I am pretty sure that this topic might strike a chord among many of you out there. Research shows that teens these days experience stress level beyond the acceptable range. According to Stress in America Survey, teenagers records an unhealthy stress level with a scale of 5.8 out of 10. This level is higher than the stress level of adults which records at 5.1 out of 10!!!. As a matter of fact, this stress level readings has been on the peak since high school days. A healthy stress level for students is recorded at a value of 3.9, instead, now it shows a value of 5.8!!
What causes stress in teenagers?? There are many factors that contributes to the rise of stress level in teenagers these days. I have listed a few common factors below.
- Grades – examinations are an important part of teenagers, and the education system is in such a way that grades play a major role in deciding your future and social status. Pressure by parents is topped up to this.
- Tertiary education and career decision – choosing a reputable university takes a lot of effort and stress as certain universities requires students to sit for an entrance examination. Being able to get into a reputable university also means a secure career path for some.
- The pressure to be trendy and acceptable in the teen society. In order to be accepted into a particular “group of friends”, teens are required to have a certain sense of fashion, hairstyle, jewelry, and phones !! “like how the girl beside me could afford to have an iPhone and I can’t”). These contributes to a pressure buildup in teens which eventually affects their mental health.
- Pressure to experiment certain drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc. Studies shows that by the age of 15, at least 33% of teens have had a drink. My personal experience is where a student I know actually used his dad’s credit card (without the knowledge of his dad of course!) to get the latest e-cigarette. He claims that everybody has at least one e-cigarette in their possession and it’s fair enough that he should have one for himself. Duh!
Crammed schedule – this is something that I observe personally. Students in general and teens in particular are being exposed to many activities due to the school and also the pressure from parents itself. Parents who have a very high expectation for their kids will get them to absorb as much knowledge as possible giving little or no regards to the individuals mental or physical health. A typical lifestyle of a teenage kid from Monday – Friday (this could extend to Saturday as well) starts from 6 am right up to 9 pm with only meal breaks in between. What is included in this long schedule in a day? Usual school hours + extra co-curriculum activities + piano/guitar/keyboard/dance (you can think of any music class here) + tuition’s. Other than this, recently it has become a necessity for parents to expect their kids to study subjects beyond their level. Therefore, IN comes centers that claim to promote self directed learning. Tempted by this, parents flock to enroll their kids to expand their brains to the max. I am not saying that one should not enroll themselves in these programs, but my point here is parents should allow kids to have some space to breathe.
- Family disputes – Household issues could certainly affect teenagers in a deeper level that we actually know. Divorce and abuse is some of the factors that develops stress.
- Changes in hormonal and physical appearance – Puberty can also cause stress to teens. The change in physical appearance may not be easily accepted by some.
Being bullied in school – This is now a common problem and often the victim chooses to remain silent and tends to isolate him/herself out of fear and lack of self confidence. A piece of advice for those who experience this: seek help immediately. Do not choose to remain silent. Matters will only get worse!!
The need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend and popular friends – This is something that could also create mental stress among teens. I do not wish to offer any advice on this subject as it could be a little sensitive but if you can just ask yourself whether the relationship that you’d wish to be in will cause you more burden and heartache or will you be able to excel better? You have to decide this for yourself. Finally, being with a popular person does not mean that you’ll be able to achieve anything. This just shows that you lack self confidence and you’re trying to camouflage by being under the shadow of someone else. Do wake up and prove yourself worthy.
Weight issues – The popular guy/girl in school will always have these “ideal” characteristics such as slim/muscular, pretty/handsome and fashionable. (Take note that good grades is not a major criteria to be popular here ) An overweight teen may have issues with him/herself and this will cause stress to build up. Thus, this will lead to diseases such as anorexia. Matters become worse if the person is genetically on the heavy side and is consumed by this issue.
There are many ways to curb stress among teenagers but I would wish to promote Heart Math’s – Transforming Stress for Teenagers. It is an interactive step by step guide on how teenagers can overcome the symptoms of stress by exercising their inner strength and to discover who they really are.
A sequel to this article is available here: Why is Stress Harmful
Do give it a try as I believe that teenage stress is definitely a major issue that needs urgent rectification. This book serves as a guidance to many out there. Currently, this book has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 based on 12 reviews. Do check it out and I strongly believe that the solution to all the contributing factors stated above could be found in this book.
To your success,
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