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Major Stressors in Teens’ Lives

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Some people may look at teenagers and see that there is nothing that could possibly be stressful about their lives. They may think that they cannot be as stressed as adults are in the real world. A stressor is any change that upsets the balance in our lives, causing us to make an adjustment. Stress is the physical or mental tension felt in response to various stressors, or events, in our lives. Stressors can trigger depression and suicidal behaviors in some teens. Studies have shown that about 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness.

Also, to mention, less than half of these people were treated or diagnosed. Studies have even shown that drugs and/or alcohol are influences of these deaths. There are a variety of types of teens stressors. A family stressor consists of a family history of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and even serious of chronic medical conditions of a family member. To prevent this stressor, a family connectedness as a protective factor may help significantly. It is important that parents be consistent and view positive behaviors to their child who struggles with this type of stressor.

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Talking and expressing feelings, family meetings, writing a letter, and/or having a written or verbal contract are some of many ways that can aid in prevention. Peer and social are another type of stressor in teens’ lives. This may involve rejection from a break-up, a disciplinary crisis, humiliation, gossip and cliques, teasing and bullying, impressing others, peer pressure, online social life, pregnancy, and a high pressure to succeed. School stressors, academic stressors and test anxiety, over scheduling, an overly full calendar, lack of support and connection at school, and perfectionism are also causes of this particular stressor. Self-esteem and sexual stressors deal with low self-esteem. To work around this stressor, accept the person suffering. Foster independence and autonomy upon them, and help them feel complete. Self-esteem probably has to be the hardest stressor to deal with, simply because, everything is in their head and only the person dealing with it can control what goes on in their head. Trauma and violence stressors may involve childhood sexual abuse, teasing and bullying, and teen date rape. For people struggling with this stressor, be verbal about what you want, need, or do not like. Ask for cooperation, and face your feelings and share them.

Even, explain consequences and enforce boundaries. Lastly, psychiatric stressors include depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Others stressors are having a medical illness, substance abuse, grief or loss, and depression and suicide. To prevent stress, there are several precautions one can take. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine; indulge in physical activity; get an appropriate amount of sleep; try relaxation techniques; talk to someone; keep a stress diary; and take control. Make sure to manage your time, learn to say no, and rest if you are ill. Other ways to prevent stress, would be to get moving, connect with others, engage your senses, learn to relax, and eat a healthier diet. Also, getting rest is important. One’s health should be put above everything else. Start noticing any unhealthy patterns such as depression and anxiety, pain of any kind, sleeping problems, autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, and skin conditions such as eczema. Heart disease, weight problems, reproductive issues, and even thinking and memory problems, are all caused by stress.

Cognitive symptoms:

  • memory problems
  • the inability to concentrate
  • having poor judgement
  • seeing only the negative
  • being anxious or having racing thoughts
  • constant worrying

Emotional symptoms:

  • depression or general unhappiness
  • anxiety or agitation
  • moodiness, irritability, anger
  • feeling overwhelmed, lonely, isolated

Common external causes:

  • major life changes
  • work of school
  • relationship difficulties
  • financial problems
  • being too busy
  • children and family

Common internal causes:

  • pessimism
  • inability to accept uncertainty
  • rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  • negative self-talk
  • unrealistic expectations/perfectionism
  • all-or-nothing attitude

Stress is a major impact on teens’ lives. It is important to be educated on what exactly could be going on with their lives. You never really know what one could be going through. No matter the form of stressor, show the individual that he or she matters. For the ones struggling, everything will be okay. Figure out ways to avoid triggers upon stress, and continue on with your day.

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