According to an article published by the American Psychological Association (APA), many teenagers in the USA say they experience stress in patterns comparable to what adults go through. Teenagers also report higher stress levels than adults during the school year.
Tutors from Leaps ‘n Bounds, a learning center in Dubai, also observe that teen stress is not just confined to adolescents in certain countries; it is slowly becoming a widespread issue.
Teen stress can be caused by different factors including the pressure to perform well (or at least to pass) academically and in sports, and to have a great social life. In school, adolescents constantly face tough academic demands and responsibilities and experience social pressure.
Unfortunately, these challenges spill over even after the afternoon school bell rings, which can cause teenagers to feel even more stressed.
Dealing with Teen Stress
For teenagers to learn how to effectively deal with school pressures, they need to develop and rely on key personal skills. These include:
1. Time management
All teenagers today always seem to be swamped with numerous activities: assignments, studying, extracurricular activities and sports. They need to find time for their friends, too.
Because teenagers need to have enough time to go through and complete these activities, they need to learn how to manage their time properly. Time management is an important skill they need to develop. This skill pertains to their ability to plan and control how they spend the hours in their day to complete their tasks and accomplish their goals.
With proper time management, teens will be able to establish which tasks to prioritize and how to set their goals, and learn how to monitor where their time actually goes. As such, they will be able to avoid the stress of not having enough time on their hands to finish their assignments, complete their projects, meet their friends, and see their maths tutors in Dubai, if they have additional weekly tutorial or learning sessions.
2. Setting realistic goals
Being number one in the class and, at the same time, for example, being the captain of the school football team are goals worth working hard for. However, overachieving teens tend to feel more pressure. When they fail or feel they didn’t perform up to expectations, they may develop low self-esteem and other negative feelings and attitudes.
Teenagers, therefore, are encouraged to lower their goals or set more realistic ones so that they can achieve more. By doing so, teens will also avoid pressure and boost academic success.
3. Positive coping skills
Coping skills are daily strategies and activities everyone uses or relies on to deal with, work through, or process emotions. Examples of positive coping skills include exercising, meditating, talking with friends or other family members, and having healthy hobbies such as reading and gardening.
Teenagers need to develop and practice positive coping skills instead of negative ones so that they will learn how to deal with stress through healthy ways. Positive coping strategies increase long-term resilience and well-being.
Negative coping techniques such as smoking and using drugs, on the other hand, may provide temporary relief from difficult emotions and pressure but lead to substance dependency and abuse.
For teenagers to effectively withstand adversity and deal confidently with daily stress and other challenges, they need to choose and apply positive coping strategies.
For teens to better cope with pressure, they also need to have strong, healthy bodies. Teenagers, therefore, need to get enough sleep and rest, have a well-balanced diet, and get the right amount of exercise their bodies they need every day.
Adolescents need to take some time to pause from the relentless pace of everyday life and enjoy some creative activities that will help keep them from dwelling on or stressing over school pressures. This, in turn, will help them lower their stress levels.
Generally, stress is precipitated by stressful thinking. As such, teens can avoid stress and its negative effects by changing the way they think. When they have a positive mental attitude, they will have stronger coping strategies, better health, and a more stable, less stressful emotional life.
Adopting a positive way of thinking also helps teens complete their work and handle all their responsibilities. If they consistently think they won’t finish something or they don’t have enough time on their hands, they will lack the motivation to complete what they already started or even begin their task.
Teenagers only have a few more years before they enter another important phase in their lives: adulthood. But they can still enjoy all the experiences that come with adolescence and, at the same time, cope with all their school work and other activities without all the stress by simply developing the right skills.
Bushra Manna is one of the founders and Principal of Leaps and Bounds Education Centre – Motorcity. She has 20 years’ experience teaching the British and American curricula internationally at primary level – early middle school level, ages 4-12. Bushra believes in imparting deep learning to a child and not just rote learning, which is why she recommends the Magikats programme at her centre, to promote a genuine understanding with its multisensory, differentiated and interactive approach within a small group setting.