Adolescence years start and cover from puberty to adulthood. A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity- a teenager. Adolescence can be roughly divided into three stages: early adolescence, generally ages eleven to fourteen; middle adolescence, ages fifteen to seventeen; and late adolescence, ages eighteen to twenty-one. In addition to physiological growth,
Adolescents go through lots of stress during these stages of their lives – due to changes in the body, study stress, competition, projects, exams and home work, peer pressure, adaptation to new things etc .
Some of the signs of stress in a teenager can show up in their emotions, body, thinking and behavior:
- withdrawing from friendship groups or activities she usually enjoys
- seeming nervous or anxious
- sleeping too little or too much
- eating more ‘comfort food’
- eating less
- wanting to be by oneself more than usual
- refusing to go to school
- having emotional ‘ups and downs’ for no obvious reason
- having less energy than usual
- drinking more caffeine products or taking over-the-counter painkillers – for example, Advil, Motrin, codeine or ibuprofen
- being aggressive
- going down in schoolwork or results
- not caring about her appearance
- finding it hard to concentrate and stay focused
- losing the thread of thoughts or conversations
Here are some tips to reduce the stress level in adolescents.
1. Get regular exercises like yoga, jogging, running, martial arts, individual or team sports, walking, join gym for work out. Exercise is stress buster – remember !
2. Eat regular meals – do not skip meals. Have good amount of breakfast, lunch and dinner at appropriate time.
3. Avoid using excessive caffeine in the form of – coffee, tea, soda, diet soda, soft drinks, energy drinks
4. Do not drink alcohol, avoid drugs and do not be a part of illegal activities- Do not bend to peer pressure
5. Take a break from stressful activities or situations. Engage in hobby, listen to music, volunteer in vet hospitals, take care of pets, baby sit, read good books
6. Build a net work of people who has similar interest and help in positive ways.
7. Rehearse and practice for stressful situation – get ready for the examination well ahead.
8. Learn relaxation techniques – breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation techniques helps during stressful events.
9. Breakdown large task into small tasks – have priorities.
10. Learn to recognize and reduce self talk. Change negative thoughts to positive thoughts and keep smiling. Practice developing neutral thoughts and positive thoughts.
11. Do not spend too much time on social media and in selfies.
12. Learn not to demand perfection from yourself. It is okay not to be perfect. Results may vary, say next time will do a better job. Do not get disappointed if something goes wrong. Learn to feel good about yourself and doing good enough job is just okay.
13. Approach family members – spend time with parents, grandparents, siblings and seek advice and help. Talk to your counselor about your issues.
14. Get enough good sleep – do not go to bed very late. Get enough sleep – it will help you to overcome the heaviness of mind.
15. Eat good food – Aim for a family diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, dairy foods and wholegrains. Explore meatless diet – try vegetarian and vegan foods.
For parents: If you observe and see your child’s worries have got worse over time, or your child’s stress is getting in the way of sleep, appetite, energy levels, enjoyment or socializing, it’s a good idea to see a professional. Professionals will help your child to relax and may advice in such a way to make things better and easy for the child.