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teen stress l how a teenag­er can relieve stress l teenage Stress l ado­les­cent stress l caus­es of teenage stress

Stress is the body’s reac­tion to feel­ings of anger, frus­tra­tion and wor­ry, and it adverse­ly affects teenagers. Young peo­ple expe­ri­ence stress as they nego­ti­ate the dif­fi­cult peri­od of ado­les­cence, and for this rea­son, their stress needs to be rec­og­nized. Teenagers can be assist­ed through stress­ful peri­ods with a com­bi­na­tion of under­stand­ing, patience, plan­ning, sched­ules, exer­cise, healthy eat­ing and con­struc­tive activ­i­ties. Changes pro­mote stress. A sud­den jolt to a teenager’s nor­mal life will often cause stress and can man­i­fest in many dif­fer­ent ways.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Below we list some prac­ti­cal hints for help­ing teenagers in their life through dif­fi­cult times.

- Stress can originate from parents

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Teenagers may feel pres­sure to per­form in all aspects of life to please their par­ents, espe­cial­ly aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly. Teenagers may feel they are being smoth­ered by over­bear­ing par­ents at a time when they want to prove their inde­pen­dence and enjoy more free­dom. Argu­ments and rela­tion­ship prob­lems between par­ents also cre­ate anx­i­ety for chil­dren. When fam­i­lies are forced through cir­cum­stances to spend more time at home and in each other’s com­pa­ny, there is more like­li­hood of anx­i­ety.

- Peers can cause stress

Peer pres­sure is a well-known phrase that defines the pres­sure chil­dren feel to con­form with oth­ers of the same age. It is espe­cial­ly strong among teenagers who are nego­ti­at­ing a phase in their life when it is very impor­tant to belong and to define their per­son­al iden­ti­ty. Peer pres­sure can per­suade teenagers to par­tic­i­pate in many destruc­tive behav­iours such as smok­ing and alcohol/drug abuse and can per­suade ado­les­cents to engage in risk-tak­ing behav­iour.

- Self-imposed stress

Teenagers can cause them­selves to feel stress, just as adults can cre­ate fac­tors that cre­ate anx­i­ety. Teenagers are par­tic­u­lar­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to stress caused by body image and pop­u­lar per­cep­tions of male and female beau­ty. Besides, this is also a time in which peo­ple are dis­cov­er­ing or con­firm­ing their gen­der and sex­u­al­i­ty. The world has always been a con­fus­ing place dur­ing ado­les­cence, and it seems more per­plex­ing and, at times depress­ing with the nev­er-end­ing cycle of news now avail­able through the mass media. Height­en­ing this is the fact that teenagers spend a lot of time on social media, which trans­mits so many mes­sages about the world around them, which may not be pos­i­tive.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

How does the body deal with stress?

The human body reacts to stress with hor­mones and the ner­vous sys­tem. With­in the ner­vous sys­tem, there is the vol­un­tary and the invol­un­tary sys­tem. The vol­un­tary sys­tem encom­pass­es actions we can con­trol in our body when to get out of bed, when and what to eat – to walk, throw, sit, jump etc. The invol­un­tary sys­tem cov­ers what we don’t con­trol, such as breath­ing, sweat­ing, digest­ing. The vol­un­tary sys­tem func­tions well when we’re relaxed, but the invol­un­tary sys­tem can take over when we’re stressed. It’s impor­tant to help ado­les­cents find ways to switch off or con­trol the invol­un­tary sys­tem.

Can stress be positive?

Stress was designed to keep us alive. The invol­un­tary ner­vous sys­tem exists to ensure that the body can func­tion prop­er­ly in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion. Intro­duc­ing stress into the lives of ado­les­cents can also pro­mote per­son­al growth, as it can accom­pa­ny mile­stone moments in their life. Typ­i­cal mile­stone moments in a teenager’s life, such as pass­ing their dri­ving test, suc­ceed­ing in exams and oth­er school projects can teach them how to deal with pres­sure, and increase their self-esteem when they suc­ceed.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Make a personal plan to manage stress:

- Face the issue

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Encour­age teenagers to accept that they are stressed, even if they don’t want to admit it. Encour­age them to talk to some­one about it and remind them that seek­ing help is OK. Every­one feels stress.

- Recognize the problem

The fol­low­ing behav­iours will tell you if your teenag­er is feel­ing stressed:
  • Their aca­d­e­m­ic per­for­mance is drop­ping
  • They wor­ry exces­sive­ly
  • They are more irri­ta­ble than usu­al
  • They com­plain of being con­stant­ly tired
  • They show symp­toms such as stom­ach pains, dizzi­ness, chest pains and headaches
  • They feel sad or despon­dent
  • They lose inter­est in activ­i­ties they used to enjoy
  • They escape through drugs and alco­hol
  • They con­sid­er or engage in self-harm
  • They use unhealthy cop­ing strate­gies

- Find ways to avoid stress

Sup­port the teenag­er to iden­ti­fy, then avoid cer­tain peo­ple, places, activ­i­ties and mem­o­ries which cause them stressed. Many experts advise us to accept the things we can’t change and to focus our ener­gy on the things we can change, and this advice is very use­ful for deal­ing with stress.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

- Make a list

Writ­ing down tasks and dead­lines helps peo­ple to be more orga­nized, and this helps ease stress. It helps peo­ple feel more in con­trol of their days, and it cre­ates a sense of sat­is­fac­tion when tasks can be crossed off once com­plet­ed. More impor­tant­ly, it allows peo­ple to plan their activ­i­ties to make sure tasks can be done and done prop­er­ly. Lists can be made for dai­ly timeta­bles, encom­pass­ing every aspect of life, and for spe­cif­ic areas of life. Lists are very com­mon and effec­tive for study and exam prepa­ra­tion.

- Let it out

Releas­ing emo­tion­al stress is vital for every­one, and pro­motes phys­i­cal as well as emo­tion­al health. There are many ways to release emo­tion­al stress, includ­ing cre­ative pur­suits such as singing, danc­ing, play­ing an instru­ment, com­pos­ing music, paint­ing, sculpt­ing or oth­er cre­ative pur­suits. Prayer and med­i­ta­tion are also known to be use­ful, and writ­ing a jour­nal can be effec­tive. Remind your teenag­er that the jour­nal does not have to be read by any­one, it is com­plete­ly pri­vate, and this might encour­age them to tru­ly release, rant and vent through the pages of the jour­nal.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Final­ly, find a way to laugh or cry. Watch a com­e­dy, or grab a box or two of tis­sues and put on that movie that always makes you cry.

- Work it out

Exer­cise is extreme­ly pow­er­ful as a mood mod­er­a­tor and enhancer. Advise your teenag­er to do at least 20 – 30 min­utes of exer­cise every day. High-inten­si­ty exer­cise is bet­ter, as it gets the heart pump­ing and the endor­phins flow­ing, and it releas­es some of the ener­gy that all teenagers car­ry around in them. Exer­cis­ing inside the house can be dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly at times when it is not pos­si­ble to go out­side, but there are many online exer­cise rou­tines, class­es, sug­ges­tions and activ­i­ties which can be done inside and in con­fined spaces. If the exer­cise has to be done inside, it can be a good way to get the whole fam­i­ly involved. Vig­or­ous exer­cise can also accom­pa­ny med­i­ta­tion and relax­ing breath­ing tech­niques to help release emo­tions and stay calm.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

- Diet

Com­ple­ment­ing a healthy exer­cise rou­tine is a healthy diet. Teenagers can pro­tect their phys­i­cal well­be­ing by: -Eat­ing more fruit and veg­eta­bles - Avoid­ing fat­ty and sug­ary foods - Avoid­ing soft drinks and sug­ary drinks - Snack­ing less between meals - Drink­ing more water - Start­ing the day with a healthy break­fast

- Rest and Recover

The best way to recharge bat­ter­ies is to sleep well. Teenagers are noto­ri­ous­ly poor sleep­ers but they must find a way to get reg­u­lar qual­i­ty sleep if they are to deal with stress. The fol­low­ing strate­gies can help teenagers to get a good night’s rest:
  • Sleep in a bed, and not in oth­er places
  • Don’t watch TV, use a lap­top or phone, or do oth­er stim­u­lat­ing activ­i­ties in bed. Also, keep the phone out­side of the bed­room.
  • Release emo­tion­al ten­sion before sleep­ing
  • Avoid caf­feine in the after­noon or evening
  • Exer­cise 4 – 6 hours before going to sleep
  • Com­plete tasks, espe­cial­ly school tasks, to be able to relax in bed
  • Have a show­er or bath 1 hour before going to bed

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

- Do something constructive

Com­plet­ing a task pro­vides peo­ple with sat­is­fac­tion. Mak­ing or doing some­thing use­ful for one­self, one’s fam­i­ly or the world gives peo­ple an even greater sense of per­son­al sat­is­fac­tion and helps to reduce stress. Teenagers can com­mit them­selves to make or build­ing some­thing. This could be an espe­cial­ly worth­while task if they are stuck at home for long peri­ods of time, and they could chal­lenge them­selves to make or build some­thing in or out­side the house. It could be a gar­den bed and plants, a new toy or play equip­ment for chil­dren, or some­thing func­tion­al in the house!

- Put it on paper

All of the use­ful and effec­tive strate­gies list­ed above can be writ­ten down. Writ­ing some­thing down often makes it seem more offi­cial, more real and more of a com­mit­ment, so hav­ing the teenag­er write down their feel­ings and their plan for deal­ing with those feel­ings can help them to stick to the plan and prac­tise the healthy habits for deal­ing with pres­sure.

teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stress

Last­ly, Teenagers will expe­ri­ence stress­ful times dur­ing ado­les­cence and may expe­ri­ence more anx­i­ety dur­ing times of extreme and unprece­dent­ed change. They can be assist­ed through these tough times by rec­og­niz­ing their feel­ings, mak­ing a plan, eat­ing, sleep­ing and exer­cis­ing well and find­ing con­struc­tive activ­i­ties.
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