teen stress l how a teenager can relieve stress l teenage Stress l adolescent stress l causes of teenage stressStress 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 stressBelow 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 stressTeenagers 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 stressPeer 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 stressTeenagers 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.
Make a personal plan to manage stress:
- Face the issue
- Recognize the problemThe 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 stressSupport 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.
- Make a listWriting 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 outReleasing 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.
- Work it outExercise 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.
- DietComplementing 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 RecoverThe 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