How to Deal with Stress


Stress is defined as the way our bodies react to different situations. Since adolescence is a period of significant hardship and many teens are under more stress than at any other time, especially during this time period.

Some Factors for teenage stress is:

  • Deciding on what career to chose and keeping there grades up
  • Pressure to change there clothing style
  • Peer Pressure to try drugs, alcohol or sex
  • Pressure to fit in with peer groups and measure up to others
  • bodily changes
  • family and peer conflicts
  • Lack of proper time management

It is very important for teens to learn to handle stress, because stress that is not handled effectively may lead to problems, including physical illness, anxiety or depression, which can result in need for professional help.

Signs that a teen is over stressed:

  • increased physical illness (headaches, stomachaches, muscle pains, chronic fatigue)
  • “shutting down” and withdrawal from people and activities
  • increased anger or irritable lashing out at others
  • increased tearfulness and feelings of hopelessness
  • chronic feelings of worry and nervousness
  • difficulty sleeping and eating
  • difficulty concentrating

Our body’s natural response to life when we are overwhelmed is the “fight or flight” response, which may produce a faster heart rate, increased blood flow, shallow breathing, a sense of either fighting the situation or running. However, teens can teach themselves to perceive life challenges as being within their power to change and can even change their body’s reactions to such events, promoting a lower heart rate, deeper breathing, clearer thinking and feelings of calmness and control. There are many stress management skills that promote the relaxation response.

Tips for managing stress:

  • Taking deep breaths followed by thoughts of being in control
  • Relaxing main muscles in the body
  • Setting small goals and breaking tasks into smaller manageable parts
  • Exercising and eating regular meals, and avoiding excessive caffeine
  • Focusing on things you can control and letting go of things you cannot control
  • Rehearsing and practicing feared situations
  • Talking about problems with others, including parents, older adults and friends
  • Lowering unrealistic expectations
  • Scheduling breaks and enjoyable activities, such as music, art, sports, socializing
  • Accepting yourself as you are and identifying unique strengths and building on them, but realizing no one is perfect!

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