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Stress Management Strategies at Rossmoyne Senior High School (RSHS)

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Stress is something that everyone experiences in their daily life. Stress is a heightened sense of anxiety, caused by specific situations and pressures. These circumstances and tensions are commonly known as stressors and can vary from person – to – person. Stressors can be internal or external and are generally experienced as negative rather than a positive feeling. Positive stressors or Eustress as they are commonly known as are short-term and tend to motivate us and are perceived to be within our coping abilities resulting in improvement and change. Examples of positive stressors include going on a vacation, learning a new hobby or sport, moving houses etc. The more common type of stress, however, is negative stress or distress. Distress can be short or long term and in contrast to Eustress, is perceived to exceed our coping ability. Upcoming exams, deadlines, family issues, poor performance in certain subjects are all examples of distress and are also a few examples of stress that students in Rossmoyne SHS face regularly.

Approximately 47% of Australian students’ experience stress daily resulting in a decrease of student motivation and increases the chance of school dropouts, poorer academic achievement and a greater chance of risky behaviour in young Australians and society. With a growing rate of students’ experiencing stress daily, stress management strategies are a must for Rossmoyne SHS students and community as this would help in developing resilience and coping skills for stress. The expected beneficial outcomes of practising stress management strategies include stable moods, clearer thoughts, improvement in relationships and decreasing the risk of mental and physical illness for Rossmoyne SHS students and community.

Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations, both real and perceived. These reactions can be physical, social and emotional and can have consequences that affect the body physically and mentally. A few physical consequences of stress include insomnia, low energy levels, aches and pains, rapid heart rate, sweating, high blood pressure, obesity, shaking and tension. Stress affects our balance of hormones impacting in social and behavioural consequences in our bodies. Examples of social and behavioural consequences include isolation, depression, aggressive feelings and behaviours, difficulties in relationships and drug or alcohol misuse. Along with stress comes unpredictable moods and other emotional consequences. Examples of these consequences are frustration, anger, extreme mood swings, defensiveness, sadness and fear. Many students in our school suffer from stress and these consequences have a serious impact on students at Rossmoyne, indicating that we need to educate the students at the school on how to cope and overcome stress.

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Common causes of stress that students experience at Rossmoyne are a heavy workload, social pressure and extracurricular classes. Heavy workload and meeting deadlines create a large amount of stress for students making them feel overwhelmed and frustrated resulting in an increase of difficulty for the child to fully understand all the topics to the fullest. The main cause for the heavy workload is due to the lack of communication between teachers and the clash of each teacher giving a large pile of work for the student to get done all on similar due dates. All teachers in Rossmoyne have high expectations for each student to perform well, but due to the amount of the workload we students receive, students find it hard to meet all those expectations resulting in the student being negatively stressed. Social pressure is another cause of stress that students experience in Rossmoyne SHS. Students in high school place a high value on their social lives and finding and keeping your friend groups can be very stressful to many students. High school students are at that age where they are learning and changing, both physically and mentally. With their mind and body changing, many teens engage in behaviour outside of their comfort zones to appease to their peers. Another cause of stress that students experience at Rossmoyne is being in extracurricular activities and due to the increased difficulty of the task and the amount of time we must put in the activity, this results in students being stressed. Many of these activities are very competitive, requiring practice and participation and constant commitment to coaches, teachers, teammates and peers. The students experience stress not only because they constantly push themselves to be the best but also because their activities are often very public events causing them to be disappointed in themselves, become stressed and blamed/feel a failure when they make a mistake.

Two homeroom activities that allow students to practise and learn about stress management techniques are 20-minute meditation and positive thinking skills. When our bodies are exposed to a sudden stress or threat, we respond with a characteristic ‘fight or flight’ response. The “fight or flight” response refers to the days of the cavemen where when you were faced with danger, your instincts would either tell you to either fight through the problem or run away from it. Numerous studies have shown that meditation is an effective stress management tool, that allows the mind to have more capacity to manage stress. Meditation is known for reversing the effects of the stress response (fight or flight). When meditating, the body experiences many healing effects such as a decrease in heart rate, normalisation of blood pressure, reduced production of stress hormones and more efficient oxygen use by the body. A 20-minute meditation session – that can be found online (YouTube) – during homeroom will allow the students to practice stress coping skills and leave the students feeling relieved and less stressed about situations and pressures that they were experiencing that day.

Another activity which could be used during homeroom, which allows students to learn about stress management, is positive thinking motivation. For this task, students will be given a scrap piece of paper each, where they write three negative skills/beliefs/thoughts that they have. They will then receive an A5 piece of card where they write three affirmations in bold, e.g. I AM INTELLIGENT, I AM WORTHY, I AM IMPORTANT etc. The students are then asked to decorate the piece of card with self – motivating colours, take it home and put in a place where they are constantly reminded of it – like their study area/table. Finally, the students will then tear up the scrap piece of paper, where they wrote their three negative skills, and toss it into the bin. Students physically remove the negative thoughts from their head and instead focus on the positive. This also makes the students feel motivated and increases their self-esteem. Negative thoughts clutter the mind resulting in stress and directly contribute to feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. This activity allows students to practice and learn about stress management and can be easily done during homeroom.

Therefore, I believe more stress management strategies are critical to supporting the young students of Rossmoyne SHS students and enhance our school community.

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Stress Management Strategies at Rossmoyne Senior High School (RSHS). (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Stress Management Strategies at Rossmoyne Senior High School (RSHS).” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
Stress Management Strategies at Rossmoyne Senior High School (RSHS). [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Stress Management Strategies at Rossmoyne Senior High School (RSHS) [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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