A complete guide on “how to deal with stress as a teenage girl”
Did you know that teen girls struggle with anxiety at higher rates than teen boys? Research shows that about 5% of girls and boys will be diagnosed with depression during the elementary school years.
And as they reach puberty, these numbers shift: by the teen years, as many as 20% of teen girls have symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Stress becomes a normal part of life. But not everyone can cope with stress which is why there are rising suicide rates.
If you know some teenager feeling stressed struggling with chronic stress negative self-talk, then chances are she isn’t alone.
Long-term stress can raise blood pressure, impair the immune system, and increase the risk of diseases, including obesity and heart disease. Long-term stress, if left unchecked, can lead to a slew of physical and mental health issues. In this case, professional medical advice might be required.
It can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and sadness, growing more common among teenagers. In 2018 data from the National Survey of Mental health was evaluated. In the age group of 6- 17, the incidence of depression and anxiety was up from 5.4 to 5.7 per cent from the year 2003 to 2018.
Stress in teenagers may not necessarily be the same as that of adults. Like adults, it’s in the hands of teenagers and young children to learn to cope with stress in healthy ways. And in doing that, they need help from their parents.
The first and foremost step is to learn to recognize the signs of stress and manage it with the correct help; it is possible if they work together.
It can be quite easy to look back at the high school in the past now that we are adults, but we should think about it from their perspective.
As exciting as the teen years can be, they also come with too much stress. Teenage girls have to tolerate all kinds of uncertainty: a changing body due to puberty, shifting friendships and social groups, peer pressure, and unknowns about life after graduation.
Teen females are subjected to an unrealistic standard of beauty imposed by social media. In the meantime, standardized testing and resume-building activities are putting greater pressure on today’s youth than ever before at school.
It’s no surprise that so many young women are worried. While some stress is unavoidable, parents and schools can do a lot to make teenagers’ lives simpler.
The first and foremost thing is identifying what causes them to feel stress. Is it financial problems? Or is it a change in their environment like changing schools often?
Now, we should first take a look at what is stress, recognize its symptoms then go for treating it.
We will see all this one by one. Here are some suggestions for helping your nervous adolescent cope with stress in a healthy manner.
What is stress?
Stress is a profoundly personal experience that defies categorization. And how can you measure stress if you can’t even describe it?
In 1936 Hans Selye invented the term stress; according to him, it was a nonspecific response by the body towards any change.
He discovered that when lab animals were exposed to various physical and mental stimuli such as bright light, extreme cold or heat or loud noise, they developed stomach ulcers and adrenal hypertrophy.
During further research, he found that exposing these animals to chronic stress lead to various ailments such as heart attacks, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis, which are also commonly found in humans.
Later on, Selye described a new term called “stressor” to differentiate between the response and stimulus. When the word stress is said, we all associate it with discomfort, and according to the definition in the dictionary, it causes mental, physical or emotional strain.
Stress is something a person feels when they do work beyond their ability, something which they usually won’t do. It takes more effort on the individual’s part to complete the work, and it feels more like a chore that they won’t do if they could.
As a result, stress was cast in a negative light, and its beneficial consequences were overlooked. On the other hand, stress may be helpful and advantageous when it encourages people to achieve more.
Because stress is unique to us, it isn’t easy to define. Observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride provides a nice example. Some are slumped over in the back seats, eyes closed, mouths gritted, white knuckles gripping the retaining bar with an iron grasp.
They can’t wait for the torture chamber ride to be over so they can get back on solid ground and flee. The wide-eyed thrill seekers, shrieking and savouring each steep plummet, are in front, racing to get on the next ride.
In between, you might come across a handful with a laid-back demeanour that borders on boredom. So, how stressful was the roller coaster ride?
The roller coaster analogy helps illustrate why the same stressor may have such a different impact on each of us. The sensation of control that the passengers in the back had over the event set them apart from those in the front.
Despite the fact that neither group had much influence, their views and expectations were vastly different. We often cause our stress due to erroneous opinions that we might learn to correct.
You can educate individuals to ride the roller coaster from the rear to the front, and no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.
While there is no universally accepted definition of stress, the feeling of having little or no control is always distressing, and that is exactly what stress is about.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of stress.
Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways in adolescents. Not everyone reacts the same when they experience stress.
Not all who have the symptoms are considered suffering from stress; sometimes, it may also be due to some other condition. So it is always suggested to take professional help if you need it.
But depending on how most people react, some signs and symptoms of stress are given below.
Irritability and anger:
Children don’t always have the vocabulary to express their feelings, and tension can build up and lead to negative thoughts. Stressed teenagers may be more irritable or argumentative than usual.
Changes in behaviour:
A young child who was before a good listener is now acting out. A once-active adolescent now refuses to leave the house. They start demanding perfection in whatever large tasks they perform.
They suddenly are feeling overwhelmed. These sudden changes in social relationships can indicate a high level of stress.
A child or adolescent may complain of being tired all of the time, sleeping more than normal, or having difficulty falling asleep at night, due to which they don’t get enough sleep.
Neglecting their work:
Stress could be a factor if an adolescent suddenly doesn’t want to do even attainable tasks, keeps asking excuses, forgets duties, or starts spending more screen time than usual.
Changes in eating habits:
When we are feeling stressed, it is usually expressed in our appetite. Sometimes the amount of food we eat can be relatively less than what we typically do or sometimes more; it’s vice versa; you can never predict.
Getting sick more frequently:
Physical symptoms of stress are common. Children who are stressed frequently complain of headaches or stomach aches and may visit the school nurse regularly.
Stress management skills:
Stress is an unavoidable part of life for both children and adults. These techniques can help to manage stress levels:
1. Instead of attempting to solve their problem, validate it.
It’s easy to jump in and provide counsel when someone is venting to you. This is especially true for teens, dealing with issues that are all too familiar to us from adolescence.
Unless you’ve been specifically asked for guidance, it’s probably best to validate their feelings rather than provide a solution right away to alleviate stress.
When a teen expresses her concerns or frustrations, she isn’t always requesting that you “fix” anything. She wants to feel heard and connected to you.
That could be all the comfort she requires to self-soothe and solve her problem on her own.
You can show them that you understand what stressful situation she’s going through by empathizing with her and telling her that what she’s going through is completely normal and understandable.
If you’re tempted to offer counsel, instead make a quick, sweet validating statement:
- “That sounds dreadful.”
- “That would irritate me as well.”
- “I understand what you are feeling and why this is important to you.”
2. Rather than focusing on her anxiety, emphasize their strengths
Talking about anxiety might sometimes make it worse. While some venting and validation can be beneficial, rehashing the same material only exacerbates nervous feelings.
Have you ever been in a conversation where you’re hammering the same points again and over, and it feels like you’re going around in circles? You keep analyzing and re-analyzing, but nothing seems to work.
Ruminating is a type of circular thinking habit typical in both teens and adults who suffer from anxiety. Ruminating intensifies our fears, similar to how water circling drain speeds up and gets quicker.
Redirect your talk so that it focuses on the individual’s abilities rather than ruminating.
3. Relax and manage worries by practising coping skills.
When we’re anxious, we all know we should relax, but it’s easier said than done. Friends may advise us to “just breathe” or “just relax,” which may be sufficient for someone who has a lot of experience with coping strategies.
This counsel, however, isn’t specific enough for many teenagers. They must learn to relax and identify the coping methods that are most effective for them.
Teens can learn to use the breath technique to relieve anxiety by taking deep breaths rather than shallow breaths.
Body-based treatments such as progressive muscle relaxation may be more effective than breathing for some teenagers. They can also use What’s Up, a mental health app specially made for teens, which has features that can help them during their panic attacks.
Worry-Free Tween is an online course that teaches youngsters and their parents’ anxiety coping methods.
4. Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is necessary for both physical and emotional health. Experts recommend that children aged 6 to 12 need nine to twelve hours per night while teenagers require eight to ten hours. To keep stress at bay, sleep must be prioritized.
Limiting screen time at night and keeping digital devices out of the bedroom to have no trouble sleeping.
For people of all ages, physical activity, especially regular exercise, is a crucial stress reducer. For children in the age category of 06-17, it is advised that they have physical activity of at least 60 minutes every day.
6. Spending time with Nature
Take a walk outside. Spending time in Nature can help you relieve stress and enhance your overall health.
According to various studies, people who live in locations with more green space had lower levels of sadness, anxiety, and stress.
7. Write down what goes on in your mind.
When there are too many thoughts, and it’s chaos inside our heads, nothing else relieves it than writing.
Based on research, it is proven that by writing and expressing thoughts, the mental and overall well-being of the individual can be improved.
It is important to have positive thoughts and affirm them through short grateful phrases. It helps deal with depression and anxiety and can help teenagers manage their stressful conditions.
8. Listen to Music
Nowadays, it’s widespread to find a stressed-out teenager among us because there’s too much competition in everything in this world right now. Most teenagers can do to relieve stress or keep their negative minds at bay by turning to music.
Music is always the solution for everything. Usually, the music should be calm such that it brings peace to the chaos in their mind; it’s a positive way of coping with stress and other mental health problems.
That’s all about how you can deal with stress in some effective ways. When the problem is known, it’s easier to provide a solution, so look out for signs of stress, and if you find it, you know what you should do!
The contents given in the article are just for the sake of knowing; if you have any health issues and need counsel, you are requested to seek medical help from a qualified practitioner.
In other cases, you can follow these tips daily to keep yourself at a distance from stress.