The Importance of Relaxation for Students: How Our Brains and Bodies Respond to Stress

**Before we begin, we would like to emphasize that this article was created for a school project, to help us understand search engine optimization

When you think of the stress that students face, you probably imagine long hours reading textbooks and stressing over final exams. But there’s another type of stress that affects students just as much: mental stress. Mental stress is a response to any situation where we experience more pressure than usual, whether it’s from negative thoughts, too many responsibilities at once, or any other circumstance where our brain perceives something as stressful. Many students are often faced with an abundant amount of work, and consequently overlook the importance of relaxation being built into their schedule. It may seem strange to think of stress as a mental process as opposed to a physical sensation, but what sets it apart from other strains on the body is its effect on the mind. Stress can cause feelings of fear, worry, panic, or general uneasiness that come from worrying about what might happen if a particular situation isn’t addressed. It can also cause feelings like despair, frustration, or hopelessness that come from feeling unable to handle a certain problem and knowing there are no easy solutions.

What Happens to Our Brains When We’re Stressed?

In order to better understand the harmful effects of stress on students, it’s important to first understand what happens to our brains when we become stressed. Whenever we experience a stressful situation, our brains release a chemical called cortisol. Naturally, this chemical is helpful in small doses and allows our bodies to adapt to stressful events and perform critical functions, such as making quick decisions. However, too much cortisol can have the opposite effect, either making it more difficult to solve problems and make good decisions, or making it harder to access important memories and information. On top of that, cortisol can also cause weight gain and disrupt the immune system from working properly. The biggest effect of cortisol, however, is on the hippocampus, which is our brains’ centre for regulating emotions and forming memories. When cortisol increases, it can shrink the hippocampus and slow down the rate of new brain cell production. While this effect does subside if the person experiences a less stressful environment, it can lead to lasting changes in the brain’s ability to store memories and regulate emotions—which can wreak havoc on students who don’t take steps to address the stress they’re experiencing.

Why Is Stress Bad for Students?

Stress may not always be as obvious or noticeable as other ailments and health conditions, but it’s still important to monitor your level of stress and make sure it doesn’t become too stressful. To do this, you first have to understand how stress affects students and why it’s bad in the first place. If a student’s stress levels are constantly high, it can lead to a number of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. This can become a dangerous cycle, where the student becomes more stressed out because they’re already dealing with mental health issues. If a student’s stress levels are high enough, it can also start to affect their ability to learn and remember information. This is because cortisol, which is released when we’re stressed out, also causes a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, our brain’s centre for forming new memories.

How Does Stress Affect Our Bodies?

In addition to wreaking havoc on our brains, stress can also have negative effects on the rest of our bodies. As mentioned above, too much cortisol can lead to weight gain or even disrupt the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off illnesses. Likewise, too much adrenaline, another chemical that’s released when we experience stress, can also raise blood pressure and lead to other health problems like heart disease. Stress can also make us more prone to injuries, as it can make us more impatient, less careful, and less focused on safe practices, leading to accidents and errors in judgment.

Strategies to Manage Mental Stress as a Student

Stress is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to protect ourselves from its harmful effects. Students who feel like their stress levels are getting too high can try a few strategies to keep their mental health in check. You can start by making sure you’re taking enough time to recharge and relax. This means making sure you’re getting enough sleep, spending time doing activities that you enjoy, and generally allowing yourself time to unwind and relax. Relaxation is vital for all students and can be a simple, yet effective solution to addressing your stress. You can also try to catch your stress early. If you notice yourself feeling increasingly worried and stressed, take a step back and ask yourself what’s causing your stress. This can help you identify the source of your stress and give you an opportunity to address it before it becomes a bigger problem.

Conclusion

Stress can be a real challenge for students, especially when it comes to mental stress. It’s important to recognize the signs of mental stress and know when your stress levels have become too high. Understanding the importance of relaxation for students is crucial in order for students to better address their personal health and needs. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can try to lower your stress levels and keep your mental health in good shape during exam season and beyond.

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