Research clearly shows that much like adults, teenagers experience stress every day and can benefit from learning positive coping skills.
Inadequately managed stress can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, illness or poor coping skills. When teenagers perceive a situation as difficult, changes occur in their minds and bodies to prepare to respond to danger. This “fight or flight” response can include increased heart rate, faster breathing, cold and clammy hands, upset stomach or a feeling of dread.
The very same mechanism that can turn stress on can also turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer challenging, our minds and bodies respond accordingly. This “relaxation response” can decrease heart rate and breathing and lead to a sense of wellbeing.
It is important that parents work with their teenagers to develop a “relaxation response” so that they are better placed and have more options in responding to stress.
What you can do to support your teenager?
• Keep a close eye on if stress is impacting on her feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
• Listen carefully and monitor for overloading.
• Model stress positive coping skills.
• Proactively encourage participation in sports and co-curricular activities.
Positive techniques to help your teenager cope with stress
- Eat regularly and healthily.
- Get into a healthy sleep routine.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety.
- Avoid use of alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
- Work on time management skills and prioritising tasks.
- Exercise regularly.
- Have some fun and be creative.
- Help others by getting involved in initiatives within the community.
- Accept that “It is as it is” and manage distressing thoughts, rather than trying to stop them.
- See the bigger picture – consider the helicopter view.
To find out more about Stuartholme School’s Wellbeing Program go to https://stuartholme.com/wellbeing-spirtuality/wellbeing-spirtuality-student-wellbeing/
Dean of Student Wellbeing
1. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Stress Management and Teens. February 2013
2. Time Management Tips retrieved from Therapistaid.com
3. Vivyan, C. 2010. Positive Steps to Wellbeing retrieved from www.getself.co.uk