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Published on January 12, 2016

The Stress Is Real

January 12, 2016

adolescent man sitting on stepsToday’s teens are more stressed than ever. Learn effective ways to help your teen manage stress.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that American teenagers are the most stressed generation. According to a 2013 APA survey, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared to adults who rate their stress at 5.1.

The Good, the Bad, and the Overload

Stress is the brain and body’s response to a demand. It is triggered by stressors—events such as being bullied, having an over-crammed schedule, or having relationship issues or school problems. Our brains react to stressors by stimulating the nervous system and releasing certain hormones and chemicals—such as adrenaline and cortisol—which increase the body’s breathing and heart rates, blood pressure and metabolism. This reaction is good because it helps our bodies respond to immediate situations. However, stress becomes bad when long-term stressful situations create long-lasting problems for individuals, leading to stress overload.

A Dangerous Mind

The Institute of HeartMath has identified stress as the No. 1 proxy killer disease today. Furthermore, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that 60 to 80 percent of doctor visits are due to stress-related illnesses. Stress is linked to a number of health issues, including anxiety disorders, back, neck and shoulder pain, chronic fatigue, common cold, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypertension, sleep disorders, and weight gain.

To avoid health problems and lead a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce the negative effects of stress by:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting nine to 10 hours of sleep a night
  • Practicing relaxation techniques
  • Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Setting boundaries and not overloading your schedule
  • Staying away from illegal drugs
  • Thinking positive thoughts

Parents can help their teens manage stress by openly communicating, modeling good stress-management skills, monitoring their teens’ workloads, and offering support in school, social and sport activities.

The Volume of Stress

Noise has become a part of modern society’s landscape. We’re so used to the sounds from MP3 players, television, smartphones, tablets, radios, and a number of other sound-producing technologies, that silence sometimes seems abnormal.

Noise doesn’t just affect our ears. It’s is an often-overlooked stressor that affects many parts of our bodies, causing a short-term stress response in people. Our heart rates and blood pressures rise in response to noise stress. Adverse health effects that result from noise stress include:

  • Hearing impairment

  • Heart troubles

  • Mental health disturbances

  • Poor social behavior

  • Sleeping issues

  • Verbal communication interferences

Reduce noise stress and give your immune system—and your nerves—a break by taking time out of your day to have a few moments of silence.

KishHealth System offers a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Teen Group on Emotion Management. For more information, contact Behavioral Health at 815.748.8334.


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