Did your high school offer free massages by licensed massage therapists?
That's just one way a number of high schools across the country are trying to address an epidemic of stressed-out, overwhelmed students. Because statistics show that 1 in 10 teens suffer from an anxiety disorder, and the number of teens hospitalized for stress, anxiety and panic attacks is on the rise.
Experts say a lot of teens feel extreme pressure to keep their grades up, participate in sports and clubs, and juggle an after-school job. Teens feel more pressure than ever to be competitive and stand out to college recruiters and employers. Plus, a lot of teens have 4 hours or more of homework a night – which leaves no time for relaxing at home. So schools are taking action and giving students ways to de-stress:
For example, in Maine, some high schools have converted classrooms into "wellness rooms" where professionals offer massage therapy, reflexology and yoga classes, all free of charge. And science shows these methods work, because they flood your body with calming chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin.
Another way high schools are helping students relax: Giving them free time, like 20 minute free periods between classes, where teens can talk with friends, nap or play video games. Other schools are going homework-free on certain nights to give teens more time to unwind at home.
And some schools are bringing in therapy dogs. One Chicago high school recently started having a golden retriever named Junie visit students during class. Because studies show that just being in the same room with a dog can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.