Stress is a normal and inevitable component of our lives. A little stress can be positive. It helps us prepare for things like a big exam or an upcoming interview. However, teenagers are under increasing amounts of negative stress today with issues such as gun violence at school and cyber bullying on the rise. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence indicated that 60 percent of children have been exposed to violence either directly or indirectly in the past year.
Stress. Stress has propelled me through all-night cramming sessions, helped me to create 20-page midterm papers out of nowhere, caused me to miss the game winning goal, made me actually puke when speaking in front of a crowd of people, and propelled me to get off the couch and start taking control of my life. Stress is powerful. It has helped me to do some of my greatest work and yet it is something that at times has made me feel powerless, scared, and incapable of action. Stress is something that I have spent the last 20 years trying to manage and maintain in its most healthy and balanced form. So, I thought I would blog a little about stress: what it is, why we have it, how to best manage it without letting it get the best of you, and how to shake it off.
Recently, a group of teenagers from Kennewick, Washington, were winners in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge for their proposed app, “Safe&Sound,” to give teens a way to manage stress and depression. When interviewed on NPR, three members of the group described their own personal experience with depression and anxiety as well as a school shooting in their community as inspiration for the app. While they acknowledge that the app – which offers, for example, inspirational quotes, breathing exercises, and suggestions for coping – does not address all of the elements necessary for dealing with mental health concerns, it is a small piece of the puzzle to help teenagers deal with stress in an increasingly hand-held and web-based world. The app is expected to be released in June 2015. Read more
The early teen years are when teens bodies and their cognitive and emotional processes go through a lot of change.