How to Effectively Handle Stress in Adolescence : Just like adults, teenagers also experience stress. The transition from childhood to adulthood is in itself stressful because it comes with physical and emotional changes and more responsibility. Teen stress is an issue of concern, and how they handle it could have both short-term and long-term impacts on their emotional and physical health.
According to a recent stress report by the American Psychological Association, teen stress is at an all-time high , even though most teens report healthy. Teens stress levels rival that of adults. Often, the condition goes undiagnosed, which has adverse consequences on the teen’s mental health and physical health.
More teens are experiencing difficulties coping with their school, social, and family life simply because they are stress, but don’t know it. Many of them end up making poor decisions that have long-term implications.
Stress Symptoms in Adolescents
Indeed, some stress in teens is good since it motivates them to pursue their goals. However, if your teen starts exhibiting some symptom, the stress may be overwhelming. Here are some common stress symptoms to watch out for.
- Frequent complains of muscle pain, fatigue, and headaches
- Withdrawal from activities they previously enjoyed
- Chronic nervousness and anxiety
- Emotional instability
- Sudden changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Experimentation with alcohol or drugs
- Difficulty concentrating
What Causes Teen Stress?
Adolescent stress can be caused by:
- School and social pressure
- The cognitive, emotional, and physical changes of puberty
- Family conflicts
- Bullying and exposure to sexual harassment and violence
- Changing schools
- Family financial problems
If they fail to receive the help they deserve at this sensitive stage of their lives, teens can get overwhelmed with stress. This can lead to withdrawal, anxiety , aggression, poor coping skills, drug and alcohol abuse, and physical illness.
Strategies for Managing Adolescent Stress
According to a report by the American Psychological Association, teens can cope with stress by:
Getting Enough Sleep
A lot happens in teens’ lives. Between juggling homework, hanging out with friends, and engaging in their favorite sports, getting a good night’s sleep can be relegated to the back burner. This can increase their anxiety and stress levels, thus affecting different aspects of their lives. A simple strategy for managing stress symptoms amongst teens is encouraging them to get enough sleep.
Focus on Their Strengths
Often, adolescents get stressed when they feel they can’t measure up to standards set for them by their teachers, parents, peers, and society in general. Rather than focusing on their weaknesses, teens should be encouraged to focus on their strengths. This will fortify their strength areas all the more besides keeping their stress in perspective.
Engaging in Physical Activities
Idleness is a leading cause of stress. On the other hand, physical activity is an effective stress buster . Thus, teens should be encouraged to regularly engage in physical activities since it keeps their minds off the things that stress them. In particular, they should engage in physical activities that have a social element, including team sports.
If a teen doesn’t enjoy physical activities , he/she should engage in things that bring them joy. That could be going out for a movie, drawing, or listening to music. Engaging in these activities when stressed will make them feel calmer.
Talking to Someone
As the old saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem half-solved.” It’s easier for teens to handle stress if they have someone to talk to about their worries. It’s much easier to handle stress when they have someone to lend a helping hand. In this regard, teens should be encouraged to feel free to talk to their parents, teachers, peers, or a trusted adult whenever they feel stressed.
At first, the conversations might be awkward because stress is sometimes caused by personal issues that we all don’t wish to share with anyone. However, talking to someone else helps teens to find new ways of managing their stress. You can also help a teen by putting them in touch with psychologists to help them manage their stress and make healthy life choices.
Just like adults, adolescents struggle with the challenges of everyday life, which leaves them stressed. Rather than scolding teens who portray stress symptoms, it’s best to help them manage the symptoms. It starts with identifying the common symptoms of stress in teens, and helping them find the help they deserve .
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