No one is immune to stress. When chronic, stress can have long-lasting negative effects on a personâ€™s overall health, potentially contributing to high blood pressure and weakening sufferersâ€™ immune systems, thereby making them more vulnerable to a host of ailments.
Stress may be most often associated with adults, but teenagers are no strangers to stress. In the 2014 Stress in AmericaTM survey from the American Psychological Association, teens reported that their stress levels during the school year far exceeded what they believed to be healthy. In fact, teensâ€™ reported stress levels during the school year (5.8 on a 10-point scale) actually exceeded adultsâ€™ average reported stress levels.
In addition to the pressures of school, teens must contend with social pressures. Balancing the two can be difficult, but the APA offers the following tips to teenagers looking to keep their stress levels in check.
â€˘ Embrace physical activity. The APA notes that being physically active is one of the most effective ways to combat stress. Teens are urged to find activities they enjoy. For example, non-athletes need not try out for the baseball team or another organized sport simply because physical activity is an effective way to reduce stress. Teens are more likely to have fun and relieve stress when participating in a physical activity they enjoy, especially when such activities include their friends.
â€˘ Donâ€™t overlook the importance of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation notes that teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep per night to function best. But the Stress in America survey found that teens sleep an average of just 7.4 hours on school nights. Operating on insufficient sleep can compound existing stress, so teens who are not getting enough rest should make a concerted effort to get more sleep each night.
â€˘ Schedule time for fun. The APA recommends that teenagers not overbook their schedules, leaving little time to enjoy themselves. While itâ€™s important to focus on school, teens also should schedule time to have fun, during which they should attempt to avoid worrying about school.
â€˘ Discuss stress. The APA notes that stress is more easily handled when those coping with it welcome the assistance of others. Teens can speak about their stress with their parents, teachers or other trusted adults, many of whom likely dealt with similar stress when they were teens. Such adults may even share how they manage their own stress, which can be useful to teens.
Teens deal with stress every day. In an effort to manage such stress, teens can embrace various strategies. More information about how teens can manage stress is available at http://www.apa.org.