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What Causes Teen Stress?

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Stress is a part of every teen’s life, but many teens can develop significant and debilitating levels of stress that would make an adult weep.

Data from the American Psychological Association confirms that teens often deal with the same stress levels as their parents.

What’s more, teens are aware they are suffering from stress, but most will underestimate the influence on their physical and mental health.

It’s critical to understand that there are different types of stressors, and not all have negative influences. Stressors that cause the fight or flight response can save your life by improving your reaction times and releasing adrenaline for a quick burst of energy – for example, an angry dog jumping out at you while on your morning jog.

Other forms of stressors can be physically and emotionally damaging for teens who may not have learned how to control them. When left unchecked, the results of too many stressors can build to critical mass, at which point a teen may suffer emotionally or physically.

Typical stressors teens are faced with include:

· Academic stress

· Social stress

· World events

· Family tension

· Life changes

Academic Stress

High school finals, college applications, and getting good grades all take their toll on teens’ stress levels. Many teens will worry about their performance levels and

pleasing teachers and parents with good results. A time-poor teen can often feel overwhelmed about everything they have to do. Teens who develop efficient time-management techniques can reduce the influence of these daily stressors.

Social Stress

A teen’s social life is a significant part of their identity. Most of their day is spent among their peers and finding time to hang and relax with good friends can be stress-inducing. Bullying can also raise its ugly head, and then there’s the issue of starting dating for the first time. Peer pressure is another social stress that can cause teens some issues. They may feel like they need to do things outside of their comfort zone to feel included and accepted.

World Events

Terrorism, natural disasters, mass shootings, and the threat of war can cause dark clouds of stress to settle over a teen’s mind and sense of security. Quick and easy access to a 24- hour news cycle via mobile phones doesn’t help matters.

Family Tension

Parents or guardians who are feeling the stressors of work, marital problems, or financial challenges can all influence the stress levels of a teen. Stressed parents who have sudden or violent outbursts can create disharmony in the family unit and strain sibling relationships.

Major Life Changes

Teens finding their feet in the world can be vulnerable to the stressors of many life events. A few of the significant life changes that could be the source of considerable stress for a teen include:

· Employment

· Applying for college

· Getting a license and buying a car

· Moving homes or to a new school

· A new or first boyfriend or girlfriend

How to Know if Your Teen is Stressed

Knowing what to look for will help you detect if your teen is stressed and provide you an opportunity to offer guidance and support. Here’s how to tell if your teen is stressed.

· They are exhibiting emotional changes like anxiety, depression, or appear agitated. Physical illness – stress can make a teen more susceptible to diseases and infections like stomach aches or headaches.

· Difficulty concentrating and other cognitive changes – stressed teens could become forgetful, lack concentration, or appear careless.

· Changes in behavior like not eating or sleeping and avoiding everyday activities.

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