Like adults, teenagers also experience stress. Coping with stress for teenagers can be done through good stress management. Besides, teenagers are benefited with learning different techniques to cope up with stress. Normally, most teens are experiencing more stress if they perceive a circumstance as difficult, painful, or dangerous and they don’t have any sources to help them cope up.
Teenager’s sources of stress include frustrations, school demands, negative feelings and thoughts about themselves, bodily changes, friends or peers problems at school, unsafe neighborhood and living environment, parent’s separation or divorce, severe family problems or chronic illness, love one’s death, changing or moving schools, having higher expectations, taking in too many activities, and financial problems of the family.
Some teenagers may even experience stress overload. Once it happens and it is inadequately managed, stress can result to withdrawal, anxiety, poor coping abilities leading to alcohol and drug abuse, and aggression.
When teenagers perceive situations as painful or difficult, changes take place in the body as well as in the mind to prepare them in responding to danger. This flight, freeze, or fight response includes speedy breathing and heart rate, clammy or cold feet and hands, upset stomach, sense of fear, and increased blood flow on legs and arms muscles.
Parents among other people are the first one that should make moves in helping their teenagers to cope up with stress especially when signs and symptoms are apparent. It includes:
- Observe if stress affects their teenagers’ behavior, health, feelings, or thoughts.
- Carefully listen to teens and check for stress overloading.
- Learn skills on stress management and apply it.
- Support a teenagers’ involvement in pro-social activities and sports.
Teenagers can minimize stress by following some techniques and behaviors.
- Eat and exercise regularly.
- Avoid excessive caffeine intake. This can increase agitation and anxiety feelings.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.
- Learn some exercise to feel relaxed. It can include muscle relaxation techniques, and abdominal breathing.
- Develop skills on assertiveness. For example, express high feelings in polite manners instead of showing it in overly passive or aggressive ways.
- Practice and rehearse situations that cause stress. If you feel anxious when you talk in front of a crowd, then take a speech class to help you overcome such fear.
- Learn practical skills for coping stress. Breakdown large tasks into smaller tasks which then can be easily attained.
- Minimize self talks that are negative. Negative thoughts can be challenged with alternative positive or neutral thoughts. Never get discouraged when at the moment your life is not what you have dreamt of, it will get better if you will start to work on it one at a time and ask for some help.
- Feel good after doing a good or competent job rather than demanding perfection from yourself as well as with other people.
- Learn to relax. Reduce your stress by doing some worthwhile activities like writing, drawing, listening to soothing music, talking with a friend, or playing with pets.
- Building a group system which can help you overcome stress in a more positive way.
Using these techniques can help teenagers in managing their stress successfully. However, if parents have observed that their teenagers talk about or show overly stressed signs, it is recommended to consult a psychiatrist, who specializes in handling children and adolescents, or other qualified professional on mental health. Coping with stress for teenagers is easy if you know how.