Stress is the body’s response to challenging situations. When we find ourselves in difficult, frightening or unexpected situations, our body reacts in ways that are meant to protect us from harm.
When we feel stressed we release hormones that raise our heart and breathing rate, our muscles tense and our focus sharpens.
How do I tell if my teenager is stressed?
Some changes in your teenager’s behaviour that might indicate they are stressed:
- Problems with concentration
- Having trouble remembering things, organising, planning or making decisions
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling irritable and annoyed
- Feeling generally run down or unwell
- Feeling low and or anxious
- Feeling that ‘nothing is going right’, or have emotional ‘ups and downs’ for no obvious reason
- Loss or gain in weight
Causes of teenage stress
- School, especially homework, exams and pressure to do well
- Relationships with friends, boyfriends and girlfriends
- Life changes like leaving school, getting into college or getting a job
- Too many things to do, and feeling unprepared or overwhelmed by tasks
- Lack of sleep
How to reduce stress in teenagers
- Physical activity: exercise burns off the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol, so exercise can help the body relax and is great for mental health too
- Connecting with family and friends : plan some special time with your teen and encourage them to stay connected with family and friends. Connecting with others can help us relax and get a fresh perspective on things
- Sleep: one of the biggest causes of stress in teenagers is not getting enough sleep. Your teen still needs about 8-10 hours of sleep a night
- Eat good food: it can be hard to be mindful of eating healthily when feeling stressed but it really can have a huge impact on our mood. Encourage your teen to eat healthily and they will have more energy to deal with stress
- Relax and unwind: going for a walk, reading a book, having a relaxing bath or listening to some music. It will be different for everyone but encourage your child to identify and practice things that help them relax.
When to get help for stress in teenagers
If your tees stress won’t go away, it could be helpful to talk to a professional.Your GP or a school counsellor/guidance counsellor could be a good starting point or you could look at the support available here on turn2me.
If you would like professional support with anything you are going through turn2me provides free, confidential online supports for young people and adults in the Republic of Ireland.
- Peer support – A free and safe space where you can find and give support by connecting with other people who have been through similar experiences.
- Group support -Facilitated by a mental health professional, support groups are a safe space to connect with others and share solutions and coping strategies on a variety of mental health topics.
- Counselling – Support for whatever you are going through, this is a safe space to talk with a professional counsellor to help you understand your feelings and work together to develop the tools you need to get through tough times.