Take Teenage Stress Seriously

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Kyra Berry

Annabelle Estep (’19), is clearly stressed out.

Stress. It’s a term every teenager is familiar with. This monosyllabic word dominates weekend conversations and phone calls throughout the year, and with good reason. Teenagers are stressed, what with family issues, friend drama, and the loads of schoolwork we struggle with every night. It’s time to take a look at what this stress can do to teenagers later in life.

In a recent survey conducted by Stress in America, results showed that 31% of teens are overwhelmed and 30% feel depressed or sad due to stress. Looking at these figures, it may seem as if these percentages are slim. However, according to U.S. Census estimates, there are 41,844,000 teenagers in America today. That means 12,553,200 teenagers in the U.S. are stressed, and this number continues to climb every year. Furthermore, a study on usatoday.com  reports that 51% of teenagers experience moderate stress in their daily lives. Stress is consuming this generation, and if left unchecked, it will become increasingly dangerous.

Teens that have high stress levels often disregard important parts of their lives. This same USA Today study proved that 59% of teens are stressed due to time and activity management, and 40% neglect responsibilities at home. “All of the stress from homework prevents me from doing the things I really like,” says Becky Michnowski (’18). Also, trends of last year show that 1 in 4 high schoolers showed symptoms of mild depression due to stress and just under 1/3 of high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for 2+ weeks in the past year. These frightening statistics prove that the mental stability of today’s youth is at risk because of stress.

Stress isn’t all doom and gloom, however. According to the American Psychological Association, or the APA, making slight adjustments to your routine could be the key to alleviating stress. First, physical activity is a must. Exercising releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling throughout the body, making you feel good and creating a distraction from daily worries. Getting enough sleep is another way to reduce stress. Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep each night in order to function at their best, but a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation showed that only 15% of teenagers got 8 1/2 hours of sleep on school nights. Keeping a steady sleep routine and sleeping as long as possible allows the mind and body to repair during the night and allows for optimal performance the next day. Finally, talk through stress with trusted family or friends. Simply chatting with someone who will support your need to vent can do wonders for your stress levels.

Need more ways to reduce your stress? The Stress Less Club is coming to Lenape! The first meeting will be held on January 27, 2016, and we will learn fun ways to lessen stress in our every day lives. If you have any questions, contact Kyra Berry at 109718@lrstudents.org.