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Acknowledging Stress Among High School Teens

BACKGROUND

Stress in high school teens has always been an interesting topic for me mainly because I am a stressed teen in high school. During my junior year in my Intro to Psychology class, I took a poll of about 50% of my high school asking how stressed they were on a day-to-day basis. I was shocked by the information I received and since then I have wanted to do something about it. 

THE CHALLENGE

Stress can resemble a heavy weight sitting on our shoulders, and not many people are equipped with the right tools to deal with the excess amount of stress teenagers deal with daily. My challenge is to help people acknowledge the problem of stress among high school teens, and then use that knowledge to help themselves and others. After taking a poll of about 50% of the teens in my high school, it is obvious that there is a problem with how often we feel stressed. Unfortunately, stress no longer only fills us in school, but it follows us home everyday and on the weekends. 

 

These four pie charts contain real statistics based on a poll I took in my high school. About 50% of the whole high school responded to the question, “How Often Do You Feel Stressed?” Moving from left to right from top to bottom, the graphs are ordered from freshman to seniors. Every individual was given the option to say that they are never stressed, and only 1 person out of the 136 people who responded said that they were never stressed. This is a problem.

THE SOLUTION

First, we must understand why we experience stress. Here is a short clip to explain the science behind feeling stressed.

After we understand the background of where stress comes from, we then must acknowledge the different ways that stress presents itself. Stress can be depicted in three different ways: acute, episodic, and chronic.

  • Acute – Short-term events which do not last long but if traumatic, can have a lasting impact on us.
  • Episodic Stress – Situations which are also short-term but which we find ourselves in regularly, such as rushing to work or other recurring stressful experiences in the workplace.
  • Chronic – Ongoing stresses which last into the long-term. These may include the stress of illness or the friction of a fractious relationship.

Identifying the type of stress an individual may have is crucial to treating that stress in the correct way. Coping with stress is extremely difficult for a lot of people, especially because many of them don’t know any effective ways. Understanding healthy vs. unhealthy coping mechanisms is key to helping yourself deal with them. Some examples are:

  • Healthy: getting fresh air, relying on rituals, visualize being calm, take a bath, exercise.
  • Unhealthy: drinking and smoking, hibernate, ignore the problem, dwell on the negative, eating.

Reaching out to high school students who are stressed out and teaching them about the healthy ways to deal with their stress is important to solving the problem. I want students to reach relief instead of experiencing the constant mind frame of stress.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I now ask for feedback from you. Using questions like “What if….? How might we….? I wonder…..?,” you can add your personal ideas about my project on high school stress within your feedback and questions. I also ask you to take this quick quiz that I prepared for you. 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ceh16Z1-WQw_BnTuABN8fCz7bqDviahMw0MLe4hK3Es/edit

Taking this quiz will help me further my exploration into understanding stress in high school teens, and find more ways to help those who need it. My next steps will be designing and hanging posters around my school describing tips on dealing with stress using healthy coping mechanisms. Stress is okay to a certain degree, but I want students to understand how to deal with the stress when it reaches an overwhelming point. 

Works Cited

“Academic Pressure: 5 Tips from an Expert on Coping with School Stress.” Huff Post. Huffington Post,              www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/27/academic-pressure-5-tips-_n_2774106.html. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.

Cohen, Melissa. “Student Stress and Anxiety Guide.” Learn Psychology, www.learnpsychology.org/student-stress-anxiety-guide/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.

Green, Lauren A. “Best and Worst Ways to Cope with Stress.” Health, 20 Dec. 2013, www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20765943,00.html. Accessed 18 Apr. 2018.

Keating, Daniel P. “Dealing with Stress at School in an Age of Anxiety.” Psychology Today, 15 Aug. 2017, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stressful-lives/201708/dealing-stress-school-in-age-anxiety. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.

“Managing Stress.” Brainsmart, BBC, 14 July 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnpQrMqDoqE. Accessed 17 Apr. 2018.

“Stressed Out: Helping Your Teen Cope with School Pressure.” Parenting Team, Today, 4 Dec. 2017, community.today.com/parentingteam/post/stressed-out-helping-your-teen-cope-with-school-pressure. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.

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COMMENTS: 12
  1. April 26, 2018 by Nicole Hsing

    Hey Mandy,

    I enjoyed viewing your project! I think your poll helped with your statistics and showed effectively how most highschool students at your school feel stressed more than three times a week. I like how you identified healthy and unhealthy habits for coping with stress. It is essential to continue to raise awareness about how to deal with stress in the healthiest way possible, rather than dwelling on the problem. Your google survey was an excellent addition to your project, gaining more data while also receiving feedback on your project. Good job!

    • April 30, 2018 by Mandy Friedlander

      Hey Nicole,
      Thank you so much for viewing my presentation, I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for responding to my survey! I really appreciate your help in furthering my understanding into stress in high school teens.

  2. April 27, 2018 by Saanya Kapasi

    This was a very streamlined project! I really appreciated that you identified the different types of stress (acute, episodic, and chronic), because the blanket statement of “stress” can lose its power if we don’t identify the type. For me, and I’m sure I speak for many high schoolers, we often go through episodic stress, periods of time that are stressful, but that eventually end. I recently was in a show at my school, where rehearsals would go until 8:30 every night for a full week, and I’m still trying to catch up on work I’ve missed and start studying ahead for exams that are coming up. Though this time is stressful, I know that with the right stress management techniques, I can pull through. Thanks for a great presentation!

    • April 30, 2018 by Mandy Friedlander

      Saanya,
      Thank you for reviewing my presentation. I agree with your view when you say most high schools experience episodic stress, I think this is very insightful. I really hope you catch up on all your work! I completely understand how extracurricular activities can set you back in your work. Don’t get too stressed!

  3. April 27, 2018 by Jane MacRae

    Your project is super interesting! I think it’s really important for teenagers to learn about now–especially the part with “healthy” and “unhealthy” ways of coping with stress. I definitely feel the impact of my school on my stress levels, so I learned a lot about what I could do to lessen my stress by reading your project. Thank you for diving into this really relevant and important project!

    • April 30, 2018 by Mandy Friedlander

      Jane,
      I am so glad my tips on healthy vs unhealthy coping mechanisms helped you, I found that many people at my high school use unhealthy coping mechanisms or just try to shut out their stress completely, and I really hope to help change that for some people with this project.

  4. April 28, 2018 by Emma Mansoor

    I think your project was so interesting. I think it was a great choice to do a project on stress because it’s a topic everyone can connect with and understand. I thought that it was a great idea to include a poll of students at your school. Overall, good job.

  5. April 29, 2018 by Minjeong.Kim

    As soon as I saw your title, I was intrigued to open your presentation up! Your topic is very relatable, and it is an issue prevalent in the student body in high schools around the world. I really liked how you found the scientific reasoning behind being stressed out, and I also liked how you provided solutions!

  6. April 29, 2018 by Crawford Asman

    Like many others, I was also drawn to your website through your title. I can relate to the information included in this project as I suffered from extreme anxiety in stress that started in middle school; and I’m sure many others can relate to your topic as well. Furthermore, regarding your project, I thought that the poll you provided was compelling as it did show that stress is prevalent everywhere, no matter the grade you’re in or the school that you attend.

  7. April 29, 2018 by Suzy.Ascuitto

    Hi Mandy,

    I think your project is really relevant to today’s society because so many people have stress from school and sometimes it can get so bad that it turns into anxiety. I like that you let people know that some stress is okay, but that it’s important to reach out for help when it becomes overwhelming.

  8. April 29, 2018 by Luisa

    Hi Mandy. I think that stress is very prevalent in my school and lots of other students’ lives in high school, and your project educated me about why that is and how to deal with it. I think it’s important to use and support healthy coping mechanisms like yoga, breathing exercises, and mindfulness classes. I wonder if more active participation to avoid stress (like yoga or meditation or talking through it) would be more beneficial than posters?

    • April 30, 2018 by Mandy Friedlander

      Luisa,
      I really appreciate you looking at my project and your input on a better way to help my community, I think actively getting people to participate is an amazing idea and I should have thought of that! I will definitely try to do this!

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