Published on Monday, April 14, 2014 by Emily Nash
Teenagers, like adults, get stressed every now and then. But just how stressed is our generation? Recent studies show that about a quarter of teens experience “extreme stress”. In fact, the American Psychological Association determined through a survey that teens in the U.S. are generally experiencing higher stress levels than adults.
What exactly are teenagers so stressed about anyway? Frankly, the list could go on forever, but most of us would say – and would be backed by recent research – that the most stressful factor in the lives of teenagers is school.
A multitude of students are heavily involved in extracurricular activities, and are trying their hardest to keep their GPA up. On top of that most feel pressure from their parents to succeed in everything they do. Even if students are not in a lot of extracurricular activities, the ones taking higher-level classes and who are looking to go to a prestigious university take schoolwork extremely seriously.
Aside from school, teens face obstacles which include insecurities, relationships, hormonal changes, trouble at home, financial stress, etc. Add these problems with the stress from school, and what do you get? A strenuous, unhealthy lifestyle.
Too much stress can result in bad eating habits, lack of sleep, headaches, and additionally messes with mental health, causing irritability, discouragement, overwhelment, anxiety, and even depression.
Most teens don’t cope with stress very well. Some may turn to drug or alcohol abuse and eventually begin to neglect their responsibilities, while others will ignore their stress and overwork themselves until they eventually have a melt down. Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, but there are healthier alternatives than the aforementioned.
For one, obtaining a regular, healthy eating schedule and exercising helps keep hormonal levels more stable and gives you more energy. Simply eating three meals a day and going on an evening walk can help you feel more balanced. If you feel like you’re starting to have a panic attack, focus on breathing and remind yourself that ultimately, what you’re worried about in that moment probably won’t matter in the long wrong run. Relaxation exercises such as yoga and meditation are also good ways to help you stay calm in those stressful situations.
Talk about your stress. Whether it be with friends, parents, or any other trusted adult, informing someone about what’s going on in your life can take a huge weight off of your shoulders and helps you feel less alone. If you feel like you need to, talk to your parents about possibly seeing a therapist for a while; remember, just because you talk to a counselor doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
Try solving problems rather than ignoring them. Stay organized, try to work on those rocky relationships which are commonly experienced in teenage years, and face other obstacles as they come. Ignoring problems will only build on your stress.
Keep positive thoughts and influences in your life. If possible, cut out some of the activities that cause the most stress if those activities are not going to benefit you in the future. Fill your life with people who will encourage you rather than make you feel bad about yourself. And, most importantly, remind yourself daily that you are good enough and that whatever you’re stressed about now will soon be resolved.
Ultimately, remember that the amount of stress you experience now is mostly up to you. Sure, a certain amount of stress will always be associated with life – whether you’re young or old – but it is completely up to the individual to keep that stress under control.