5 Ways for Young Moms to Cope with Stress

Life is full of stressors. These stressors can be found in both our personal lives and at our workplaces, and as a young mother they may seem more prevalent in your life then in that of your child-less friends. Even though you might not realize it, these stressors could be impacting your overall health.

Young Mother overwhelmed by her kids

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. They also state that stress can not only affect your body but also your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior. As a mother you know you cannot afford any down time for illness. So thankfully, if you are able to recognize these common stress symptoms, then you can get a jump on managing them.

Common Effects of Stress on Your Body

• Sleep problems (with children, babies especially, who can afford any more sleep issues?)
• Stomach upset
• Muscle pain or tension
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Chest pain

Common Effects of Stress on Your Mood

• Sadness/Depression
• Restlessness
• Lack of motivation and/or focus
• Anger/Irritability
• Anxiety

Common Effects of Stress on Your Behavior

• Angry outbursts (yelling at your child for silly reasons then feeling guilty later)
• Undereating or overeating
• Social withdrawal
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Use of tobacco

Many of these possible negative health consequences can be reduced by finding healthy and positive ways to manage stress as it occurs. Here are five things you can try to help reduce your stress levels.

1. Exercise
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness as well as physical fitness, and it can reduce stress. They state that studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. Basically, when your body feels better, so does your mind. The ADAA goes on to say that for the biggest benefits of exercise you should try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.

Purchase a jogging stroller for your younger children and set a time during the day to go for a run or brisk walk. When/if your child is older they can join you on their bike or scooter, or even run/walk along with you. In the summer many public pools offer swimming classes that you can take with your baby/toddler or an open swim for only a couple of dollars per person. You could even play catch or shoot hoops with your child, or be more involved in their play at the park instead of sitting on the bench to get in a little more exercise.

2. Loosen Up
You may notice that when you are stressed your whole body tightens up. This is because your body feels the impact that stress has on your brain’s many nerve connections. Meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and bubble baths are a great way to help your body unwind a little. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress.”

As a mother, a little alone time once in a while goes a long way. Arrange for someone to watch your child(ren) for an hour or so at least once every few weeks to take some time to unwind. Go to the spa and get a massage, or get your hair done at your local salon. Take the time to sit in a warm bath and wash your worries away. When you can’t be alone, include your child. Teach them to meditate and breathe, or purchase a yoga for children video that you can do together. Learning to relax now will only benefit your child(ren) in the future.

3. Talk it Out
One of the best tools a person has for managing stress is his or her social network. Share what’s going on with someone close to you. Talking face to face works best, but over the phone is okay too. Try and avoid texting or emails when reaching out, as it is harder to read reactions that way. Sometimes talking about what is bothering you will give you a new perspective on the situation, and whomever you are communicating with may have some helpful insight on how to deal with the situation. If nothing else you will let off some steam. The APA recommends that the person whom you talk to is someone you trust and you feel can understand and validate you. It may not alleviate your stress if you share your woes with someone who can be considered a stressor in your life.

4. Laugh
We have all heard that “laughter is the best medicine,” and in a way it’s true! According to WebMD, a good belly laugh will lower cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boost brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. So maybe when you find someone to talk it out with (see above), choose someone who knows how to make you laugh out loud. Including your child in this can be very therapeutic for both of you. Put on your favorite sitcom or funny movie or read your favorite comics together.

5. Take Care of Yourself
Mothers are always putting themselves in last place. They tend to put their husband’s or significant other’s and children’s care before their own. It is important to remember that you take care of yourself as well. You should try eating nutritious meals regularly, and limit your intake of foods that are high in caffeine and sugar – as these can aggravate stress. Also, make sure that you are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Good nutrition and a good night’s sleep will help provide you with the energy you need to combat stress and take on the day.

Every person handles stress differently. What works well for one person may not work as well for another when it comes to stress management. It may take some experimenting and time to find out what works best for you personally. It may be one of these things, or it may take all of them, and that is okay. The only wrong way is to do nothing at all.

If you are still feeling stressed and don’t know where to turn, it is okay to seek help from a professional. They may be able to provide you with the tools and information that you need to help you cope through the difficult times.

5 Signs Your Teen’s Stress Level Is Too High

The American Psychological Association has found that high levels of stress are extremely common among teenagers.

stressed teen student

The APA also reports that school is the number one stress factor for teenagers. Stress unmanaged can quickly turn into depression if your teen doesn’t have healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. Here are 5 signs your teen’s stress levels are too high and might need advice on how to better cope.

 

  1. Your teen is sick a lot

Complaining of a headache or stomachache a lot may be a sign of stress, especially if it coincides with the days before tests or other big school events, or if your teen is using health complaints to get out of going to school. Chronic pain could be a sign of something more serious, but as long as a doctor has proclaimed them physically healthy, physical complaints are often stress-related. Stress also reduces your immune system, so getting colds or flus often can also be a sign of high stress levels.

 

  1. Your teen is irritable and hostile

Being irritable and hostile with family members is a sign that your teen is not coping healthily with stressors. Just like adults, when a teen is easily frustrated or stressed by small problems that normally would not affect them, it may mean their stress levels are higher than normal and they are having trouble coping with small problems. Teens also have a tendency to lash out at family members when they are stressed out.

 

  1. Your teen isolates him/herself

A loss of interest in socializing, either with family or with friends, is a sign that your teen is having trouble coping healthily with problems. A loss of interest in activities and isolating oneself are also signs of depression, so it may be time to talk to your teen about stress and coping mechanisms.

 

  1. Your teen has nervous habits

Unmanaged stress can lead to anxiety and anxious habits like chewing on fingernails or hair or tapping feet. Watch for nervous habits to see if they are related to stressful events in your teen’s life.

 

  1. Your teen has turned to alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs

Many teens who have not developed healthy coping strategies are tempted by alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs as ways to deal with stress. Talk to them about finding healthier ways to cope with anxieties and stressors that will help them throughout their lives.

 

If your teen is developing these unhealthy behaviors, it may be time to get professional help. Counseling can teach your teen healthy coping behaviors that will benefit them for the rest of their life. If you’re not sure about counseling, talk to your teen about healthy ways to cope with stress and watch for signs that his or her stress levels are unhealthily high.

 

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How to Cope with Stress During the First Year of College

College is a time when young adults are especially prone to stress, but this is especially true when you’re a freshman.

Young Man Studying At Night

For one, it may be the first time for you to be out on your own and taking care of yourself.  Moving to a dorm, meeting new people, and just learning to navigate the college life may cause enough stress to make any freshman want to climb in bed, pull up the covers, and never come out! Academic pressures can also create stress. College professors are not as lenient and as helpful as high school teachers and in some classes your final grade in the class may be based on just the final exam!  Talk about pressure! All of this stress is a natural part of the college experience. The key is to learn good coping mechanisms.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stress can be beneficial by helping people develop coping and adaptation skills. However, when stress is severe enough to impair your daily life and self-care, it can become a problem.

Is Your Stress Out of Control?

It’s natural to be anxious before taking a test or turning in a big assignment, but these feelings shouldn’t rule your life. The CDC warns that if you find yourself having physical reactions to stress such as headaches, back pains, stomach problems, or insomnia, it may be a sign that your stress has reached critical levels and you need to get some help.

Managing Stress

Especially during peak times of stress, it is very important to take care of yourself. Don’t let the fear of a poor grade on an assignment keep you up all night perfecting a project or studying. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and getting plenty of exercise are all just as important as your academic performance.

Being physically healthy will help you maintain your mental health as well. Along the lines of mental health, give yourself a break now and then. Do things for fun and be social. Let yourself have a night off from studying. You shouldn’t have to kill yourself to get good grades. If you find you can’t maintain a healthy outlook on school or life, it may be time to talk to a counselor or at least a trusted friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, your friends are dealing with similar feelings.

Drugs and Alcohol

One of the main coping mechanisms many college students partake in as a way to deal with stress are drugs and alcohol. While they may help temporarily, these substances will lead to even more stress. Even if the night itself doesn’t cause stress for legal or emotional reasons, the alcohol takes a physical toll on your body, making it harder to take care of yourself, maintain physical health, and maintain your academic performance that has you stressed to begin with. Just because others choose to live a certain way and make it seem “normal” or expected, doesn’t mean you have to join them. Take responsibility for your own health and make your own choices.

Always remember, if you feel in danger in any way or have thoughts of suicide, reach out to someone who can help you. A good place to start is the Youth Mental Health Line that can be reached at 1-888-568-1112.

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The Truth About Teens and Stress

Being a teenager is a stressful time. Puberty, school, and social pressures have a big impact on many teens’ mental health, and many develop anxiety disorders.

education and home concept - stressed student girl with books

According to the American Psychological Association, high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms are ingrained in our culture. The APA also reports that school is the most common source of stress for teens. Developing coping mechanisms is very important for teens to manage their stress and anxiety so it doesn’t negatively affect their mental and physical health.

 

Get enough sleep

Teen’s schedules can make it difficult to get enough sleep. Between busy school, after-school activity, social, and part-time job schedules, many teens don’t have much time to relax or sleep. It’s important to make having a regular bedtime a priority. If necessary, watch less TV or engage in less social media and internet browsing. Don’t drink caffeine late at night, and try to get some exercise in the early evening so it is easier to get to sleep. A healthy sleep schedule will make a huge impact on the overall stress you feel.

 

Engage in positive self-talk

The way you talk to yourself impacts you in ways you can’t even imagine. Often, we are our own biggest bullies, and we don’t even realize it. Beating yourself up over every mistake, holding yourself to impossible standards, and constantly comparing yourself to others will negatively affect your mental health in many ways, making it harder to succeed, harder to deal with stress, and harder to enjoy life. Watch how you talk to yourself and make sure it is positive whenever possible. Negative self-talk is one of the biggest causes of self-esteem issues and eating disorders. In fact, according to NPR, neurologists have discovered that positive self-talk can help you like your body more, perceive yourself more positively, and even make you more successful.

 

Open up

Talk about stress and emotional issues you are having with friends, family, and anyone you feel comfortable with. Often, the most stressful part about being a teen is feeling like you are alone. Opening up will help you realize that everyone else is going through what you are, or has been through it before. Maybe they can even share some of their coping mechanisms with you that could help you through a tough time.

 

Sometimes the mental issues teens deal with are more than just stress. Anxiety disorders, depression, and thoughts of suicide are serious issues that affect teens every day. If you or someone you know needs professional help, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. No one has to go through these problems alone, and there are many resources available to help. Check out the CDC for some great resources for suicide prevention and mental health help.

 

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Is Your Social Media Account Causing Your Anxiety?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common disorder in the United States and affect 18% of the population. Anxiety is often related to social factors when found in teenagers and young adults.

If social media is causing you anxiety, it might be a good time to take a break. Photo credit: Bigstock.

If social media is causing you anxiety, it might be a good time to take a break. Photo credit: Bigstock.

 

Recently, links have been discovered between social media and anxiety, especially among college students. Is your anxiety caused by your social media account? Consider whether these factors are affecting you.

  1. You are trying to multi-task. Studies have found that in some users, it is not the social media account itself that is causing anxiety, but the effort to multi-task, a symptom of anxiety itself. Individuals will open multiple browser tabs and attempt to research or complete too many tasks at once, which contributes to their overall anxiety. The social media tab gets added in as individuals also try to keep up with everything their friends are posting in addition to getting work or studying done.
  2. You feel anxious when you cannot access your account. You might be addicted to social media if your anxiety stems from not being able to access your account. Individuals with symptoms of addiction to social media find their anxiety levels rise if they are away from social media for long periods of time and begin worrying about missing what their friends are posting or invitations to events they may be missing. The fear of missing a post could be part of your problem.
  3. You check social media compulsively. Even if you have just checked your account, you find yourself logging in during a dull moment. This compulsive behavior is a symptom of an anxious personality. You may not necessarily be addicted to your social media account itself, but have formed a habit of filing every moment with a task that often happens to be checking in with social media.
  4. You often feel depressed after checking social media. Especially in adolescents, social media has been found to cause anxiety and depression. Children are exposed to everything their friends are doing and often are left feeling left out and as if they do not have a social life comparable to their friends’ social lives. They also compare themselves to the way their peers represent themselves online, which may or may not be entirely accurate, and develop self esteem issues.
  5. You try to use social media for your social needs. Social media also provides users with a vague notion of a social life and individuals often turn to their social media account for their social needs, only to be left unsatisfied. This is especially common in teenagers and young adults who suffer from social anxiety and find it difficult to interact with peers in person. Social media may give them a semblance of social interaction and it becomes easy to rely on it for their social needs, but it is not a satisfactory replacement for a genuine social life.

If you find yourself or your child affected by any of these symptoms, it may be time to take a break from social media.  If the thought of that makes you anxious, in the least, we recommend you “unfriend” those people who are causing you the most anxiety.  

However, if you can’t unfriend people and you find that you are addicted to checking social media an excessive amount and especially if after checking, you find yourself depressed, it is well worth it to disable your account for a while and see if your anxiety symptoms improve.  We bet they will!

 

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7 Ways Parents Can Help Teens Deal with Holiday Stress

teen holiday stress

Follow these tips if you want to help your teen not feel stressed this holiday season. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Most parents know that the holiday season that begins at Halloween and stretches all the way into the New Year is stressful. What many of us don’t realize is that as our stress level increases, so does the stress level of those around us, including our teenagers. Unfortunately, when we are stressed out we are also less likely to notice the signs of stress in ourselves and others. This can produce a double whammy for our teens that are experiencing more stress and getting less support for managing that stress then they might at other times of the year.

But there are things you can do to help keep the stress level of everyone in your family, especially your teens, from getting stressed out during the holiday season.

  1. Manage Your Stress

The most important thing you can do to help your teens is to manage your own stress. Not only does this help lower the contact stress they get from you, it also helps ensure you will notice the signs of stress in those around you. Managing your own stress level also helps model healthy stress management techniques for your teens.

  1. Simplify Your Schedule

One of the things that can create a lot of stress is over-scheduling. Between shopping and parties and decorating and family and travel… well, there is a lot going on. Limiting your commitments and simplifying your schedule will lower your stress and make it easier to enjoy those things you do choose to do.

  1. Notice the Signs

Pay attention to how your teens are handling the holidays and look for the signs of stress like headaches, trouble sleeping, angry outbursts, or unusual moodiness. Spotting these signs is key to providing the support your teens need when their stress levels are high.

  1. Understand the Impact of Big Changes

Major life events like a divorce or the loss of a loved one are difficult but they can become even more difficult during the holidays. If your teen has experienced this kind of life changing event, be aware that they may be more stressed or struggle with stress more this year.

  1. Share, But Don’t Overshare

If there are things going on in your lives that are making the holiday season more stressful than normal like financial difficulties or a separation, be honest with your teens but remember they aren’t adults yet. Keep your sharing at the appropriate level and reassure them that while things are different or even difficult, you will get through it together.   Don’t burden them with your adult problems by oversharing or using them as a source of emotional support.

  1. Make Moving a Priority

The days are shorter and it gets dark so early that it can be tempting to skip active family time. However, this can actually exacerbate any issues you are having with stress because exercise helps alleviate stress. Make sure everyone keeps moving.

  1. Do Something for Someone Else

The act of giving can do wonders for your stress level and helps keep the focus of the holiday season on giving, thankfulness, and blessings. Make it a point to volunteer, give back, and help others during the holidays and you will decrease your family’s stress while helping many others.

 

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3 Tips for Teen Stress Relief

stress

Here are 3 tips to help your teen manage their stress (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

It is tough to be a teenager and the demands of today’s world don’t make it any easier.  The most common things that can cause stress in a teenager’s life, as outlined by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, include academic demands, family problems, high expectations, overly packed schedules, safety concerns, peer relationships, and family financial instability.  With so many sources of stress it is no wonder that teens, who may not have developed the skills they need to manage their stress on their own, can easily become overwhelmed.

Signs of Stress

The first step is being able to recognize that stress is building so that you can take steps to manage and alleviate it before it causes problems.  Here are some of the most common signs of stress in teenagers.

  • You are always running late, forgetting what day it is, and losing things like your backpack or your keys.
  • You are always tired, but have trouble sleeping.
  • You never eat at a table or even sitting down and you always rush through meal time.
  •  You are constantly getting sick and have headaches a lot.
  • You are often doing three things at once, but you rarely finish anything, including your sentences.
  • You find yourself eating all the time.
  • You feel nervous and jumpy and have a short temper.
  • Nothing seems like fun and you feel like you are constantly on the verge of bursting into tears.

Stress Relief Strategies

Much of the time, we begin to experience the signs of stress above when the stress in our lives keeps building up without any relief.  The key to managing it better is to notice it is happening and then take action to help immediately alleviate that build-up of stress in the short-term while also considering how to lessen your stress over the long term.  Here are some teen-proven strategies for doing both.

1.     Listen to Music

Music not only soothes the savage beast, it is also a sure-fire way to decrease your stress level quickly.  It may be listening to your favorite song, to a song that soothes and calms you, or to a loud, raucous track that provides you with the most relief.  When the pressure starts mounting and the signs above begin to show, pop in your ear buds and let the sounds soothe your stressed out soul.

2.     Chill Out

Sometimes we get stressed out because we are focused so intently on doing all the things we have to do like school, work, chores, etc. that we forget to stop and smell the roses.  Taking a day or even an afternoon to just chill out with your friends playing video games, watching movies, or shooting hoops can help restore some of that balance and fight off the effects of stress.

3.     Get Physical

One of the most effective ways of burning off stress is to do something physically active like exercising, playing a sport, or even just going for a walk.  Get moving in the short term to alleviate the symptoms and then make sure you are planning time in your schedule to be active everyday to help keep the stress from building back up again.

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Helping Teens Feel Safe in an Unsafe World

The school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was a tragedy beyond measure.  When events like this occur, it shakes the foundation on which all our lives are built.  This is as true for our teenagers as it is for us parents.  Everyone searches for some way to make sense of the awful events of that day, even those of us who live in different towns, cities, and states.  We do this because we need to be able to explain what happened in order to be able to convince ourselves it can never happen to us.  In these difficult times, being able to restore our own sense of safety and security is of the utmost importance and seeking these kinds of answers is one of the ways we do that.  However, even as we seek these answers and explanations for ourselves, we need to be conscientious about how we are communicating about this tragedy with our children.  Here are some tips for how you can help your children through this and other tragic events.

1.     Consider How to Communicate

As we saw with the media coverage in the hours and days after the shooting, confusion, misinformation, and distress are common in the aftermath of tragedy.  If the trained journalists reporting on TV can get things wrong, think of how hard it can be for your teen to decipher fact from fiction and determine truth from sensation.  This is one reason that communicating effectively with your teen is even more important at these times.  Make sure you use age appropriate language and don’t overwhelm your children with information they don’t need or may not know how to deal with.  Stick to the facts, be clear, and keep things simple.

2.     Answer Tough Questions

One of the things everyone wants to know when something terrible happens is why it happened.  Children and teens are no exception.  The search for reason in an unreasonable situation is how we try to make sense of senseless acts.  The challenge for parents is to help their children understand that these things happen for a variety of reasons like mental illness, religious or political fanaticism, or simple hatred without turning any specific group into the “bad guy.”  For example, while some of the people who have been responsible for mass shootings have suffered from mental illnesses, not everyone with a mental illness can or would hurt other people.

3.     Stress Safety

Another of the most common questions we all ask at times like these “is will it happen again” or more importantly, “how can I make sure it never happens to me?”   The truth is, random acts of violence will always happen and there is no way to protect ourselves from each and every eventuality.  People do terrible things and there is no way to ensure it will never happen to you.  Despite this, even teens need to re-establish a sense of security, to find a way to feel safe in their world.  The best way to do this is to focus on ways to make ourselves safer rather than on our inability to control the random acts of others.

Self Harm, No Longer Just a Teenage Problem

Self-harm

Self-harm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For most parents, the thought of their teenager intentionally harming themselves can seem inconceivable.   We work hard every day to protect them from the worst of the world and often only see the dangers that are hiding “out there.”  Unfortunately, these two things together can make it very hard to see that one of the dangers might not be out there, but hiding inside our child.

 

Self-harm amongst teens has been on the rise for years due in part to increased awareness and more frequent discussion of self-harm amongst adolescents.  Experts believe that bringing it out into the open may actually have encouraged more teens to try it resulting in more widespread adoption.  Until recently, however, this practice was relegated to the tween and teen years, with most self harm incidents beginning around age 14.  New research published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that children are turning to self-harm as a coping strategy at younger and younger ages.

 

The study used information garnered from interviewing 665 kids in three different grades, third, sixth and ninth.  The participants were from two different parts of the country and the objective of the study was to assess the prevalence of self-harm amongst adolescents.    Interviews were conducted in a laboratory setting and participants were asked to respond based on their entire life experience, not just their recent experiences.

 

One of the most important findings was also one of the most shocking.  Cutting and self-harm, previously thought to occur primarily in the early teen years, is actually starting in elementary school.  The research team found that children as young as 7 may be using self-inflicted injury as a way to manage psychological stress.   Amongst the third grade participants, 8% have injured themselves and more than 60% of those that have caused themselves injury admit to doing it more than once.

 

The study did find that the rate of self-harm is lower in 6th graders with only 4% reporting its use as a self management strategy but any perceived improvement disappears with the results of the 9th grade interviews where 13% admit to engaging in self harm.

 

This means that parents need to know the signs of self harm and start looking for them earlier.  Here are some things parents need to know in order to recognize self-harm when it is happening, prevent additional harm, and help their children when it is needed.

 

1.     Self-harm isn’t just cutting.

 

While cutting may get most of the press, adolescents who engage in self-harm to alleviate frustration, stress, depression, and anxiety may also hit themselves, burn themselves, or do other things that cause injury.

 

2.     Girls do it more, but boys do it too.

 

Although more girls engage in self-harm as a coping strategy, they are not the only ones.  Girls are more likely to cut or carve their skin while boys are more likely to hit themselves or use blunt trauma to cause injury.

 

3.     Self-harm can be used like a drug.

 

For those who can’t quite grasp the concept of using self-harm as a way to cope with emotional stress, it may be helpful to understand why adolescents and some adults engage in it.  Physical pain causes a release of endorphins, which are feel good chemicals in the brain.  This effect blunts all pain, including the emotional distress the person is feeling.  In some ways, it can be compared to using drugs like cocaine, which create the same type of escape.

 

If you are concerned that your child is intentionally injuring themselves, seek professional help.  While these activities are not indicators of suicidal thoughts or precursors to suicidal tendencies, they may point to significant underlying issues that must also be addressed to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your child.

How Writing Helps Teenagers Manage Stress

Being a teenager in today’s world comes with the same stresses teens have always faced plus a wide range of new stresses their parents and grandparents never faced.  According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, teens are stressed because of academic demands, high expectations, jam-packed schedules, safety concerns, family problems, peer relationships, and financial instability.  Because stress can come from every area of their lives, teens can easily become overwhelmed and many do not have the tools they need to manage that stress on their own.

When teens are stressed and overwhelmed and unable to change their situation it can lead to unhealthy behavior patterns like aggression, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, cutting, acting out, and substance abuse. For parents, this means that helping teens develop adequate stress management techniques is a key component in protecting their mental health.

While there are many different techniques and strategies for managing stress, one of the most effective tools for teenagers is writing.  Many key stressors for a teenager revolve around their feelings.  How do other people make them feel?  How do they feel about other people?  How do they feel about themselves?  With so much going on around them, it can be hard to work through all the different feelings and emotions as they are being bombarded by them all day long.  Writing provides a safe, quiet, accessible, and most importantly, private way to sort out that jumble and get their emotional selves back on solid ground.

Here are some of the ways that the simple act of writing can position teens to manage and alleviate the stress in their lives.

A Safe Place to Vent

Sometimes, you just need to blow off steam and your teens feel this way too.  Unfortunately, they don’t have access to the same outlets you do.  They may feel like they can’t talk to their friends because they will make someone mad, hurt someone, or sound like a crazy person.  They may feel like they can’t talk to you because you won’t understand or you will overreact.  Writing can provide a safe place to vent, to let the energy behind their emotions out so that it doesn’t build up and push them into unhealthy behaviors.

A Space to Sort Things Out

Today’s world moves fast and we can easily become overwhelmed when the things we need to take in, outpace our ability to do so.  When the things we need to manage are too many to be manageable, it can be difficult to think clearly, make decisions, or know where you stand or how you feel.  When teens write, they can slow down the pace of their thoughts.  Bounded by the time it takes to physically commit ink to the page, writing can help create space for them to sort out their emotions, formulate their thoughts, and reconnect with themselves.

Writing isn’t a perfect fit for every teen, but for many it can be a core stress management strategy.  Writing for a certain amount of time everyday can help keep stress from building up and overwhelming them.

 

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