Stress: The Good and Bad


Poll results show that academics cause the most stress in SHS students.


You’ve heard it all before. Smart kids complain about classes and deadlines. Others discuss loaded work schedules. Some worry about sports competitions.

People discuss the stress put on today’s generation with rapidly growing technology. How “back in the day” there wasn’t so much stress.

But what is stress really? What does it do? Is it always bad?

The truth is, stress is just a physical reaction to some sort of stimulation, some source of excitement. It can be both good and bad, and it’s always existed.


Sometimes, life can get overwhelming. There’s too much to do, too many emotions to feel. People miss sleep, get headaches, feel sick to their stomachs, stop eating, eat too much, become angry, withdraw… the list goes on and on. This is bad stress.

Causes of stress range from simple issues, like grades and relationships, to more drastic problems, like family deaths and money difficulties. When teenagers have to deal with these heavy stressors, it can take its toll on them.

“Some of our kids are dealing with adult issues and they shouldn’t be. They’re teenagers. They should only be stressed about things like grades,” said SHS counselor Becky Leno.

Kids facing adult problems should confide in teachers, counselors, or other trusted adults for help. However, for teens with smaller, less-pressing issues, there is a simpler solution. Taking a walk, grabbing a snack, getting some sleep, and taking a few minutes to organize can be quick fixes way to de-stress.


Contrary to popular opinion, stress isn’t actually always a Big Black Cloud of Doom. In fact, stress can sometimes be fun. Go ahead, read it again. Stress can be FUN.

“People always think of negative stress, but there is also good stress, like, ‘Who’s going to ask me to the dance?’ stress,” said SHS psychologist Servio Carroll.

Picture your crush walking down the hall. He gives you a head nod. Oh, goodness. You freak. Wait. Did he even nod at you? Was he actually nodding to his friend behind you? That would be so embarrassing. You replay the scene in your head a few dozen times and conclude that yes, the head nod was totally directed at you. Now there’s the question of the meaning of the head nod? Was it a special head nod? Or just a habitual head nod that he gives to everyone who makes eye contact with him? You’re getting carried away.

This is good stress. Although you still have no idea whether or not your crush likes you, you are excited that he nodded at you and it’s kind of fun to obsess over every detail of your three-second encounter.

In addition to making you feel all jittery about a crush, stress can also help you get things done.

“A little bit of stress is a good thing, it can motivate you,” said Leno.

Pressure to complete a homework assignment or reach a certain athletic goal can prompt hard work and efficiency. Without a moderate amount of pressure and stress, students would procrastinate and never finish their assignments; athletes wouldn’t be inspired to give their best effort.

So, although stress can be bad (nobody likes migraines or sick stomachs), it can also be good. Remember that. Life is full of goods and bads, whites and blacks, excitement and worry. The important thing is to find a balance.