Just like adults, teenagers get stressed out too. Just because they don’t have bills to pay or families to take care of doesn’t mean they can’t get overwhelmed. According to research, the number one cause of stress among teenagers is school. Other possible causes include:
- Pressure from parents – Parents have a lot of expectations on their kids. Teens who are afraid to disappoint their folks can end up feeling stressed out.
- Internal pressure – Teenagers who are constantly comparing themselves to others may feel they don’t measure up to their peers who get better grades, dress better, or look more attractive.
- Pressure from friends – Peers can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on teenagers who want to fit in or feel accepted.
- Family-related problems such as parents fighting or separating can also cause untold emotional toil and frustration on teens.
- Bullying, whether physical or psychological, is a major cause of stress among teens and can lead to depression or worse, suicide.
- Adolescent teens may worry about the changes going on in their bodies and the feelings of sexual attraction towards the opposite sex.
- The transition from being a child under a parent’s authority to becoming independent and learning to make your own decisions can be both confusing and challenging. It can cause a lot of stress and frustration among young adults.
Is All Stress Bad?
Although stress can cause significant physical and mental damage in teenagers, small doses of it can be helpful. They can keep them on their toes and help them tackle tough situations. Stress sends signals to the body and enables you to react appropriately when faced with an emergency. However, if you are unable to cope with stress, it can overwhelm you and end up crippling you mentally and physically.
How can Teenagers Cope with Stress?
Stress makes teenagers feel overwhelmed and moody. At this point, they are ready to do anything to make themselves feel better. It leaves them susceptible to peer pressure and negative stress coping strategies including Drugs and alcohol, sex, stress eating, etc. These strategies act as quick fixes, but they are incredibly harmful to a teenager in the long run. Fortunately, there are many alternative healthy ways that teenagers can use to deal with stress.
1. Tackling the issue head-on
When faced with a tough situation, it is easy to avoid or postpone the problem, but this only aggravates the matter. It is better to meet the issue head-on than to keep piling up the pressure. If you’re having trouble studying for a test or accomplishing a task, break the work down into small pieces and tackle them one at a time; looking at the whole messy picture can be overwhelming. If you have many tasks to accomplish, make a list of everything you need to do and set timelines. Knowing that you have enough time to accomplish every single task will help take the edge off.
When we are stressed, the body releases hormones to help us deal with the emergency (whether real or not). Working out is a great stress reliever since it helps the body to use up these stress hormones. The best exercises usually have a social component. They include sporting activities such as swimming and football, dancing, hiking, etc.
3. Eat healthy foods
Healthy eating keeps our bodies and minds strong, but it also helps keep your mood steady. If your diet consists of junk food, you will experience high and low energy levels throughout the day. Healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will keep you alert and help you manage your stress better.
4. Get plenty of sleep
Adequate sleep helps your body and mind to relax and reboot. You will have trouble controlling your mood if you feel tired all the time. Avoid exercising right before bedtime since you sleep much faster when your body has cooled down. Ensure you use your bed for sleeping; don’t use up your bedtime thinking about your problems, watching TV, reading or using your phone.
5. Learn to let go
Sometimes the problems you’re facing are beyond your control, and it’s better to give in than to keep fighting. There will always be tests in school, so it’s better to study than to keep stressing over them. Your parents will always be on your back, at least as long as you’re still living under their roof; try acting more responsible, and they might just cut you off some slack.
6. Separate the real from imagined
Even a small issue can make the body react like there is a real impending danger, so it is essential to figure out whether there is a real emergency or the body is just overacting. If the mind is blowing things out of proportion, you can solve the problem by replacing those negative thoughts with positive thinking. You may also try talking to a friend, teacher or your parent.
7. Avoid stressful situations
Sometimes we know what we are getting ourselves into but still go ahead anyway. You know the friends that are likely to get you in trouble, situations that might upset you and decisions that may come back to haunt you. It is better to avoid these stressful events instead of dealing with the repercussions.
Teenagers also experience stressful situations. They can adopt negative coping strategies like drugs and alcohol, sex, or violence in an attempt to make themselves feel better. But these are only quick fixes that may have devastating consequences in the future. Teenagers can cope with stress by employing the healthy strategies listed above. But if the situation seems to get out of hand, it is better to seek professional help.