How to Deal with Teen Stress?

Hey there,

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


Click on the image to read more before you purchase 

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.

Transforming Stress for Teens: The HeartMath Solution for Staying Cool Under Pressure 

To your success,

Dr. Veena


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16 thoughts on “How to Deal with Teen Stress?”

  1. I have been there and done that and glad it is over. He was a big guy and played football so not probs with other kids just schooling itself. Football was his life. We did what we could and he turned out all right compared to a lot of his friends. I am just grateful for that and the fact that he had many positive influences in his life. Not all kids are that lucky. So the fact that there is a program out there to help kids with their growing up is a big plus!! Thank you for sharing this!!

  2. Nice article there Dr Veena. I too have had some issues during my secondary & tertiary education days. Mainly on trying to conform and to fit in. Not knowing that there is totally nothing wrong in being 100% me. Its not easy be like that though, still working at it to tell you the truth. But thanks for sharing ya!

    1. You’re welcome. This book from Heart Math is a good read for people from all levels. Maybe you should try getting one. Hopefully it will be of good use to you. Thanks for reading

  3. Great article Dr. Veena. We have all dealt with teen stress, whether ourselves, or with our children. Luckily today they have more outlets to help deal with stress like HeartMath Institute. I just love them. We worked with HeartMath in some of the hospitals I worked in.

    My youngest daughter really dealt with a lot of stress from some of the things you raised in your article and social media seemed to be a huge issue. Have you found that to be true with other teens?

    1. Yes definitely, social media is proving itself to be an extra burden for teens. A simple example that I’ve seen in my students personally would be the need to pose fashionably in Instagram. One would go to the extent of getting new clothes very often just so that it could be posted in Instagram. This is just one small example but it shows that how teenagers these days could be consumed by such stuffs. Thanks for reading

  4. Hi Dr. Veena,
    Teenage years can be stressful for lots of young people as they try to match up with their peers.
    There are still a few of these young people who choose to be themselves and do not give into peer pressure. It is not easy for these young people so we should give them all the support we can.
    Thanks for the post.

  5. Veena, my son is 17 and I could almost relate to all of the issues that you mention. For one, I am the one asking him to slow down, as his days are packed to the brim, but this time with nobody else putting pressure on him, but himself – or at least not anybody from home. School is a very good one in preparing kids for university and in choosing career paths, but the world of work is also to be blamed for the added pressure on young adults and teenagers, as with higher demand and competition, that is where the need for higher grades and higher reputed university come in the game.
    I think kids nowadays need a lot of support by parents and families, who should recognise where a child needs to be pushed more versus a child that overburdens him/herself.

    1. You have got a good point there. You remind me of my own mom who would always ask me to slow down fearing the worse. I am one of those who would study continuously mainly because I needed to secure a good place in the university. You’re absolutely right on the pressure faced by young adults to secure a good job. Competition is too tough and job opportunities are getting limited. Yes, kids these days do need their parents guidance mainly due to this external factors. Scary to think of it though

  6. Hi Dr. Veena,
    Very much appreciate this article. It’s funny how after you’ve gone through a couple of teens, you start to realize that there are some things that are not working, and areas that you just need to adjust to make things a little less stressed for the kids. I have 3 who have gotten to 18 or beyond, I’m on my last teen now, just turned 13 and I’m hoping this one is a much smoother ride. I honestly believe my 1st child, my daughter made it a much smoother ride for her brothers. Girls seem to have more drama in their little circles… which I think in a lot of ways = stress. =)

    1. Oh yes, experience teaches us a lot and in some ways grooms us as well. We tend to get wiser in dealing things. I am glad that you found my article useful. Thanks

  7. Quite a good read. You write very naturally and it was a pleasure to read.
    It’s nice that you have offered a solution with the book at the end to help out anyone who wishes to pursue the issue further.
    As I am not a teenager or don’t have kids myself it’s not for me, but a good read all the same.

  8. I remember being a teenager! Wow, the angst, the self pity, the desire to fit in, social anxiety. It was great! I wouldn’t go back though.

    I think i was lucky in that i didn’t have much of a feeling of stress, but i think that it largely down to my individual psyche. I am quite laid back and imagine everything is going to come up Milhouse in the end.

    Insightful article nevertheless, I have a young son and sort of am and sort of am not looking forward to this stage…!


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