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Teenage Stress


Background:

Psychology has always been an interest of mine, so when my high school told me that I could take a GOA psychology course, I jumped on the opportunity to take Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology squishes together my career interest and my life motto: psychology and P.A.C.E. When I was 9 years old, I began attending an all-girls summer camp, where I learned the importance of P.A.C.E, which stands for Positive Attitude Changes Everything. I had never questioned the validity of the motto that I have lived by for more than half of my life until recently. In October of 2015, I lost a close friend to an unforeseen brain hemorrhage. She was skipping toward me after completing a drill at field hockey practice when her vision went blurry and she collapsed in front of me. It seemed impossible to live by my motto that “Positive Attitude Changes Everything” when positive attitude couldn’t bring back my friend. My motto had failed me and I didn’t know what to do. This class helped me to understand so much of what I couldn’t understand before. P.A.C.E isn’t some magical power that can go back in time and change events, but instead, it is a magical power that can change the way you perceive those events. This course has made my connection with P.A.C.E so much stronger than it ever was before because I have been able to back it up with science and psychology.

Do you know what positive psychology is?

Many people are unfamiliar with the new and developing concept of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of a person’s well-being. It is the combination of every factor that makes a person’s life meaningful and worth living. Positive Psychology is made up of well-being, gratitude, meaning, connection, grit, resilience, and so much more, and it is changing every day. So, why am I telling you this? I am not here to tell you everything about positive psychology (although I am sure you would find it incredibly interesting as I have). But instead, I am here to educate you on stress. I would confidently bet that everyone reading this has experienced stress at some point in their life. Although stress can be productive in moderation, too much stress, especially in the teenage population, can be detrimental to a person’s well-being.

What is stress?

According to The American Institute of Stress, stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” In moderation, stress can be beneficial because it pushes people to be more productive. However, stress is not always beneficial. My focus has been on the effects of too much stress and what we can do to relieve some of that stress, and therefore lessen the negative impact that stress can have on a person. When you think about it, there is no one definition of stress that holds accurate for the entire human population. Stress manifests itself differently in every person, and people perceive and respond to their stressors in different ways. Although I can’t give you an accurate definition of stress, I can tell you that it negatively affects high schoolers every day and we need to do something about it now, because it is only getting worse with time.

 

 

As seen in these infographics, teen stress levels are an increasing issue.

34% of teens believe that their stress levels are going to keep increasing over the next year.

35% of teens lie awake in bed from stress, 26% overeat or eat unhealthy foods, and 23% skip meals when they are stressed out.

The most common sources of stress include, but are not limited to: school (83%), getting into a good college and deciding what to do after high school (69%), and financial concerns for their family (65%).

These statistics shown, however, do not apply to everyone going through stress. Stress can also be caused by negligence of parents, high expectations in academic or other performances, abused childhood, and so much more.

 

I bet you can all guess one of the major reasons stress levels in teens have gone through the roof in more recent years. Social media. An American Psychological Association survey from 2017 focuses on 4 groups: Matures, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. They provided their subjects with a statement and asked them to answer with what degree the agree of disagree. The statement used was “I worry about the negative effects of social media on my physical and mental health.” They then compared the percentage of people who answered “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” between the four generations. The results they uncovered were incredibly surprising, yet also believable. Looking at the generations from oldest to youngest, the percentage of people who answered “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” increased significantly, starting with the Matures at only 15%, then moving on to the Boomers at 22%, then the Gen Xers at 37%, and finally the Millennials at a whopping 48%. Although I would like to believe that 48% is accurate for the data collected from Millennials, I believe that there are many people who refuse to believe that they worry about what happens on social media, including myself.

 

So, what is the problem?

High levels of stress can be detrimental to many aspects of a teenager’s life. Instead of encouraging the teen to be productive, the way stress in moderation works, too much stress causes the teen’s brain to become overwhelmed and break down. Stressed teens often show signs of emotional disabilities, shyness, social phobia, aggressive behavior toward others, and lack of interest in things that otherwise might be of interest to them. Stress also affects a student’s academic performance. When a student is over-stressed and feels as if they are being asked of the impossible, they lose the ability to be productive. They rush through the work that they think will cause the least stress for them and instead of doing good work, they do quick work, which ultimately affects their academic performance. The close connection between the mind and the body means that stress doesn’t only affect a person’s mind, but also their body. According to the American Psychological Association, long-term stress can cause or contribute to anxiety, depression, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.

 

TIPS and TRICKS:

So, what can you do to relieve some of this stress that is slowly eating at you?

  1. Listen to music – music takes our mind off of the things going on in our world and brings us to a safe space. It helps us explore our emotions, while also serving as a form of meditation.
  2. Exercise – exercise releases endorphines that serve as natural painkillers. These endorphins also improve a persons ability to sleep which consequently reduces their stress levels.
  3. Read – reading transports us to another world that isn’t our own, and in turn this removes us from the world of our own stress. Not only does is serve as a distraction, but also as a stimulant for your imagination which helps reduce stress.
  4. Watch television – watching TV has been proven to lower a person’s cortisol levels, which is known as the “stress hormone”. This indicates that watching television reduces a person’s stress levels.
  5. Nap – naps allow people to escape from their stressors for a short period of time. Stress can also be caused by lack of sleep, so by taking a nap you are eliminating a stressor.
  6. Meditation practices – Taking short periods of time to take a step back and spend time focusing on your mind, body, and breathing can reduce stress levels significantly. This practice is a big part of the Positive Psychology curriculum because it is a time where you focus solely on yourself and what you and your body needs at that specific moment in time.
  7. Gratitude practices- studies show that those who practice gratitude show higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus as well as activation in the regions of the brain associated with dopamine (the “reward” neurotransmitter). Among other things, the hypothalamus controls stress levels, thus, practicing gratitude leads to lower stress levels.

Stress is different for every person that experiences it, and everybody has a different way of dealing with and relieving their stress. I asked some classmates to share with me their personal ways of relieving stress, which they have found to be successful. Here is what some of them said:

 

 

Posted below is a padlet for you all to share your own experiences with stress and your methods for relieving stress. Please take a moment to share, you never know who you might help just by sharing.

Made with Padlet

 

GET INVOLVED:

Although sharing your own experiences with stress, along with your methods for stress relief, is a good start, there is still so much to be done. I hope to use this page as a resource for people who don’t understand how serious the implications of stress can be, and also for those who are trying to find a way to relieve their stress. But there is more to be done. Be active in your community. Start a mindfulness group that meets sometime during the day. Start a music club. Do your own research on the topic. Spread the news. Find a way to educate the younger generations so that they don’t have to experience it. Start an exercise group. Go on a nature run with a group of people feeling stressed. Do anything you can think of. Just don’t sit back and do nothing, because doing nothing is worse than failing at trying something.

 

REFERENCES:

www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-good-life/200805/what-is-positive-psychology-and-what-is-it-not

www.stress.org/what-is-stress/

www.psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/

adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st. 

www.huffingtonpost.com/healthline-/five-ways-reading-can-imp_b_12456962.html

www.medicaldaily.com/health-benefits-napping-resting-can-help-reduce-stress-and-protect-immune-system-321580

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/index.aspx?tab=9

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-teens.aspx 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274618/

Share this project
COMMENTS: 63
  1. April 26, 2018 by Izzy Kocher

    Awesome work Bailey!!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thanks Iz

  2. April 26, 2018 by Sarah Bassett

    GO BAILEY!!!!! This is so interesting!!! So proud xoxox

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks Bassie!!

  3. April 26, 2018 by Ryan Flynn

    I love this page so much! So helpful! This is the only thing that has ever helped me destress!

  4. April 26, 2018 by Clara Lawry

    OMG SAAAAME ^

  5. April 26, 2018 by Martín

    Me gusta mucho esta pagina! Gracias, Bailey!

  6. April 26, 2018 by Stephanie Nomicos

    This is so cool, Bailey! Great work!!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thanks nomi!

  7. April 26, 2018 by Abby Wright

    This is awesome Bailey!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thanks Abby!

  8. April 27, 2018 by Jenny Carlson Pietraszek

    Bailey – Thanks so much for raising this important issue and doing so with solid research, clear writing, and good action steps! Have you considered ways to share this work more widely within your own school community? What structural changes to a traditional school structure (think both time and space) could help to alleviate these unhealthy levels of stress?
    jcp

    • April 27, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Ms. CP, I have been thinking a lot about how to share this with the Nobles community. First, I hope to use this site as a research for students, because it offers many ideas on how to de-stress. I am still considering other ways, but it is definitely something I want to do. I think that the way our school is building a bigger “beach” area is a start. Being in nature definitely helps to alleviate stress. Time wise, I believe that Nobles needs to give its students more time to just be with themselves. People always talk about time management, but its hard to manage time that you don’t have. Not playing a sport this winter really helped me to make this realization.

  9. April 27, 2018 by Mom

    so helpful…… and having watched you and your classmates, just what they need! Love you!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks mom!

  10. April 27, 2018 by Andrew Shumway

    Excellent project Bailey! Fantastic research and extremely well laid out.
    This topic is so very important and often overlooked.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks shum!

  11. April 27, 2018 by Alex Shumway

    Awesome! Happy to add a de-stresser 🙂

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks alex!

  12. April 27, 2018 by Mackenzie

    This page is awesome, Bailey! I KNOW that social media is a huge cause of stress in my life – I’ve especially been trying to cut down on unnecessary scrolling before bed, which I think is when it can be the biggest problem for me. Thanks for sharing all these insights and creating a place for discussion about de-stressing!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks kenzie!!

  13. April 27, 2018 by Kayla

    Bailey!! This is awesome! Going to go use some of those strategies right now.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks kayla!

  14. April 27, 2018 by Jennifer Hamilton

    Really great job, Bailey! Thank you for sharing your ideas and what you have learned.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Ms. Hamilton!

  15. April 27, 2018 by Beth Pierce

    this is so great, Bay!! good idea’s for everyone.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks beth!

  16. April 27, 2018 by Dad

    Beautifully done, and the padlet where people can post means it will continue to evolve and stay relevant and helpful for a long time.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks dad

  17. April 28, 2018 by Hilary

    Well done, bay. Super helpful for adults too!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks howie!

  18. April 28, 2018 by Paul Lieberman

    Wow, Bailey, this is very impressive in every way. And even just reading it gave me a little dose of equanimity, for which I thank you. 😉 You’ve got an impressive (not to mention precocious) tool kit for life on display here, and it will be exciting to watch as you find your way along the vistas (and occasional stumbles) of this path that shows such bright promise–for you, and for others! Brava!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Mr. Lieberman!

  19. April 29, 2018 by Abhay.Katyal

    Hi Bailey! This is an amazing page! Probably one of the best ones I have viewed yet. I loved how you showed your personal connection to this topic and why you chose it. Also, the different visuals you used really helped me in understanding the message you were trying to convey. This is an issue that even I personally deal with and I’m sure others do as well. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your page on teenage stress! Great job!!!!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Abhay!

  20. April 29, 2018 by Madoka.Kumamaru

    I thought your website was incredibly informative and I also really enjoyed your use of “tips and “tricks” as I think it is something many people, teenagers and adults alike, can benefit from. Additionally, I thought your recommendation that everyone go out and try to inform others, especially those who are younger than us, was something that is important as it is best to be proactive about issues such as teenage stress.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you Madoka!

  21. April 29, 2018 by Brian Day

    This is so well done, Bailey and is something that I am going to share with my daughters! Thank you! I hope that you can find some way to share it publicly with the Nobles community.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Mr. Day!

  22. April 29, 2018 by Michael Denning

    Bailey, This is awesome work. Thank you for tackling this super-important topic. I would love to talk with you about how we might use your research and bring your learning to Nobles. Let’s try to grab some time in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Mr. Denning!

  23. April 29, 2018 by Ayako Anderson

    Wow. You are a great researcher, writer, and a storyteller, Bailey. Very powerful narrative. And you thoughtfully separated what you know and can do, and what you don’t/can’t. I think the school community, both students and adults, can benefit from seeing you speaking at Assembly. Please consider presenting.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you Ms. Anderson!

  24. April 29, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

    This is so amazing! I love how you not only identified the root of a lot of teenage stress and what the implications are, but also what teens can do to help them destress. Its been hard for me to find ways to destress at times so I really appreciate the structure of your page. Excessive stress is something that affects so many people in my community, and I think its something that is normally brushed off as normal for a private school student, although after reading this page I know its not. Well done!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you Madeline!

  25. April 29, 2018 by Ben Snyder

    Well done, Bailey! Super interesting data and material we can use for our “Wellness Task Force” and the survey we just did w/ Nobles kids.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Mr. Snyder!

  26. April 29, 2018 by Michael Hoe

    Bailey,

    This was fantastic and incredibly thorough! I’m really looking forward to your full research paper as it is clear that you are interested and well-versed in this topic. Nice job!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you, Mr. Hoe!

  27. April 29, 2018 by Diane Gardner

    Fantastic!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you!

  28. April 30, 2018 by Juli.Fernandez

    Great job Bailey! This was super informative. I loved how you created a space for people to be informed about stress and find methods to relieve their stress. Keep up the good work.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you Juli

  29. April 30, 2018 by Wilson Turner

    Really great work Bay! Well-researched, and well-delivered.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thanks wilson!

  30. April 30, 2018 by Elena Maria Vitale

    Honestly I didn’t know that it could be actually not that difficult to be more positive and less stressful. I feel that sometimes I’m so stressed that I forget about the good things that surround me. Anyway I will for sure follow your tips to live an healthier and a less stressful life. Very good job and very interesting and actual topic!

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      thank you elena!

  31. April 30, 2018 by Michael.Shade

    Bailey – If I might lend my unofficial, completely un-researched opinion: I believe that a large contributing factor in the rise in stress over the past few generations is due to a shift away from an exciting world towards a scary one. If you were born in the 50’s, you grew up with the space race, new inventions every week, the UN, the end of segregation, and the beginning of the rise of computers. The world was exciting; it was changing, but it wasn’t hostile. If you were born in 2000, we have regular shootings, 9/11, crippling debt, a couple financial crises, global warming, and healthcare that is 15x more expensive. The world the new generations keep “inheriting” has become scarier and less friendly.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Michael,
      I think that is incredibly true in many cases, sadly. However it is good to be somewhat stressed about that because it shows that you are aware and that you understand the dangers of these situations. I would be more worried if a person wasn’t stressed about things like this. In my project I am more so focusing on the stress that we can control and change and the stress that is incredibly negative and unnecessary.

  32. April 30, 2018 by Madison.Collins

    I like how you included the tips and tricks section. It was really helpful to see all of them.

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you Madison!

  33. April 30, 2018 by PopPop

    Very thoughtful. I like the idea of trying to step away and listening to your inner self and I find that I usually find away to put the stress in perspective and realize I can deal. Whether you call it prayer or meditation is not important
    – PopPop

    • April 30, 2018 by Bailey.Turner

      Thank you PopPop!

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