Education Matters

How students can use pressure to their advantage

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Nov 30, 2016 6:00:00 AM
How students can use pressure to their advantageStudents of today are under an ever increasing amount of pressure. They must dedicate time to study in order to reach academic goals, commit time to co-curricular activities such as sport, music, the arts and others, and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. In Years 11 and 12 the pressure ramps up, leaving many students wondering how they are going to get through this busy time. It is important to recognise that some pressure is beneficial, indeed essential. Stress can be classed as either good stress (eustress) or bad stress (distress). With an optimal amount of good stress students should reap the following benefits:
  • Bursts of energy through the release of adrenalin to cope with the task at hand (for example, exams).
  • Improved immunity – thought to come from improved heart performance providing protection against infection.
  • Increased focus – as epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are released, blood pressure and heart rate increase causing the senses to focus more acutely.
  • Ability to meet daily challenges.
  • Working more effectively.
  • Motivation to reach goals.
Students can use pressure to their advantage by following these simple guidelines:

Recognise that not all stress is bad
Students must understand that some stress is needed in order for them to do what is required of them. By harnessing the positive aspects of stress, students can use stress to their advantage, rather than focusing on the negative which will increase stress levels.

Plan your time
When time pressure is a cause of stress, plan time effectively and stick to the plan. By diarising time for study, sport, exercise, meals and even sleep, you can focus on one thing at a time and do it well. Your mind will be free to concentrate on the task at hand.

Prepare
Preparation is key to working effectively and maximising the time allotted to a task. Summarise daily lessons, and keep notes ordered. Review your work often, rather than cramming for an exam the night before. Ensure a clean study environment with everything that is needed for the task, within easy reach.

Take time out
Find an activity that you find relaxing and work some time for it into your schedule. This can be as simple as doing some deep breathing, listening to music or going for a walk.

Eat, sleep and exercise
At times of increased stress it is particularly important to eat a well-balanced diet and get at least eight hours of sleep. Exercise maintains muscle, bone and brain health and should be taken regularly to keep stress levels in check.

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Topics: Parenting tips, Trinity difference, Pastoral care, Study tips, Mental health