Helping Teens Cope With Stress

Stress Relief for Teens

The sprawling expanse of adult reality, hurtling towards a sheltered, ill-prepared teenager, is a pretty good reason to feel anxious or stressed – maybe even a good enough reason to pound back your first drink after school.

Teenage stress seems to have become notorious, and its reputation is somewhat earned. Teenagers are shown to have stress levels comparable to those of adults – but, since they’re only just learning about stress, they have no coping mechanisms.

Being thrown into a stressful situation with no tools or background knowledge about it, youth become vulnerable and susceptible to making poor choices. Many are tempted with drugs.

Stressed or not, most teenagers tend to make a poor choice or two during their youthful days. But, that doesn’t immediately indict stress as the cause. A stressful teenager may exhibit any number of the following symptoms.

  • Excessive anxiety and worry
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Developing passive or physically violent behavior
  • Lack of focus
  • Experimenting with drugs
    • Changes in speech patterns
    • Unexplained spending of money
    • Significant, consistent dilated pupils
  • Irritability and anger

These, again, do not automatically indict stress as being the cause.  Consider the following situations – if the teenager has been subject to any of these stressors recently, and has been displaying the previous symptoms, they could need to learn some coping mechanisms.

  • Excessive demands from school or work
  • Irritability and frustration from loved ones
  • A change in class / school
  • Moving to a new town
  • Parents divorcing
  • Breaking up with girlfriend
  • Changes in diet and body
  • Problems or huge changes in their social life
  • Keeping themselves unrealistically busy or setting goals they can’t accomplish

Even if the teen isn’t debilitated by these symptoms, it may be wise to inform them about stress. If it turns out they aren’t stressed after they learn the techniques, great. You’ve still given them a stress-fighting skill set that they can pass on when they get the chance.

Unintentionally Coping With Teen Stress

Since so many teenagers aren’t really informed about stress, many aren’t sure of how to cope with it. For most, they don’t realize that stress is anything to cope with. It’s like “This was just life – cold, callous, and demanding”.

To push that nagging feeling away, a lot of teenagers take up new activities. Often these activities are intense and can carry significant danger.

  • Pro sports, like snowboarding and skateboarding are very popular around a certain demographic of teenagers around here.
  • It’s ridiculous how many teenagers – mostly male – try to stifle their stress with the soothing touch of the opposite gender, This is not recommended. Seeking partners for reasons other than companionship and love can backfire. Badly. Girls aren’t band-aids – nor are guys – and neither should have their hearts used as fodder to plug up the holes in your souls.
  • Drug use. One experiencing a high-stress life, without knowing what stress is, or how to manage it – they would believe that life was stress and nothing else. If ever there were a justified reason to use drugs, this would be it.

Apparently potentially breaking your leg, or overdosing, seemed a more pleasant alternative than trying to deal with life. Once we discovered the difference between life and a high strung existence, things got a lot better.

Learning to Cope with Teen Stress

Fortunately, the learning process for teen stress starts very early! We are able to limit the strength and intensity of teen stress by informing the young. With dedication, we may be able to lower stress levels internationally.

Teenagers need to know what stress is, why it’s here, and what it’s caused by. There are many ways teens react to becoming stressed, but if you’re empathetic and truly concerned, you will be able to sense a change. In this case, use your better judgment:

  • Keep a close watch to see what parts of the teen’s life is affected by stress.
  • Teens aren’t often hailed for being transparent, so if one opens up to you – listen to them!
  • Teach them stress management skills
  • Help them get involved with active or social activities (sans danger)

There are a number of things teens can do themselves that can prevent full-blown stress from developing.

  • Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial.
  • Caffeine, cigarettes, and energy drinks all contribute to anxiety and stress.
  • Learning some basic yoga and breathing techniques to practice in class.
  • Imagining situations that would cause stress and developing responses to them can help
  • Ensure your internal monologue is positive
  • Avoid negative, needy, or toxic friends and relationships

In cases of severe stress that just won’t quit, you may have to call a physician or a psychiatrist. The last option you’ll want to resort to is taking prescription medication. Before that, a psychiatrist might advise

  • Single or group therapy, perhaps with your family
  • A mindfulness regime to become aware of your body in the present.
    This is ultimate the most effective way to eliminate stress. This is essentially the goal of meditating, and focusing on the good and positive things in life.

Cast off any new-age taboo the words ‘mindful,’ ‘conscious,’ and ‘presence,’ have wrongfully earned in the last few years.

Stress itself is not a bad thing ‘in and of itself’ – it can keep you aware and on your guard in needed situations, helping you avoid danger. These days, however, the body’s stress response is triggered by many everyday situations. Learning how to flip the ‘relaxing’ switch is absolutely the best choice for those hoping to avoid stress without trading it for a pharmaceutical addiction.

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