Saturday, December 13, 2014

YAB Teens are Talking About Stress and Anxiety

As teens today we are dealing with stress, anxiety and making choices in a whole new way… sometimes it feels like the whole world is watching and judging.  It’s never been a more important time to connect, empathize and support each other. 

In this Q&A, see just how teens feel, what stresses us out, and how we try deal with our stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

Q.  What causes you the most stress or anxiety in your life right now?  Why?

Teens Answer:

  • Thinking about college is the most stressful thing in my life right now, along with taking classes and getting good grades, needed for college.
  • Managing and planning out my identity.  I have met so many new and different people that I feel stressed out and question who my real friends are.  I often ask myself, “Do their values match mine?”
  • Right now, since I’m a senior, the whole college application process and seeing where I get in and figuring out what I might be interested in doing with my life… is all very anxiety provoking.  There are so many big decisions to be made and it’s finally time to make them!  Yikes!
  • Right now, the most stress and anxiety for me is caused by college.  I’m a senior and the whole application process took up my first semester of school.  Now I’m waiting to hear back from some of my top choice schools.  It makes me sooo nervous!  It can be tough focusing on high school right now when college is so close.
  • Right now I am most stressed out by my family.  I have been completely uprooted my last year of high school and my parents have put too much pressure on me to be a responsible adult.  It’s hard for me to enjoy my senior year with all this change and adjusting.
  • School causes the most stress for me because there is so much pressure and it has such an impact on the future.  I also just get bombarded with so much work that causes more stress. 
  • School causes the most stress in my life right now because there’s a lot of pressure put on doing well during junior year.  I also have a lot of work to make up from being sick, so that causes most of my anxiety.
  • School definitely causes me the most anxiety.  I can say from experience that you can lose a lot of sleep from the amount of pressure teachers and parents put on you.  The week before finals couldn’t sleep and wasn’t really eating very much, just from my test anxiety.
  • School, grades, getting into college (U of M or Cornell).  I know that if I do well in school by getting straight A’s, then I’ll get into a good college and have a nice career and live a nice life.  However, if I slip up and don’t do well right now and don’t get into a good college and get a good career that my life won’t turn out the way I want. 

Q.  Do you feel you have outlets or a way to deal with the stresses in your life?  If you do, what are they, what do you do, how do you cope?

Teens Answer:

  • To deal with the stress, I use physical activity and music.
  • I manage my stress by writing and taking time for myself, by myself.  I have been trying to be more conscientious and get into self-care.  I watch TV, write and work out.
  • I definitely have great outlets in my life.  If I’m feeling anxious about decisions that are important, I talk it over with my parents or close friends, which definitely takes the pressure off.  I also am very into playing music which is a great thing to go to after facing life’s daily stressors.
  • The best outlet I have is exercise.  I belong to a health club and I enjoy working out.  Whenever I have a particularly rough day, I find that I have my best work-outs, I always feel better after my time spent at the gym.
  • My outlets is always hanging out with my friends or eating.  They both take my mind off of whatever is bothering me.  I try to each healthy though.
  • I don’t really feel that I have an outlet.  I just try to get through it the best I can.
  • I have my ways to deal with stress in my life.  I read and I run.
  • I listen to music when I’m stressed, or I try and take a nap right when I get home from school.  I have also found that taking a showering and spending time by myself helps too.
  • Mostly I just listen to music, talk to my friends, and watch Netflix.  When I’m really stressed, a long day with Netflix is a way to escape everything else.  Sometimes I start at 9:00 AM and finish in the afternoon.

Q. Do you think other teens feel the same stress and anxiety that you do?  How do you think they cope with everything?

 Teens Answer:

  • I think lots of teens feel stress and anxiety about their future because most of it is dependent upon how we do in high school.  But, not all know how to cope and turn to things like drugs, alcohol and violence.
  • Yes.  High school and going to college is a huge transition, where a lot of information, new responsibilities and decisions are being thrown at you. It’s really difficult to manage those things because they are just difficult choices.  BUT, you are not alone.  We all go through it.  I know I am not alone in coping with all of this and that helps.
  • Definitely if not all then most teens do.  I think people find outlets in sports and music, like me.  But some might try to take the “load-off” by letting go after a long week and they party. 
  • I definitely think that all of us teens are in this together.  It is an extremely stressful and confusing time. Unfortunately, some teens resort to bad decisions – like drugs and/or alcohol – to cope with everything.  Others have positive outlets, like journaling, music or exercise.
  • I do think other teens feel similar levels of stress, but for different reasons.  I think that most teens either eat, don’t eat or party to cope with their stress.
  • Yes, I think ALL teens are stressed and I think everyone copes with it differently.
  • I think other teens feel the same stress that I do.  I think some don’t really have ways to cope, but they could try by playing sports, music, or hanging out with friends.
  • I know others feel the same, but how they cope is different for everyone.
  • Yes.  Every teenager worries about school; ACT, SAT, grades, college and their future.  They probably do what I do, maybe… workout.  Others may decide to partake in drugs or drinking. 

Q. Do you think parents are aware of what’s happening when there are parties with drinking and drug use?

Teens Answer:

  • I think a lot of the time parents are completely oblivious to the drinking and drug use because they see what they want to – until their child has gotten into trouble with school or the law.
  • I think that parents have some idea that there may or may not be concerned about, but just like us students, we need to help facilitate their emotions (all of their emotions) into action.
  • I think that some parents do know and let it happen OR turn a blind eye where others may be completely oblivious.
  • Honestly, I have found that many parents are aware that teens drink at parties, especially as wet older.  Compared to freshman year, many more kids are “open” with their parents about alcohol, and it seems like many of them do not find to be a problem.
  • I think some parents are not aware.   Many others are, but they feel that it is a natural for kids our age to drink and act out.
  • I think some parents know about what goes on at parties but I also think kids are getting more clever with finding out ways to work around it.

Q. Do you think schools are able to help with your stress?  Do your parents help or make things worse (without knowing it)? 

Teens Answer:

  • Schools try to help with stress, but society in general makes it impossible to be stress free because of the job field that is becoming more competitive.  Because of this, schools try to prepare students but also make it much more stressful.  My parents do make things more stressful even though I know they are not trying to.
  • The counseling resources at school are used, but there is a stigma in using those resources.  The do need an outside resource and using our voices are important for balance.  Parents are trying to help, but it is difficult to help when they don’t fully understand or accept what the stresses and realities for us are.
  • I know my school has programs and people to talk to, to help deal with stress, but many kids just don’t about them.  My parents definitely help lessen my stress because they know I put enough on myself (as most of my peers do).
  • I do not think the school is a place where most teens find relief from stress.  I do think that sports through the school can provide an outlet from academic stress, but at the same time, they create their own stress and pressure.  This could be something we could and should work on.
  • I’m not sure if schools are able to help.  I think it is important for students to know they’re not alone, which I think schools can communicate, but I have a difficult time trusting schools with my privacy.  I think parents try to help, but many times, they don’t take their kids seriously.
  • Schools could help by putting less pressure on students.  Parents help because they are knowledgeable and give good advice.  It’s also good to talk to them when your stressed and let it out.
  • I don’t think schools are able to help me with my stress since generally school is the cause of my stress.  My parents unknowingly make it worse by constantly asking me about whether or not I am getting things done.
  • I don’t think schools care too much about our stress.  We try and tell our teachers that we are stressed and they just blame us, saying it’s because we don’t know how to study, or we are spending too much time on our phones.

Q.  How do you think we can better help teens cope with their stress and anxiety?
Teens Answer:

  • I think schools should make coping with stress part of their curriculum in health class.
  • Try shifting the perspective from the individual, taking away the blame… to the community.  Stress and anxiety is affecting the whole community.  Everyone has the power and ability to make a change.
  • Give us a place where there are no expectations on top of what is already expected of us.  Unconditional love and support helps always and helps us move in the right direction.
  • Everyone needs to understand that being a teenager is very stressful, especially in today’s society.  It is important that we don’t suffocate teens – we just need to let them know that we are there for them, and provide them with positive outlet options to cope with their stress.
  • I think teens need to be made aware that there are helps out there for them in dealing with stress and anxiety.  But mostly, I think teens need to be taught better time management and the importance of good health.
  • It would help to have more time to relax.  During the week, there is hardly any downtime.
  • It would help to put less pressure on teens to do well in school.  Ask teens about what they need help with, and keep asking.
  • I think telling teens that “Getting a B isn’t the end of the world”, And, if teachers and parents will stop asking “What are you going to do for the rest of your life?”  And, trying to help those that are stressed about grades will help a lot. 

Q. What is your primary influence to be drug-free, and why?

Teens Answer:

  • My family, my friends and my future.
  • My goals.  I always keep my goals in mind and I don’t want anything related to drugs or alcohol to negatively affect my future.
  • My future – because I do not want one decision to affect my career and college experience.  Poor decisions may follow you for the rest of your life.



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