Stress is common to people, young and old. We experience everyday stress virtually from everything we do. However, stress has become more prevalent among teenagers.
Given the physical and emotional demands of their schoolwork, athletics, home chores, and family and peers, teenagers usually find themselves struggling to maintain balance. Hence, the inability to cope with these demands is what primarily causes stress among teenagers.
Causes of Stress
Here are some of the common causes of teenage stress:
Academic expectations (too many school activities at one time, the need to please parents with high grades or excellent athletic performance)
Self-image issues and adaptation to bodily changes (the physical and emotional aspects of the body’s transition from childhood to adulthood)
Living environment (is the neighborhood safe or not? Is the family constantly moving from one neighborhood to another, causing adjustment problems)
Family conflicts (separation or annulment of parents, death, financial problems, abuse, etc.)
Peers (the need to belong)
The typical reaction of teenagers to these life events and situations is the flight or fight response. Due to the overwhelming physical and emotional demands that they face, their bodies tend to exhibit faster heart rate, increased blood flow, shallow breathing and a sense of dread or desire to escape, which are all common attributes of stress.
Here are some of the signs that youngsters are already suffering from overload (stress):
Headaches, stomachaches or hyperacidity, muscle pains, chronic or unrelieved fatigue and other physical illnesses
Being withdrawn from the activities and people that they like (shutting down)
Anxiety, chronic feeling of hopelessness, worry or nervousness
Difficulty sleeping and eating
Difficulty in maintaining focus and concentration
Stress Management Skills
Teaching stress coping or management skills such as meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques to teens is important in promoting positive responses to teenage stresses. Here are other tips in managing and controlling teenage stresses:
Help teens set realistic expectations and break all tasks into small and more attainable ones.
They should refrain from negative self-talk, and learn to be optimistic.
Prepare for stressful situations; like rehearsing their reports and speeches before coming to class.
Build a network of friends who can help them cope with stresses in positive ways.
Also, teenagers can choose to slow down, exercise and get ample rest, and eat well to effectively manage stress. Even if the day is filled with school activities and chores, allow them to take time to do something that they like or love to do. Visit this website for excellent advice on how to help teens deal with stress and anger.
Basketball Game Since stress typically produces chemicals that cause the body to feel edgy and tense, doing exercises keeps those chemicals off and relieves muscle tension.
Another benefit is that exercising allows the teen to get a good night’s sleep, thus waking up feeling refreshed and relaxed the next day.
Skipping meals makes any student dull and very much stressed. Dieting can be done healthily, without compromising the calories that one needs to get on with the day. Teens should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and eat breakfast.
Actually, stress helps maintain alertness, giving teenagers normal stimulation for doing their daily activities. Low levels of stress are actually good. It only becomes a point of concern when it starts causing ill-feelings and discomfort, once it limits an individual’s ability to perform his daily tasks well. At any age, learning to cope with stress is important in keeping stress levels manageable.