Stress Management for Youth

by cadabamshospital

25 January,2021 | Reading Time: 9 minutes

Stress is possibly an increasingly persistent cause for concern today. As research develops, stress is being linked to more and more mental and physiological disorders. While dealing with stress is a necessity, it is how we deal with stress that truly impacts us.

At Cadabams, we have qualified and experienced professionals and behavioural health specialists who understand it is a singular issue or as part of a bigger problem. Our multispeciality team of psychologists, counsellors, and therapists are actively involved with you every step of the way. Psychiatrists and family counsellors are a part of the treatment plan when required. Call us on our 24/7 helpline at +91 97414 76476 for any support or queries. 

What stresses a youth?

This blog highlights stress management for youth. As long as we are alive, we will all have stress. There goes a false assumption of parents that if their child does not have bills to pay or chores and responsibilities, their child will live a stress-free life.

But the truth is, adolescence is an incredibly stressful time of life. Teenagers experience a myriad of different issues resulting in stress. Teen stressors appear insignificant to parents only because they're looking at these problems with an adult mind. The youth, however, are getting a hang of handling life issues, which impact their mental and physical health as well.

The first step in stress management is identifying the stressful life events that cause them.

Common Stressors

Academic pressure           

We all have different learning styles, interests, and strengths. Unfortunately, school is a standard structure that doesn't take these differences into consideration. When it doesn't embrace the youth’s strengths, values, or creativity, and instead forces them to stick to normative modes of evaluation, they tend to be more stressed out. At school, there is a range of academic pressure that the youth feels; pressure that’s derived from a need for perfection, worry over grades, exams, parents’ and teachers’ expectations, homework, assignments, competition, sports, or a tough class load. 

No matter what goals we have, we all struggle with a tremendous amount of stress and pressure, and stress management becomes difficult  – and this is just as true for the teens as it is for grown-ups.

Parental pressure

Parents and home environments can also add up to teen stress.

  1. High expectations of parents often turn out to be a hurdle in teenagers’ life. Out of love, parents want their youth to excel in everything. While the idea is nice, it certainly is, an unrealistic expectation.
  2. After-school activities are important, but become a stressor when parents expect their youth to be involved in too many or expect them to win in every match or tournament they take part in. Winning boosts confidence and self-esteem. But it should always be kept in mind that participating and enjoying is much more important than winning. It’s important for youth to have some free, unscheduled time each week where they can do whatever they want.
  3. Stressed parents do transfer their stress on to their youth. If they are frequently stressed, it’s reflected in how they treat their teen. The unpredictable behaviour may leave them worried and anxious since they don’t know what to expect next. Likewise, if the parents are emotionally unavailable to them, they may feel neglected and worthless. These feelings increase stress levels as they try to get their parent’s attention, only to fail each time.

Pressures of social life

Social roles or relations become an important part of a teen’s life.

  1. Peer Groups: Peer pressure, not getting along with friends, and worrying about fitting in causes a significant amount of stress in youth. If they sense the peer group is unreliable or disrespectful, it increases their stress levels as they feel pressured to impress the social group. Their physical changes and feelings of awkwardness add up to their worries and stress levels.
  2. Relationships: With the onset of puberty, youth start to have romantic relationships - or not, both the states are equally stressful for youth. Also, evolving friendships and peer relationships cause stress.
  3. Tryouts: Youth often take their first more prominent social roles, either by hosting a party or going on a first date, which is also found to stress them out.

Personal stressors

What kind of thinking does your teen engage in? - It’s not too tough to find out. Pay attention to your teen’s actions and words as they reflect what’s going on inside their head. It’s often too much going on in their mind- self-esteem issues, keeping up with time, deadlines, feeling unprepared, doing more than one thing at a time, etc. These all may result in a lack of proper diet and adequate sleep, and most importantly, an enormous amount of stress.

Signs that you are stressed

Sometimes stress can build up before you even know it and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here are some ways to recognize stress before it takes over.

  1.    You eat standing up
  2.    You’re always late
  3.    Fighting more than usual
  4.    Always feel tired
  5.    Forgetting what day it is
  6.    Have trouble finishing a sentence
  7.   Doing three things at once; you don't finish any of them
  8.   Losing patience very easily
  9.   Sleep issues
  10.   Keep getting sick
  11.   Keep dropping things
  12.   Biting your nails, tap your feet, and twirl your hair 
  13.   Feeling like you're drowning
  14.   Jumping when the phone rings
  15.   Overeating
  16.   Have a headache
  17.   Your palms are sweaty
  18.   Your heart is racing
  19.   You feel nervous or jumpy
  20.   Nothing seems fun anymore
  21.   You talk too fast. You can't concentrate
  22.   It's always someone else's fault
  23.   People keep asking: "Are you okay?"
  24.   You wonder if you are okay

How to combat teen stress?

Some youth become overloaded with stress. When this crosses a threshold, stress leads to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, poor coping skills and may lead to drug and/or alcohol use.

When we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies which prepares us to respond to danger. This "fight, flight, or freeze” response causes a faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread, etc.

How can parents help their teens?

  • Listen carefully to your teen and watch for overloading
  • Monitor if stress is affecting your teen's health, behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Help your teen to decide what is within his control and what isn’t. The youth, nowadays, are often involved in multiple activities. Parents can help them learn to pace themselves by identifying which activities are likely to be helpful and which could be detrimental. Give them some lesser responsibilities. This can make them take off the pressure which paves the way for perfect stress management.
  • Help them find stress-relieving distractions. Assist your teen to figure out how they can incorporate fun, stress-relieving activities into his day, week, and month. No matter what it is or how briefly they do it, enjoyable activities provide a fantastic distraction for the brain, which can relieve stress.
  • Help your teen find time for relaxation. Relaxation looks a bit different for everyone. Some youth find it relaxing to sit with their pet for a few minutes with no other distractions. Others might like to try closing their eyes, taking deep breaths, and sit in silence. Or maybe, take a walk alone. It might take a little trial and error to find something that sticks, but encouraging your teen to find something that quiets the mind in the heat of the moment can serve them well now and even later in life.
  • And lastly, be a good role model for your teen. Whether they like to admit it or not, but the youth do learn from their parents. And one of the best ways to teach them stress management techniques is by setting a good example.

Prepare a stress management strategy

Stress management for youth is essential to manage stress and triggers; it’s essential for a better chance of holding on to a healthy and successful life. Consider the following steps to prepare a stress management strategy.

1.   Identify the root of the problem and address it

Sometimes problems can feel bigger than they really are. So, the first thing you need to do is to figure out if the problem is a major one or just feels like one. Focus and approach the problem with clear thinking. If you see that the problem is the result of overthinking or due to a certain thought that makes you perceive the problem as a disaster, you can cope up by trying to switch off those thoughts. Even if you do have a major problem, clear thinking will help you handle the situation better.

2.   Let some things go

This doesn’t mean that you can ignore the problems. This won’t make the problem go away and may even make it worse. It is crucial to face a problem and then try to fix it, but sometimes, you won’t be able to do much about it. For instance, exams do cause a lot of stress in youth, but you can’t eliminate exams.

The right thing to do here is to focus more on how you can manage things and study well and think less about how unfair problems are. Accepting some things and people is an essential part of stress management in youth. Besides, it is also important to not take things too personally. That can make you feel bad for reasons that will have nothing or little to do with you.

3.   Dealing with emotional tension

You will be so overwhelmed at times that you will feel like stuffing all your problems in a mental box and deal with them later. But this ‘later’ won’t make things any easier. In fact, later you may have more things and emotions to deal with that can make your head go spinning and even make you more frustrated.

Hence, it is better to take one problem to handle and leave the rest for the moment. This will help to make your problems less scary to deal with. To help you release your emotional tension, you can try out the following:

  •         Focus on creative outlets like music, painting, poetry to express your feelings.
  •         Talk to your loved ones or a responsible adult and ask for advice.
  •         Build a habit of journaling your day
  •         Take time to meditate every day
  •         Understand that it is completely okay to feel your emotions fully

Few Stress Management techniques for youth

  • Slow Down: What you cannot do/finish today, do not stress yourself too much about it. Take out some time, breathe, relax. A few minutes away from the problem can help. In that time, you can find something to laugh at, play, take a bath, listen to music, play some instrument, etc.
  • Exercise: Do you know that one of the best ways to deal with stress is exercise? One of the best stress-reducing benefits of exercise is that it is fun. Choose the type of activity that will help you to relieve your stress. But choose according to your personality and lifestyle. If you usually like to do quiet activities, vigorous exercise may be best. If you are an active person, calming exercise may be better.
  • Get Plenty of Rest, Eat Well: Do not skip your meals. Eat your breakfast and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Do not eat too much junk and drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Get enough sleep. 
  • Discuss your problems: Don't feel alone, chances are that there will be other people too, who feel the same way. Ask for help. If you feel too stressed, talk to your parents, siblings, a friend, or a counselor.

Why Cadabams

At Cadabams, we are firm believers that mental health care needs to focus on more than just problem-reduction. As the pioneers of private behavioral health services and one of the most experienced and prestigious mental health institutions of India, we believe that the right psychological help and support can enhance life, increase happiness, and productivity.

Our multispecialty team works with you and customises stress management programs that are just what you need. At Cadabams, we care for you. For more information, please get in touch with us. At Cadabam's Hospital, we help teens better manage their stress. We bring acclaimed solutions that are aimed at helping teenagers live a healthier, stress-free life. Contact us today.

FAQs About Stress Management

  • How can stress management affect your health?

Stress affects not just your mental health but also your physiology. It has many side-effects, which leave a lasting adverse impression on your overall health. It affects the quality of your life. Effective stress management resolves the stress symptoms, enabling you with many benefits, like improved mood, better sleep, higher performance, better habits, and more. This, collectively, positively affects your health, bringing your life on the right track.

  • Who should do stress management?

We all should try to manage our stress better. After all, we all have stress in our lives. The task is to ensure this stress level doesn’t cross a threshold and cause symptoms that affect our daily life. So, everyone should learn how to manage their stress. 

  • Does stress management help?

Proper stress management helps you deal with life’s stressful situations in a more thoughtful and sensible way. It helps you keep your stress level under control. This subsequently results in many psychological and physiological benefits. You start sleeping better, you feel healthier, you get more productive. 

  • Is stress management a soft skill?

Yes, in the fast-paced corporate and startup world where employees handle so much pressure and are required to wear multiple hats, stress management is now an important soft skill that recruiters want in candidates. This is another reason why one must learn a thing or two about effective stress management. It can benefit their professional life. 

  • Why stress management matter?

Stress virtually affects every aspect of your life. And if this state prolongs, it can result in many long-term effects, coming in your way of having a healthier, happier, and normal life. So, owing to the high impact of stress on our well-being, stress management matters more than what many people realize.

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