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Youth Stress

By Gemma Allan
Stress involves the bodys natural reaction to change and the
pressure to do something. It is a healthy aspect of daily life and is
necessary to stay alert and cope with challenging situations
although in excess amounts it can be detrimental. Stress among
youth is an issue that is overlooked in society but is very much
evident with studies showing that approximately 10% of all
adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder (www. teenhelp.com). To
ensure that youth stress is recognized it is important that the
causes, affects and coping strategies of stress are fully understood
within society.
For young people, stress derives from almost all aspects of life.
School, time management and constraints, social and family
expectations and difficulties and growing up in general are all issues
which in most youth cases are the main causes of stress.
School related stress comes from the obvious reasons being an
abundance of assignments and homework and what feels like
limited time to complete them. The pressure to do well is also a
lingering stress cause as well as teachers, for both good and bad
reasons, the good being wanting to impress them and show them
improvements and the bad being teachers who from a students
perspective are unfair, harsh or hard to learn from. Due dates of
assignments and homework also add extra pressure at school.
Social and Family issues can also be stressful for adolescents; this
can include anything from friendships to relationships to family
problems. Loosing or gaining friendships can be stressful for youth
as often change in any circumstance is a stress trigger. Expectations
in romantic relationships at an adolescent age are also very stressful
for teenagers as well as family issues relating from anything like
parental separation to fighting with siblings.
A main cause in youth stress is the realization that as adolescents
we are growing up and we must deal with new expectations and
responsibilities like having to figure career paths and get part time
jobs. Finding time to balance all aspects of life including social,
spiritual, physical and mental/emotional can often be the most
stressful part of life for young people.
Stress can have a variety of effects on the body. These effects can
be
determined
into
4
categories
being
the
physical,
mental/emotional, spiritual and social effects. Physically the effects
of stress include an increase in blood and heart pressure, butterflies,
lack of co-ordination, slower reflexes and tense muscles. The

physical effects of stress are often much easier to detect than other
aspects.
Mental/Emotional effects of stress can be the most detrimental for
youth as the mind is a powerful weapon. Indications of stress can
include angry, sad and confused emotions as well as headaches and
crying. In the worst cases, stress can cause depression, which in
some cases self-harm and suicide could be the outcome.
Effects of stress in a social aspect can include two polar opposite
outcomes. The first being that stress can cause us to isolate
ourselves and avoid social situations in general and the second can
be that we over indulge in social situations, this can be due to peer
pressure or they can be used to separate ourselves from other
stress related issues. Spiritually, effects of stress include turning to
or turning away from a particular religion and stress can also change
the way we perceive our beliefs and ourselves.
Coping with stress can be a difficult task but with the right tools it is
the most effective way to relax. In personal cases, getting organized
is the most effective way to cope with stress. By making a schedule,
or not leaving assignments and homework to the last minute, or
prioritizing in general can assist us in avoiding stressful situations
and takes a weight off our shoulders.
By finding an activity to help us wind down and escape our stress,
even if only for a short time, it can allow us time to relax. This can
include anything from taking a shower/bath, listening to music,
watching a movie, playing a sport, taking a walk, watching the stars
or just taking time to breathe. Although this can seem quite simple
it can be the most effective.
When stress becomes too much to handle letting out our emotions
can be the appropriate way of coping. This can range from a
physical aspect of crying or screaming to let out our angry and
frustrated emotions to the social aspect of talking to someone like a
family, friend or even a counselor we trust that can give us advice to
handle our stress. Some times going out with friends to a movie or
to lunch or even a party can also help relieve stress.
For some people finding some one to talk to can be hard so by using
outside agencies to understand personal stress issues or to just talk
about them can really help. Organizations such as Kids Helpline
(1800 55 1800 www.kidshelp.com.au) or Lifeline (13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au) can be of great assistance for youth stress. If
stress becomes more serious and leads to greater issues
organizations specifically related to the issue could be more
appropriate for example; Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 -

www.youthbeyondblue.com.au) for depression, or seeing a doctor or


specialist it starts to bring harm to yourself and others.
Youth stress is a serous issue within society but with the correct
strategies it can be helped or even prevented. By organizing and
planning before stress gets out of hand or by taking time out to
relax it can relieve and control our stress. It is important to
remember to find balance in our life and dont forget that a small
amount of stress is healthy but make sure that we always stay in
control.