As the school year comes to a close, the most dreaded time for a Jefferson student also draws near: AP and final exam weeks. Students can be seen during this time of year furiously flipping through review books from when they first arrive at school to when they take the bus home.
Since last year, however, Active Minds has partnered up with the Josh Anderson Foundation to create the Stress Less, Laugh More initiative to provide students with mental health resources and fun activities throughout the week before the AP exam weeks. The Josh Anderson Foundation was started in honor of Joshua Lee Anderson, a student at South Lakes High School who committed suicide in 2009. Since then, the foundation has partnered with Active Minds clubs to raise awareness of mental health issues in teens.
President of Active Minds senior Saniya Suri began the Stress Less, Laugh More week at Jefferson last year.
“We’re hoping this week reminds students that stress needs to be balanced with relaxation and down time and that life isn’t a race,” Suri said. “Especially during this time of year, we all need to take a step back, relax and let go of the stress.”
To inform students of the importance of coping with stress and to help them all relax before the AP weeks, Active Minds has planned various activities. On Monday, Suri and other Active Minds members handed out food for students in the morning and buttons reminding them to laugh more. They also presented a TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” by Shawn Achor during eighth period to kick off the week of events.
The TED Talk pointed out that in the state of happiness or positive emotions, humans are more successful, do significantly better and are more likely to achieve their goals compared to when they are stressed or in a negative state of mind. “I think it was a great kickoff to things because it showed scientific evidence, something TJ students are familiar with, to demonstrate the exact message Active Minds is trying to convey this week,” Suri said.
Also on Monday, counselor Andrea Smith manned a limbo pole while playing the traditional limbo dance music as accompaniment. Students stopped by all day to try to get under the pole.
This year, to make things a little different from last year’s Stress Less, Laugh More week, Active Minds is focusing on a campus-wide involvement by incorporating other clubs and staff members. On Tuesday, the club handed out stress balls made by members of Keyettes. Teachers have also been asked to tell jokes and remind their students to relax.
There will continue to be more activities such as yoga, water balloon fights, staff members in funny costumes, members of choir and drama acting and signing during classes, finger painting and much more, all to remind the Jefferson community to stress less and laugh more.