School Pressure Getting to You?
Exams, essay assignments, after-school clubs, athletics—it’s a lot to handle. For some students, there’s so much pressure to succeed it can make your head spin and leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. I know from personal experience what it feels like to be burnt out—when you’ve been working for so many hours that you can’t think straight anymore … and you still have more work to do.
Here are a few tips from my book Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades to help you avoid getting caught up in the pressure cooker.
1. Accept your limitations and know when enough is enough.
Learn to be okay with not being able to be a superhuman and don’t expect perfection from yourself. It’s bad enough that your teachers are putting a lot of pressure on you. Don’t make it worse by putting added pressure on yourself.
2. Try to step back, take a break, and relax.
Your best work is done when you’re well-rested and relaxed. In fact, too much stress releases chemicals in your brain that reduce your cognitive performance and lower your ability to problem-solve. I know it can be hard to take a break, but your best really requires rest. Remind yourself that this is not an excuse to procrastinate or not do work but permission to prevent burnout.
3. Be selective with outside activities.
Time management is a very important factor in avoiding burnout. Figure out what things are most important to you and put them in your schedule. If an extracurricular activity is just adding more stress for you, skip it.
4. Don’t ignore real anxiety.
A certain amount of anxiety is healthy and necessary in order to help us keep up with all of our school demands and stay out of the principal’s office, but the unremitting worry is not normal and can be very distressing. What if the pressure at school gets to be too much for you? If you’re filled with anxiety and nervousness on a daily basis, if you’re having panic attacks, or if you feel nauseated at the thought of taking a test, it’s time to do something about it.
Anxiety is real and it can be debilitating. Brain scan studies using SPECT imaging technology show that anxiety is often associated with overactivity in a variety of brain regions, including the basal ganglia, amygdala, and insular cortex. People with anxiety also tend to have low levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. Seeking treatment for anxiety can help you become a more successful student, but it’s important to make sure you get the right diagnosis. There are 7 different types of anxiety and depression and getting the right treatment plan for your type is the key to feeling better fast.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades is written by psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and relies on the latest neuroscience and leading-edge brain imaging to show students of all ages how to strengthen the ultimate study buddy—their brain—to be more successful in school. Order your copy here.
If anxiety is keeping you (or your child) from performing up to your potential, it’s time to seek help. At Amen Clinics, we use brain imaging technology called SPECT to identify brain patterns associated with anxiety and other underlying brain issues as part of a comprehensive evaluation. With this brain-body approach, we have created personalized treatment plans that have helped thousands of anxious students calm their nerves, improve their outlook, and boost their grades. Speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.