5 Ways on How to Deal with Stress as a Teenager
Teenagers today are struggling like never before. They’re facing a multitude of problems—bullying, divorced or absentee parents, physical and sexual abuse, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts—in the midst of one of the most uncertain eras in modern history. Worst of all, many teens stay silent about their struggles, fighting a lonely battle that is claiming far too many lives. How to deal with stress as a teenager is a difficult question to ask yourself.
I remember some of the challenges I had to go through. Here are some of the things I stressed over:
- I was bullied. I was picked on for how I spoke, dressed, religion/ethnicity, not being athletic, and always being last done with taking a test.
- I was balancing AP classes, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, work, and home life.
- Trying to get into college.
- Not having enough money.
- My lack of confidence.
- Trying to get a girl to like me.
How to deal with stress as a teenager is something that is not taught in schools. I had a difficult time because I always felt like I was alone. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered some proper ways to manage my stress.
If you are not effectively coping with stress as a teenager, there are consequences. It can lead to:
- Suicide ideation
- Unhealthy addictions
- Trouble at school or the law
- Hanging out with the wrong crowd
Here are the benefits if you find the correct ways to coping with stress as a teenager:
- Improve physical and mental health
- Feel refreshed
- More energy
- Greater resiliency
- Better decisions throughout the day
Now you know the downfalls and the benefits of coping with stress as a teenager now let’s go into how you do it.
Here are 5 Ways
1. Journaling – Positive Psychology provides 83 benefits of journaling. Here are just a few I find helpful. Journaling gives you the chance to put all your thoughts on a piece of paper. Journaling allows you to reflect on your problems and brainstorm healthy ways to cope with it. Journaling helps you calm and clear the mind.
I remember meeting someone at a kid’s birthday party. The man told me he used to have intrusive thoughts. He would continuously journal. He would journal in the morning, journal in class, when he got home, and before he went to class. He would journal so much until those thoughts no longer took over his life.
You have several options. You can buy a journal and use that as your diary. Carry the journal with you in your backpack. The secondary option is to use your notes section on your phone or use any journaling apps. The best option is to use a notebook because when you write something with a pen, you are more likely to write more than if you are typing it. Journal as often as you want until you don’t need to journal as much.
2. Exercise – Harvard Health quotes, “High-intensity exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, resulting in the “runner’s high” that joggers report.” Exercising is a long-term solution. The more you exercise, the better you will feel, and the better you feel, the less stressed you will feel.
Exercising can be daunting for some people, especially if you are not in shape. Do the exercises you enjoy the most. I love running, so I do a lot of running. You may enjoy tennis or soccer, so you should do that. Do a minimum of 30 minutes of intense physical activity at least four times a week. It will not entirely eliminate your stress, but when you feel better about yourself, you think clearer about overcoming your struggles.
3. Quality Sleep – Sleep is vital for your mental health. Without proper sleep, it can lead to inappropriate behaviors, lack of focus, and worsen your decision-making abilities. According to the Sleep Foundaion, a teenager needs 8 – 10 hours of sleep. Don’t use your phone 30 minutes before going to sleep because it can prevent you from falling asleep and don’t use your phone 30 minutes of waking up because something you see can trigger negative emotions.
It can be a struggle to get enough sleep when trying to meet the demands of school, work, extracurricular activities, and your family. It is essential to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Have a night and morning routine. A proper routine and schedule will help you with a good night’s rest, leading to more alertness.
4. Create meaning in your life – Viktor E. Frankl, who is a Holocaust survivor, is the author of the book Man’s Search For Meaning. He mentions in the book, those who know their why can bear almost any how. In the concentration camps, Viktor was providing free therapy and convincing people not to commit suicide. After the camps got liberated, he discovered his wife and parents were killed in the concentration camps. He could have let the stress kill him, but he pursued writing many books and became the founder of a logotherapy concept.
You may not know what you want to do, but you may have a passion. You may like to dance, sing, make people laugh, or give back. You can start a YouTube channel, start a nonprofit, or write a book. Find meaning in whatever you like now, and you will shift your focus from your stress to your purpose.
5. Open up to a loved one or trusted adult – We cannot fight alone in our battles no matter how hard you try. It can be a huge burden to carry. If your house is a safe space to open up then you should open up to your family. If your school provides a counselor then go see a counselor. If your friends are someone you can trust, then tell them about your problems.
Visit Better Help, which is an affordable online therapy app. Opening up can give you a different perspective on how to deal with your problems, or sometimes, it feels better to vent.
I gave you five useful tips on how you deal with stress as a teenager. Maybe all five will work, or perhaps one will work. I have noticed that all these five worked for e and I am confident it can work for you.
Don’t try all of these five at once, implement one at a time. Give yourself some time to implement these. Make sure you are consistent for 30 days straight before you rule out any of these.