Stressay – An Essay About Stress from a Teenage Perspective
We have all felt it. The fear-inducing burden of stress that makes hearts race and palms sweat. The definition of stress is a specific response by the body to a stimulus, which disturbs the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism. That’s a mouthful. I think of stress as the weight that sits on my shoulders, the presence of an impending disaster or deadline that lurks just around the corner. It’s the race to get everything done before life falls apart. I’m sure you all know that feeling, because stress is not biased in whom it chooses to victimize.
The stress an average teenager is the weight of countless expectations, from teachers and parents, from friends and peers and mostly ourselves. Our stress is watching the screen of our cell phones because we live in a generation where missing a tweet is worse than missing a meal. Our stress is the time and energy it takes to do our hair and choose our outfit and hide our faces under makeup. Our stress is the panic that sets in when we wake up and realize there is a test today and the thought, “I’m dead if I don’t get an A.” Our stress is the mirror hanging on the wall, showing us a reflection we wish we didn’t have to see. Our stress is the look on other’s faces as we walk the halls of that terrifying place called high school.
I base my knowledge of stress from my personal experience, being in this stage of life known as the teenage years. Teenagers try to take on the responsibilities of an adult, even though we only know how to handle things as a child. There is no easy transition, and the result is an overly burdened adolescent walking around with something they don’t know how to carry. I do acknowledge that teenagers can be stubborn, moody, and yes, rebellious, but stress does not help. Remember that your parents once said the same things about you.
So how are you, as parents, friends or family supposed to deal with the overwhelming amount of teenage hormones combined with stress?
Encourage us to take time for physical activity, whether it is a walk, yoga or taking a bike ride. Make it a family activity, and while you may experience some resistance at first, you will be amazed by how much better everyone will feel afterwards.
Get enough sleep. Teens should be getting about 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night. That is not really happening due to homework and smartphones. Try to help your teens plan their night so they complete homework, sneak in some socializing, all while still getting to bed at a reasonable time.
While those two are very important ways of reducing stress, they can be hard to get your teenager to actually do. The absolute best way for you to help your teen deal with stress is to simply show your support. You may get mad at them for having a messy room or failing that last test, but they are juggling a lot and they are trying. Show your teen that you’re in their corner. Show them you’re proud of what they’ve done and you’re there for them. That simple reassurance can melt away layers of stress, because no matter what a teenager says or does, in the end they are trying to make you proud.