they also improve long-term mental health.
With these tools in their arsenal, students can take control of their well-being and have the security of knowing that.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment. It may seem counterintuitive to focus one’s mind on their surroundings when tense or stressed, but mindfulness can help alleviate this feeling.
Embedded in these techniques are lessons that can help you tackle stress head-on.
Focused Attention: Focused attention is about actively paying attention to your current thoughts and feelings instead of dwelling on past or future worries. By practicing this technique, it becomes easier to identify our needs right now, which results in more clarity about how to proceed productively. How do I do this? First, take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breath. The simple act of breathing can help you clear away distractions and calm yourself down.
Take It Step-By-Step: If you find that focusing on your breath is too difficult or distracting (which happens for many people), try listening to the sounds around you in a quiet room. Focusing on the sounds around you, as opposed to your thoughts or feelings, makes it easier to clear away distractions and calm yourself down quickly. For example, listening to white noise calms me down and helps me focus during bad days.
Accept What Is: Finally, when practicing mindfulness, remember that your thoughts are not facts—they may be true, but they just as easily could not. So don’t worry about your thoughts. Just accept them for what they are, have a moment of self-compassion, and then move on to the next task at hand with clarity and focus.
Using Meditation To Create Mindfulness
There are many different ways to meditate, and it’s important to find a technique that works for you. The most common types of meditation involve focusing on your breath in a sitting position or walking slowly and deliberately in a calm environment. When you’re stressed, your thoughts can quickly get away from you, so it becomes challenging to focus on anything else.
I struggle with pain and frustration on any given day but often times I find myself focusing more on the pain than what I’m doing, which makes me feel worse. Meditation has helped me put my thoughts into perspective and reduce the negative emotions associated with my chronic pain. It has also helped me realize how little control I have over my pain.
Thoughts are just thoughts, and by taking a few moments to meditate, you can really see your true feelings on any given day.
An Easy Deep Breathing Exercise
One of the ways that I deal with stress is by doing deep breathing exercises. For example, I learned a technique called “box breathing”. You breathe in for four seconds, hold it in for four seconds, and then exhale for four seconds.
This exercise will help you calm down and refocus on your goal. These exercises can be done anywhere and anytime to help deal with stress levels before they get out of control.
In conclusion, mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help students deal with stress. Not only do these exercises relieve stress immediately, but they also improve long-term mental health. With the right attitude towards your learning, it is possible to set yourself up for success no matter your academic challenges.