Table of Content
Stress Management for Teens
Stress is one of the persistent causes of concern today. Research suggests stress is being linked to more and more psychological and physiological disorders. While dealing with stress is a necessity, it is how we deal with stress that truly impacts us.
What Stresses a 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. Their 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.
What are Common Stressors for Teens?
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 teens as it is for grown-ups.
Parents and home environments can also add up to teen stress.
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.
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. Youth needs to have some free, unscheduled time each week where they can do whatever they want.
Finally, stressed parents do transfer their stress onto their youth. If they are frequently stressed, it’s reflected in how they treat their teen. The unpredictable behavior 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.
- Peer Groups: Peer pressure, not getting along with friends, and worrying about fitting in cause 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.
- Relationships: With the onset of puberty, youth start to have romantic relationships - or not, both states can be equally stressful for youth.
Pay attention to your teen’s actions and words as they reflect what’s going on inside their head. They are often overwhelmed by self-esteem issues, deadlines, etc. in the long run, such stressors can lead to changes in sleep and nutrition.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Stress in Teens?
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.
- Changes in appetite
- Disturbed sleep
- Lack of focus
- Digestive issues
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of interest
- You eat standing up
How common is stress among Teens in India?
We are all aware of the fact that stress is one of the leading causes of both physical and mental health conditions, especially among the youth. Research indicates that around 36 percent of our youth are victims of chronic stress. This was mainly a result of parental pressure, COVID-19, and more.
How to combat teen stress?
When stress crosses a threshold, it leads to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, and poor coping skills and may lead to drug and/or alcohol use.
In the face of challenges, changes occur in our minds and bodies which prepares us to respond to danger. This "fight, flight, or freeze” response causes a rapid increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. It also can lead to 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 signs of stress.
- Monitor if stress is affecting your teen's health, behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
- Help your teen 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. They can also 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 their day, week, and month. No matter what it is or how briefly they do it, enjoyable activities act as a great distraction from stress.
- Help your teen find time for relaxation. Relaxation looks a bit different for everyone. Some youth find it relaxing to spend time with their pet while others might like to sit in silence and meditate. It might take a couple of attempts to find something that sticks, but encouraging your teen to explore activities that quiet the mind in the heat of the moment can serve them well now and even later in life.
- Be a good role model for your teen. Whether they like to admit it or not, 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.
What are the Treatment Available for Teen Stress?
In addition to basic lifestyle practices, several treatment approaches can help your teen manage and overcome stress. A few of them include-
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness-based Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Solution-focused Therapy
Prepare a stress management strategy
Stress management strategies play a major role in determining triggers and adaptive techniques to cope with said stressors. 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 are. 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 by trying to break down the problem into smaller yet achievable tasks.
2. Let some things go
This doesn’t mean that you can ignore the problems. 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 dealing with them later. But this ‘later’ won’t make things any easier. 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, and 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, and relax. A few minutes away from the problem can help. During that time, you can find something to laugh at, play, take a bath, listen to music, play some instruments, etc.
- Exercise: Do you know that one of the best ways to deal with stress is exercise? Choose the type of activity that will help you to relieve your stress and is conducive to your lifestyle.
- Get Plenty of Rest, and Eat Well: Maintain a balanced diet and sleep schedule as this will help you effectively cope with stress and improve your overall well-being.
- Discuss your problems: Chances are that there will be other people dealing with similar stressors, you are not alone. Ask for help. If you feel too stressed, talk to your parents, siblings, a friend, or a counselor.
When Should You seek help?
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, seeking the expertise of a professional can play a major role in effectively managing and overcoming its consequences.
At Cadabams, we are firm believers that mental health care goes beyond symptom management. Our multispecialty team works with you and customizes stress management programs. We bring acclaimed solutions that are aimed at helping teenagers live healthier, stress-free life. Call us on our 24/7 helpline at +91 97414 76476 for any support or queries.
1. Why is stress management important for youth?
Stress has an impact on nearly every aspect of your life, and if it continues for a long time, it can have lasting effects that hinder your ability to live a healthier, happier, and more normal life. This is one of the main reasons why stress management is important among youth.
2. What are the 5 common causes of stress among youth?
The 5 common causes of stress among youth include-
- Academic pressure
- Peer pressure
- Low self-esteem
3. Why is stress an issue for youth?
Stress in healthy amounts can be a great motivator. However, once it crosses an individual’s threshold it can severely impair their daily functioning. For youth, parental pressure, peer pressure, academic pressure, and more can lead to chronic stress and if left untreated it can lead to mental and physical illnesses.
4. How to prevent stress?
Here are a few techniques to help you prevent stress-
- Reach out to a loved one
- Find the source of the problem
- Follow a consistent nutrition plan and sleep schedule
- Take the time to slow down and rest
5. How do you define youth stress?
Stress is a response to external challenges, pressures, or events. For youth, stress looks like looming deadlines, parental pressure, self-esteem issues, peer pressure, etc.
6. How can students reduce stress?
Our experts suggest the following techniques that can help students manage and reduce stress.
- Maintaining a consistent diet and sleep schedule
- Staying organized
- Reaching out to a loved one
- Engaging in physical activity
- Seeking professional help