A study conducted revealed that typical school children in the 1980s reported more anxiety than child psychiatric patients did during the 1950s. Another study made in 2014 showed that American teens reported experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern as adults. In fact, according to a survey during the school year, teenagers say their stress level is very high.
Elkin High School teachers agree that students have to deal with problems unique to their life stage. “I think they have to deal with daily life, with school, whatever’s going on outside of school and family, as well as choices they have to make for college,” said Adam Beshears, an art teacher at Elkin High School.
Some students also have a tremendous amount of expectations they feel they must satisfy. “There are reasons that I think they put too much pressure on themselves,” said Beshears.
Stress can impact the body and behavior. Some symptoms that can occur physically are headaches or fatigue. Other symptoms of stress are anxiety, restlessness and lack of motivation. It could also cause overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use and social withdrawal.
Sometimes the effect of stress is not so obvious but still affects quality of life. “It makes me sleepless,” said EHS freshman Michael Slack. So it is important that teenagers learn how to manage stress and when to seek help.
Some ways that teens can manage stress are by doing regular physical activity, socializing with family and friends, setting aside time for hobbies, and learning relaxation techniques. Getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy, balanced diet are important as well. If symptoms continue to occur, it is important for teenagers to know that they should seek help medically. They could speak with a therapist or professional counselor.
Ultimately, teenagers should be encouraged not to put so much pressure on themselves to do the impossible. They should focus on what is possible and learn ways to cope with stress.
Kimberly Cruz, Isabella Brumfield, Bethany Roberts, and Victoria Slover are English students at Elkin High School.