The Skinny on Stress


Levi Meir Clancy

Balance is key to managing stress. Photo used with permission from Unsplash.

In an IB school, being unable to manage your stress can be extremely overwhelming and more time consuming than the actual work you’re facing. Emotional issues such as grief, depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, and low self-esteem are all examples and contributions of unhealthy stress. Contrary to that, examples of healthy stress include happiness and excitement. The right amount of healthy stress can actually improve performance and health, and can be beneficial to students.
One student, Valentina Theil, a junior here at CDS, rated her stress out of 10 saying it was “Probably a 7 ½.” Like many other students, most of her school-related stress comes from the increase in school work once students transition into the DP program.
It can be difficult to distinguish healthy stress from unhealthy stress. Bella Benedetti, a sophomore, talked with us about her stress saying, “I wouldn’t say it’s healthy but I wouldn’t say it’s unhealthy either, and my way of coping is just remembering that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t do a certain thing.” Valentina added onto this by saying, “There’s some things that are going to get missed, and there’s sometimes that you will have struggles, but people such as my friends are a really good support system.” These students, one in DP and one in MYP, both said their stress levels were decently high but have found ways to grow and cope.
When asked about which type of stress is more common, CDS’ upper school counselor, Mr. Miller stated, “I have seen more unhealthy stress, so from 9th grade all the way up to seniors. They have reached out to talk about stress, and the thing I have noticed the most is students overcommitted to things.” Miller went on to explain how many students are committed to a lot of things outside of school which create stress and panic in their everyday life.
Examples of positive coping mechanisms students can use for managing stress include: acknowledging the stress and anxiety and realizing they have dealt with this before, and developing that stress into positive and productive habits.
Miller said, “When we are stressed in an unhealthy way, sometimes that also triggers anxiety, and that’s living in a space where things are just unmanageable and out of your control. If your emotional state is heightened it’s hard for you to think logically. A lot of times all you have to do is lean back those emotions to a more manageable level, and that’s through mindfulness.” His take on stress in the CDS community makes him one of the many great contacts and support personnel students have access to when the stress is too much – or with any other problems. Overall, managing unhealthy stress, and learning how to make it healthy is crucial to having a wholesome body and mind.