The American Psychological Association for Stress has released data showing that the stress experienced by teens almost matches that of adults’. It has also identified that teens’ stress levels have not only impacted them physically but also mentally as well.
Additionally, a study done recently in Australia revealed that about 40-50% of 15 to 19-year-old teenagers have difficulty coping with their stress.
Some Signs Of Teen Stress
- Behavioral Changes. As with adults, teen stress obviously affects their behavior. Most, if not all, of them, have difficulty maintaining regular sleeping hours – meaning that they either sleep too little or too much. They often feel jittery and don’t seem to be as social as they used to be. Drug or alcohol abuse is also one of the frequent signs that teens are stressed out.
- Physical Changes. Because they are often down and out, they are vulnerable to getting sick and acquiring cough, colds, and other illnesses. Stomachaches and headaches are common complaints, including shoulder and jaw pain. Additionally, the decreased immune system causes them to feel nauseated and fatigued often.
- Emotional Changes. A survey involving 30 teenagers showed that 20 of these teenagers felt hopeless, depressed, and sad. They said they are not involved in social media as much anymore, and they also don’t go out with friends as usual. They are not relaxed and are frequently anxious.
Here are the things that counselors say about stress:
- “While your body’s natural defenses are equipped to handle small and common periods of stress, chronic stress has been known to lead to high blood pressure, anxiety, obesity, and insomnia”- Coral Arvon, LMFT, LCSW
- “Research shows us that stress can truly impact our sleep cycle in profound ways.” – Christie Tcharkhoutian, LMFT
- “Coping strategies help us to reduce our discomfort in the immediate moment; and a longer-term plan helps us to resolve the root of the stressor.” – Stephanie Dobbin, LMFT, CGP
Causes Of Teen Stress
So what are the common triggers that parents and guardians need to be aware of? Here, we will look into the 4 possible sources of teen stress.
- Stress From Society. Most likely, parents know how much significance teens place on their social life. Their friends and school buddies are a huge part of them, and it is in finding the right ‘clan’ and keeping it peaceful and fun that can sometimes be a cause of stress for them. It means a lot to a teenager who’s new in school to be accepted into a prominent tribe, but it can also be devastatingly stressful if he isn’t.
Bullying and peer pressure are also issues that greatly impact a teen’s social stature. A lot of teenagers struggle to be someone they’re not just because they can’t afford to lose established friendships. Consequently, they try to please their peers by changing themselves – and eventually losing themselves in the end.
- Stress From School Issues. Academic stress is mostly rooted from the teen’s inability to manage his time, from studying for tests, attending meetings and extracurriculars, to their attempts of satisfying their parents and teachers.
- Major Life Changes. These include but not are limited to:
Moving to a different state or country
The divorce of parents or an additional member to the family
Starting a new school and leaving old schoolmates and friends behind
Teenage pregnancy and teenage marriage
- Traumatizing Events. Some of us may not be aware that our own teenagers are affected by what’s happening around them – near or far. Terrorism in France, Tsunami in Thailand, or shooting incidents in the neighborhood may cause them stress and worry for their lives and of their loved ones’.
Avoiding The Triggers
If you are a parent of a troubled teen, or if you are THE troubled teen this article is talking about, then perhaps you can try doing these simple stress boosters.
- Get enough sleep. Yes, like 6 to 8 hours would be a healthy range.
- Go out with friends and sometimes go out by yourself. Me time is very important to keep in touch with yourself and your life goals.
- Be physically active. Exercise being very good for the body is an understatement. It is very good for the mind and soul as well. It promotes relaxation, which certainly decreases the risk of being stressed.
- Value yourself. When you are not fueled with enough self-esteem, you are immediately a target of stress, teenagers in particular, because they are in a critical phase of their lives where they can be vulnerable to anything.
However, if you arm yourself with a positive outlook and a brimming self-confidence, you are capable of facing different types of stress head-on – and overcoming them one way or another.