It is widely known that students at Palo Alto High School suffer from stress and anxiety. Knowing that students are taking rigorous courses, managing countless of hours of homework every night while keeping up with extracurriculars, administration has tried their hardest to find solutions to combat the issues regarding stress while also keeping Paly’s academics top-tier.
Many of these solutions have included “No Homework Nights,” creating a Wellness Center in the office and changing the bell schedule.
Although all of these changes that attempt to solve the looming stress dilemma are good ideas, they are only temporary resolutions to fundamental issues. The best answers to these problems include meditation and finding one’s inner peace.
Having nights without homework is not to be understated. Following a stressful week of school, getting a break even for a short amount of time is relaxing. However, the homework and stress return the next week just as before.
The Wellness Center has been one of the more successful aspects Paly has incorporated into its campus. With free tea, magic sand and a cozy place to relax, it has truly given students a chance to wind down from a stressful day.
It also gives students easier access to counselors and the support that they may need, but have not reached out for. However, it hasn’t been advertised enough, and many students don’t take full advantage of the services it has to offer.
Recently, Paly created a bell schedule committee in an attempt to create a less stressful, more student-oriented schedule for the next school year. For example, many students complain about C days, a day that remains stressful for students because of the increased levels of homework due that day and the rushed pace of the schedule.
This committee proposed three new plans for next year’s schedule, and students had an opportunity to voice their input through an online survey on Schoology.
One of the bell schedule changes included an option of starting school an hour later, giving students an extra hour of sleep. This is not an effective solution because it would only cause students to sleep later, not decrease their stress.
As a student who recently discovered meditating and the wonders it performs in terms of reducing anxiety, I am a strong advocate for all students to try it out. There are both physical and mental benefits to the practice. Although it isn’t mainstream and often looked at in a weird, hippie way, there are many people around the world who practice it. Studies have shown that meditation is effective because it helps your mind and breath work in tandem; when your breath slows down, your brain waves also begin to slow down, leading to a more relaxed state of mind.
The measures Paly has taken to reduce student stress have been effective but temporary solutions. In order to properly decrease anxiety in the community, students should be exposed to meditation in order to help them find their inner peace.