Top Ten Teens Stress Management Strategies


Stay aware of your teen stress signals. If you are feeling stressed, try some of these strategies to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Since stress will be with you the rest of your life, sorry there is no way to completely eliminate stress from your lives - it is important to be comfortable with using some of these strategies. The most useful method of dealing with teen stress is learning how to use stress management strategies on a regular basis, so that you can avoid having a stress overload. Do not just try to manage stress when the pressure is already on. Knowing how to de-stress and doing it when things are relatively calm can help you get through challenging situations as they develop. Consider these ten tips:

1. Guard against over scheduling. 

If you are feeling your time is stretched too thin, consider cutting out an activity for a while and prioritize which activities are really important for you.

2. Take care of your physical health. 

Get regular exercise to release the build-up of teen stress. Eat nutritious meals so that you maintain the proper energy you need. Avoid caffeine. It is easy when you are stressed to eat junk food and skip meals. But your body needs vitamins and minerals more when it is under stress. Don't substitute alcohol or drugs as a quick fix; your body will actually just break down sooner without its ability to cope well.

3. Get a good night's rest. 

O.K. You have a term paper due and you haven't finished your math homework. But you will not be able to concentrate well with little sleep. Yes, the biological clock shifts during adolescence, and many teens prefer to stay up later at night and sleep later into the morning. That is not working with the current school schedule, so you need to get to bed earlier than you may want so that you can be alert when you have to get up early in the morning. Looks like you are going to have to re-arrange the homework schedule and get it done earlier in the evening or tuck in some time right after school. If you need to spend some late nights for a dead line-build in time to catch up on rest soon after the assignments are due. Oh, and you might want to consider preparing for tests early-a little each day before the scheduled exam so that you don't feel stressed cramming the night before.

4. Learn to relax.

The body needs to recover from stressful situations through relaxation so that you can have a sense of calm. Learn simple breathing exercises and then use them when you are caught up in stressful situations. Take deep breaths, accompanied by thought of being in control (I can handle this). Learn progressive muscle relaxation (repeatedly tensing and relaxing large muscles of your body). Start relaxing the feet muscles, then legs, then arms, then shoulders. Also build in some other calming activities (reading a book or watching a movie, [spending time with a pet]) that allow you to relax and divert your attention from thinking about the situations that are causing you stress.

5. Be realistic. 

It might be wise to lower your expectations for yourself. Don't try to be perfect since no one is. And don't expect others to be perfect either since that will put stress on them as well as you. If you need help on something like a school project, ask for it. If and when you make a mistake, learn from it-don't dwell on your weaknesses or faults. Forgive yourself and others when things happen and may go wrong.

6. Focus on things that you can control. 

Let go of the things you can not control. It does you no good to worry about things that might happen, so try and concentrate on those things that you have direct influence over. Stop worrying about things that may never happen; a lot of useless energy is spent that way and when you are feeling stressed you need your energy for more productive uses.

7. Set goals that are manageable. 

Learn to solve everyday problems to give you a sense of control and accomplishment. If you break tasks into smaller manageable chunks then you can see the progress you are making as these tasks get completed. This helps with teen stress. Develop skills to calmly look at a problem and figure out how to create a solution so that you have a sense of control, not stress, in your life. Feeling confident in solving small problems first, builds inner confidence to tackle life's more difficult problems and this will serve you well under times of stress.

8. Watch what you are thinking. 

Your attitude is very important to the way in which you approach life. Your outlook and thought influence the way in which you see things. Be positive. See the cup as half full rather than half empty. Optimism can help you make the best of a stressful situation. Try to learn to think more optimistically and you will find that things may not be a dire as you thought they were. The teen stress may not seem so bad.

9. Get involved with things that you enjoy doing. 

Schedule breaks and activities with friends or take some breaks for "alone and recharging" times. Enjoy music, arts, sports and socializing to balance the stress you find in other aspects of your life.

10.Talk about problems with others, including parents, older adults and friends.

It is always great to get another point of view and talking with others, even a counselor, can provide a great sense of renewed perspective and stress relief. Pray or read something inspirational. Don't go it alone. Humans are built to share and you will find a great deal of comfort in having support from others. Initially, the problems related to teen stress may seem difficult to discuss with others, but if you can overcome this feeling and talk about them, you will find that you will feel better.

For more information about teen stress, visit these pages.

Dr. Ann Gatty is an educator, author, organizational strategist and personal consultant. She has taught in classrooms, museums, boardrooms and employee seminars. She has mentored, coached and written curriculum in organizational leadership, museum studies, and teacher development. From her work and personal experiences, she finds a continuous need among women, of all walks of life, to find answers to questions about their life balance, goals, and health. Dr. Gatty hosts a website, http://www.stress-management-4-women.com/. Visit to find answers to your concerns about handling the stresses of motherhood, professional work, teenlife, midlife and time management.
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