CHS Students Share Their Approaches to De-stressing and Maintaining Good Mental Health

Experts commonly suggest practicing mindfulness to improve mental health, as taking a moment to clear one’s mind can reduce stress.

Blot graphic by Julia Perconti and Adriana Poznanski

Experts commonly suggest practicing mindfulness to improve mental health, as taking a moment to clear one’s mind can reduce stress.

Ainsley Vetter and Zaina Saif

Hundreds of students walk the halls of CHS everyday and, on the outside, it may look like they’re all fine; in reality, everyone is trying to cope with their own stresses. Minds are racing with countless thoughts about the tests they have to take and the homework that is piling up and many aren’t aware of how they should cope with this stress. Mental health is extremely important, so experts have given a plethora of tips to help students keep their minds at ease. 

Experts commonly suggest practicing mindfulness to improve mental health, as taking a moment to clear one’s mind can reduce stress. At CHS, students have the opportunity to learn about mindfulness as part of the gym and health curriculum. “Mindfulness has been being taught in one way or another at CHS for years now, we’ve had guest speakers come in, I’ve done stuff, Mrs. Morgan’s done stuff in health,” CHS fitness teacher Virginia Clevenger said. Clevenger went on to explain how the CHS faculty is very aware of mindfulness and they want students to have access to these resources. 

CHS students also have their own unique strategies on how they improve their mental health. “When I get stressed out, I like to watch Netflix and eat ice cream in bed,” freshman Hilary Garrett of Manasquan said. “Or if it’s a weekend, I would hang out with friends.” 

Other students have taken a different approach, “I like to listen to music a lot. It makes me feel calmer and helps me focus when I’m stressing about homework or schoolwork. However, I try to stay free spirited in most situations,” freshman Ayumi Sykes of Tinton Falls said. She explained that developing the “it mentality” has helped her tremendously. Ever since she realized that there are some things she can’t control in life, she tries her best not to worry too much about it and “love on”. 

Many teenagers cope with stress by unwinding themselves, whether it’s by scrolling through social media, watching a favorite show or listening to music. But in situations when a student’s mental health is suffering greatly, college websites recommend reaching out and finding someone to talk to. Talking to a guidance counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, family member or even a friend can be a good way to cope with anxiety and stress. 

Cornell University emphasizes the importance of sleep and exercise. The school mentions on their website that getting the proper amount of sleep improves both academics and mental health while exercise stimulates the production of hormones that trigger positive feelings.

CHS does not take the topic of mental health lightly. Seniors met with Student Assistance Coordinator Darlene Lewis on November 18th and November 20th to learn how to improve their mental health. Students learned about how the brain worked, performed breathing exercises and discovered the healing effects of aromatherapy. 

 “I’m not usually one for like essential oils and stuff but it was pretty relaxing,” senior Julia Rocco of Marlboro said about her experience. “I wasn’t expecting a lot when I walked in there but the tips were actually pretty decent,” senior Kaitlyn Magnin of Neptune said, agreeing with Rocco. The two were positive about the experience, but not all students found it helpful. 

“I liked the lavender, but I don’t think it really helped me,” stated senior Maeve Miller of Brielle. 

High school can be a stressful time. The pressure to maintain good grades and get into a dream college is constantly weighing down on students, all while they attempt to balance everything else life is throwing at them. Senior Serena Khan of Union Beach shared her view on mental health, “A student having a healthy mindset will help them have a successful life.”