Here's What Really Happens To Your Body When You're Stressed About School

11 May 2017, 15:27

Woman at a computer in frustration
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Your school stress is doing more damage than you think.

Getting through education can be one of the most stress-making experiences you go through. Your school stress can also have an intense impact on your body. Here's how your body can react to a hectic and stressful school schedule. 

1) Do you ever wonder why you always seem to be sick during finals week? 

Stress can have a huge impact on your immune system. Aside from poor sleep and questionable eating habits, stress can also cause your body to become ineffectual when fighting viruses or illnesses. That may be the reason for a sudden onset case of the sniffles during exam season. 

via giphy

2) Why do you feel butterflies in your stomach before a test? 

We all get nervous when there is a big exam, but the reason you feel butterflies in your stomach isn't just down to a case of the nerves. When you get stressed, that tends to trigger a "fight or flight" response in your brain. Even if you're not running for the hills, your body still gets the message from your brain that it's seriously freaking out. During that time, your brain can become acutely aware of your body's functions. This is what can cause a feeling of butterflies or even nausea. 

3) Why you might feel like your mental health is deteriorating.

School stress is a known trigger for latent or even previously non-existent mental health issues. Stress hormones released by our bodies when we're particularly under pressure can make us moody, reactionary, and unhappy. It's not your fault and it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. Unfortunately, our brains have a way of reacting to outside influences like school and work. 


4) Why it feels like you've dropped 5 pounds during finals week. 

Stress can cause increased fuel consumption in your body. So, even when it doesn't feel like you're physically exerting yourself, stress hormones can send a signal to your body to increase your metabolism. That, combined with the fact that studying can cause you to forget to eat on time and you may find yourself with some inexplicable weight loss around exam time.  

5) Does your sex drive feel way off? 

Okay, sex is fun but have you noticed that the prospect of intimacy is less exciting when you're under stress? That's not just because you have two papers to write before tomorrow morning. The pesky stress hormone (cortisol) can dampen your sex drive if elevated for long periods of time. 

6) Is your period missing? 

Increased school stress can affect people with even the most regular cycle. That's because when you're under a lot of pressure, your stress hormones can tell your brain not to product estrogen. Without estrogen your period could be seriously delayed or put on pause for the month. This may seem like an ok stress side effect but, trust me, better the devil you know. 

You're probably a super ambitious student who wants to kick your exams in the ass but remember to drink water, get rest, and eat proper meals as a way to keep stress hormones from derailing your body's functions.

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