Stress affects teenagers almost every day. Many feel stressed-out when they have a test, job, or too many activities. It can even be caused from something as small as riding a roller coaster. Goals and challenges are the main cause because they are thought to be hard to complete. Stress is a well-known trigger for depression and can also affect physical health. It is important to identify the causes of stress in a teenager’s life and try to minimize them. Stress, no matter if it is small or big, occurs in teenagers’ lives today.
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Stress is the uncomfortable feeling of having pressure and it can be caused from many events. The main causes of stress in a teenager’s life come from school, work, activities, friends, and family. There are two forms that it comes in. The first form is called acute stress, which lasts for a short period of time. This can be caused from missing the bus, fighting with a friend, or giving a speech in school. Another kind of stress is chronic stress, which is long-term stress. Examples include repeated struggle in school, illness/disability, or an illogical fear (heights, bugs, etc). Most teenagers begin with acute stress and then gradually feel overwhelmed, which develops into chronic stress.
The causes of stress come with both internal and external effects. It depends on the person, but the internal effects include anxiety, irritability, and nervousness. External effects include breathing faster, sweating, muscles tensing, dry mouth, keener senses, and lack of energy, headaches, and sickness. A stressed person tends to have trouble paying attention and have trouble recalling facts. A person who is ambitious or a perfectionist gains stress more often. All of this can cause a person to get into fights and lose friends.
There is a process in the body that takes place when stress occurs. First, a hormone called epinephrine combines with adrenaline, which causes an “adrenaline rush”. The hormones and chemicals cause the body to increase blood pressure and heart rate. These responses prepare the body to deal with and recover from a physical attack. The body also suppresses the production of other chemicals to help increase protective responses. If the brain never puts its guard down, it develops chronic stress. The ability to sleep is the first to go. These effects occur if it’s real of imagined; it’s what we perceive. Suicide and depression can occur. Other serious effects are high blood pressure, reflux disease, asthma, ulcers, and migraines.
Every day teenagers face situations that can be stressful, which can develop when the teenager matures into an adult. Finding strategies to avoid and control stress are beneficial so that the person can mix a happy life with work. To become stress-free, the person has to change their thoughts, attitudes, feelings, communication, response, and circumstances. Physically, teenagers must eat healthy, get enough sleep (around eight to nine hours), and exercise. Teenagers should remember to keep ideas into perspective and be optimistic. Surrounding themselves with good friends, a good level of activities, and enough time to get school work done is essential.
Each day stress builds up in a teenager’s life, which can be negative as this carries into their adulthood. Once the brain understands that danger is gone, all of the symptoms of stress are gone. Sadly, some do not realize that the danger is gone, which can develop into serious problems. Most teenagers suffer from stress and need to learn how to manage their stress in order to grow healthy in the ever-changing, stressful world.
Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress. Exercise gives us the opportunity to get up and go. Physical fitness leads to greater self-confidence and self-discipline (Stephens, 1988). Exercise also lowers blood pressure while increasing our ability to deal with stress (Ford, 2002). Unfortunately, many of us bypass daily exercise because we think we need to run five miles a day to make a difference. Not true. Even a ten minute walk increases energy levels and lowers tension (Thayer, 1987, 1993). There are many reasons why exercise can lead to a reduction in stress: Exercise increases the output of the mood-boosting chemicals your nervous system produces (Jacobs, 1994). Exercise enhances your cognitive abilities, such as memory, to some degree (Etniers & others, 1997). Exercise lowers your blood pressure (Perkins & others, 1986). Exercise has side effects, such as better sleep, that provide an emotional benefit. Regular exercise cuts heart attack risk in half (Powell & others, 1987) and increases longevity by as much as 2 years (Paffenbarger & others, 1986). So after a busy schedule or a tiring day on the job, why not go get a bike and running shoes?
Your family, and friends, can surprisingly also lead to better stress management and coping. A research study done by Warr & Payne in 1982 has concluded that a lot of things, one being that people who are accompanied by friends and/or family during hard times expressed feelings of happiness while these events were taking place.
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It shouldn’t take a scientific study to show that surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends and co-workers can have a positive effect on your mental well-being, but there’s plenty of research to confirm it. Because people are social beings, social support seems to act as a buffer against the effects of stress (Rathus, 2007). There are five definitions of social support: emotional concern, instrument aid, information, appraisal, and socializing (Rathus, 2007). Research shows that the concept of social support does in fact help people cope with stress and in turn reduces the risk of health problems that could be the result of stress on the body (Rathus, 2007). The more social support you have, the less stress will have an opportunity to affect you in a negative way (Rathus, 2007). Another way to get around stress is to try and make some changes in your schedule. Make sure you have a lunch period, and certainly a free period to get some of your homework out of the way. Try staying in the library or even an empty classroom if you are allowed to after school. Sometimes you might have better concentration if you work in a different place. If you have lots of majors, consider dropping one. Move down levels in some of your classes or take easier ones altogether. Take some of your core classes during summer school to free up time during the year. Summer school classes are more laid back and more fun than you’d think.
Stress is inevitable, but unhealthy responses to it are not. When face with a stressor, such as a flat tire on your way to school or work, how do you respond? Is the flat tire a threat? “I’ll never be able to fix this! This sucks! Or is it a challenge? “I can handle this. Let’s see, what are my options? Your appraisal of the situation is crucial. If you see the stressor as a threat, you’re more likely to panic and freeze up, making it more difficult to solve your problem. If, instead, you view the stressor as a challenge, your response will be focused, and you’re more likely to overcome the obstacle (Pinner, 2005) your perception of the stressor directly affects your emotional responses. The top athletes, the best teachers, and the most effective leaders seem to thrive when faced with what they perceive as a challenge.
Optimism also seems to offer some protection against the effects of stress. Compared with their pessimistic counterparts (those with a negative approach to life), students identified as optimists have stronger immune systems and are less likely to become ill or fatigued during the last month of the semester (Seligman, 1991). Optimists also recover more quickly from heart surgery than pessimists do, and, when stressed, they register lower blood pressure readings (Segerstrom & others, 1998) so, what I’m trying to say here is that a good outlook on the situation would more than likely mean that you would be coming through, unscathed, out of any dilemma in your teenage life.
Stress is a universal bodily and psychological process that we all experience. Stress is not bias to just the classroom, or at home but with this information and the techniques and lifestyles I have included, you may find yourself closer to psychological utopia than ever before on the job, or off.
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