College of DuPage Nursing Student Heather Bhatia shared that a recent study in Psychology Today reports an estimated 8% of adolescents have an anxiety disorder. This alarming statistic cited by the study author, Raychelle Cassada Lohman MS, LPCS attributes the higher than normal levels stress levels as compared to adults due primarily to academic expectations and activities.
From a teenager, high schooler perspective, the current fast-paced, competitive world can quickly become overwhelming. Teens face pressures at school from teachers and coaches, and at home from parents and family members, in addition to the social pressures from friends and peers. Most of all, teens have a tendency to expect a lot from themselves, contributing to their stress. It is easy for teens to compare themselves to their peers, especially given the easily accessible information such as honor roll status, grade point average, and the extensive use of social media and advertised accomplishments. Comparing oneself to others increase the negative self-perception in a teen who is lacking self-confidence, even if untrue.
To encourage relief of these unhealthy pressures, there are several easy suggestions for teens to encourage healthy responses and avoid becoming a victim of extreme stress:
- Go outside. Spend time in the fresh air. Incorporate a walk home from school, or eat lunch outside in the sunshine.
- Give yourself a break from social media. Try to think of it as you being in control of your free time, instead of the social media controlling (and wasting) your time.
- Eat some fruits and vegetables. Try to focus on eating foods with one ingredient, like a banana. Or eating foods only containing ingredients you can pronounce.
- Be kind to yourself. Give yourself credit for things you do well and do not dwell on things that are not your strengths.
- Get some sleep, at night, or take a daytime nap.
- Develop a mantra or slogan for yourself that makes you feel better about yourself. Or, repeat a saying to yourself that is comforting, like “this too shall pass” or “I am a good person.”
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help when you do feel overwhelmed, or just tell someone you trust that you are feeling stressed out.
- Cassada Lohmann (2014). Retrieved from www. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/html.