Stress Throughout Adolescence
High School is said to be the fastest 4 years of your life. Students are told to savor this phase and live life to the fullest. In movies, High School is showcased to be the most exciting and fun-filled time; consisting of parties all the time, having fun with your friends, etc. But how can that be done when the word ‘school’ is uttered from one’s mouth many think of stress, sleepless nights, and endless hours of work?
This “experience” displayed on television is obviously fabricated as everyone has a different situation and way of life. As kids, many look up to becoming a teenager, thinking of all the fun perks it comes with age; for the day when one could obtain independence and do things on their own.
It is a key principle to understand that this period of time isn’t how it’s said to be; everything has its ups and downs. Teenagers get caught up in all the pressure and stress with the belief that school is all there is to life. These four years may feel like the most important years of our lives, but...they’re not! Thinking about how important it is to thrive in high school by achieving academic success, taking part in extracurricular activities, indulging in sports as well as maintaining a good social life and relations with family is NOT an effortless or unchallenging job. In Baltimore, teens were interviewed as part of a study “Confronting Teen Stress, Meeting the Challenge in Baltimore City”, and the top 1 source of stress most often experienced for the youth is school work (78%). This is completely unfair and unnecessary. Compared to decades ago; stress levels in adolescents have increased.
Other things that also trigger stress in teenagers are:
School Work (78%)
Friends’ problems (52%)
Drugs in neighborhoods (48%)
Being in a teenager in a world full of high standards and pressure is a strenuous and difficult task on its own...Many teenagers also choose to avoid their problems and not learn about how to manage stress. One way to deal with the high-stress atmosphere is to recognize your cause for stress and learn how to control anxiety and pressure. Some ways of managing stress are relaxation techniques, time-management skills, therapy/counseling, exercise, etc. There are several relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, cognitive reframing, and progressive muscle relaxation (go to www.verywellmind.com to learn more!)
Fortunately, More and more cities and school districts are starting to look at teen stress. Some are developing programs for families and teenagers to help determine stressful situations and how to teach healthy stress-relieving tactics. Here are some resources online to help teenagers themselves learn more about their stress and how to work through it:
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Helping Teenagers with Stress
Center for Adolescent Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Confronting Teen Stress, Meeting the Challenge in Baltimore City,”
National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Feeling Frazzled, Stress and What to do About It,”
American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults”, apa.org
Due to varying pressures around the school, work, families, relationships, social media, and the seemingly endless series of transitions involved in simply being an adolescent, teens today are indeed under more stress than ever before. It is more critical now than ever to set some time aside to take care of your mental health to be the best possible version of yourself!