“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of happiness combined with constant restlessness.” – Albert Einstein. Around 42 percent of teens report that stress can be very overwhelming and hard to manage. About 13 percent of teens report that they never set time to manage their stress. (Apa.org, 2014). Some people can debate that teens deal with stress more than adults do. Some possible reasons why that could be: not feeling good enough as a person, worrying about their appearance, or being perfect in an imperfect society. Other problems like issues in the household such as a divorce, family crisis, financial issues, etc. Stress has become a major crippler in the everyday lives of teens.
What is the definition of stress? Stress is when one feels pressured and overwhelmed because of the number of things they have to do. Whether it’s work-related, school or even things to do at home can be stressful. A common phrase for this is “having a lot on your plate.” This means you are filled with things to do and some of it could involve a deadline, or just has a lot of components that need to get done in a short amount of time.
In society today, teens are displaying their life achievements, events, and other things on social media. Now, when scrolling through social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok, one sees daily pictures and videos of vacations, birthdays, selfies, things that have gone viral over time, etc. Some are life-changing events such as political movements or celebrating and remembering artists and people in the community who have passed on.
The generation of teens now is being pressured to be perfect, as if it mattered appearing as perfect or not. Perfectionism has become a problem in the daily lives of teens. They worry about how they dress and try too hard on impressing their friends, instead of impressing themselves. Assistant professor of clinical Psychiatry at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, Jeremy Tyler, Psyd, says, ??“It’s important to remember that the people behind the lens are just as stressed and nervous as everyone else. Everybody suffers at some point or feels less than perfect. Social media expression is inherently biased because very few people aim to post about their flaws.” Teens, even people in general have what is called a “mask.” This mask is what they put over themselves to cover what is really going on in their life and try to put up a front when in public. Teens shouldn’t have to go through that just to appear as perfect individuals. They should act themselves, not change just to satisfy other people and what they want.
Perfectionism starts to trigger anxiety and depression in teens. Teenagers go through hormonal changes in their bodies, which causes changes in mood, growth spurts, voice changes, etc. Researchers in a study from the National Institutes of Health said that the prevalence of major depressive episodes in adolescent children in America increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. (Washington Post, 2017). Researchers also noted that “cyberbullying has increased more dramatically among girls than boys. Also, girls tend to use texting applications more intensively, which has been linked to an increased likelihood of depressed moods.” (Washington Post, 2017). Now that we have social media, cyberbullying has become a major issue for teens today too. Teens post videos of other people being bullied or share their own stories of how they were bullied and how their lives have been affected by that. The statistics of cyberbullying have increased because of social media and how much it has affected this generation of teens in many ways.
There are many things that make a person feel stressed out and overwhelmed. In today’s world teens go through many different types of stress. One major one is traumatic events such as school shootings, the passing of a friend or a family member, sickness, and emotional and physical abuse. When teens perceive these unfortunate and heart-wrenching situations, changes start to happen in their minds to prepare them to respond to danger using the “fight, flight or freeze” response. (AACAP.org, 2019). Teens follow the same mechanism to de-stress called the “relaxation response.” This helps to decrease the heart rate and slow down your breathing.
Using my own experience, I struggle with stress when it comes to doing schoolwork; especially if it has to do with writing. I procrastinate a lot, which produces stress. The writing wasn’t much of a strong suit for me. When the deadline was around the corner, that would be when I would worry about my work and I would try to finish the work hours before the deadline. Now, I have improved some of my time management by asking for help in class and getting stuff done in class. There are still times when I will be stressed when I have to write for summative assessments, knowing that it’s a major part of my grade. Other things that I would stress about are personal issues either at home or in the family. Some of the time the stress would be from the few close friends that I have. They tell me about their issues as well sometimes and since they’re very close to me, knowing that they’re sad I would be sad for them too. People have told me that I should find a job and my response to that is if I’m already stressed with school, why would I stress myself more by getting a job that I would have to attend after school? I won’t have time to get my schoolwork done and that would cause more stress. I would rather wait until I at least graduate and then look for a job while I attend college.
There are some ways that teens can cope with stress. Some examples are learning relaxation exercises such as yoga, listening to instrumental music, or taking some mental health days. Listening to instrumental music and participating in yoga relaxes the body and mind in order to have a calm and clear mindset. It allows you to take deep breaths and let your mind and body develop a connection. Mental health days are implied to take a break from the everyday stress of schoolwork, deadlines, and social interaction. Mental health days are also implied to recharge and reflect. In schools and workspaces, people should design a room-safe space to let teens go and take some time for themselves in a stress-free space. There, some things that can be added to the space can be yoga mats, a few magazines to read and distract the mind, a water dispenser to stay hydrated, etc. Having this space available in a school or workplace allows teens to feel less pressured and able to refocus.
In my opinion, I believe that stress is a component that everyone has in their lives. Teens have to learn to not worry about being perfectionists but to be happy with who they are, not who people want them to be. Teens should also find coping skills to use when dealing with stress. Whether it’s yoga, listening to soothing music, or taking a mental health day, find something that will work for you.
- American Psychological Association. (n.d.). American Psychological Association survey shows teen stress rivals that of adults. American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 17, 2021, from https:www.apa.orgnewspressreleases201402teen-stress.
- AACAP. (n.d.). Stress management and teens. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https:www.aacap.orgAACAPFamilies_and_YouthFacts_for_FamiliesFFF-GuideHelping-Teenagers-With-Stress-066.aspx.
- Dislike: How Social Media Feeds into Perfectionism – Penn Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https:www.pennmedicine.orgnewsnews-blog2019novemberdis-like-how-social-media-feeds-into-perfectionism.
- 6 ways yoga can help you reduce stress. DoYou. (2014, August 7). Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https:www.doyou.com6-ways-yoga-can-help-you-reduce-stress#:~:text=6 Ways Yoga Can Help You Reduce Stress, The Mind, And Body. … More items…
- MediLexicon International. (n.d.). The effects of perfectionism on mental and Physical Health. Medical News Today. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from https:www.medicalnewstoday.comarticles323323#How-perfectionism-affects-our-overall-health.
- Nicholls, J. (2021, October 24). Perspective | 6 reasons your teen’s life is more stressful than your own. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https:www.washingtonpost.comnewsparentingwp201705156-reasons-your-teens-life-is-more-stressful-than-your-own.
- 6 common triggers of teen stress – psycom.net. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https:www.psycom.netcommon-triggers-teen-stress.