Today's teenagers may be more stressed than ever before. It is estimated that that about 85 percent of teenagers often experiencing overwhelm. The pressures of getting top grades, balancing extracurricular activities with studying, and spending time with family all adds up. In addition, teenagers are competing with managing another identity in the digital world. Social media platforms are one more thing to keep up with and are often rife with stress-inducing comparisons, gossip and bullying.
Significant life changes—such as a death in a family, moving to an unfamiliar location or a divorce—are likely to cause high spikes in stress. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology shows daily stressors play just as significant a role in affecting overall mental health.
Belief in oneself is essential for minimising the negative impact from stress. Teenagers who can better manage their stress are more engaged in class, more likely to absorb what they're learning, and more likely to excel beyond the classroom.
Here are three significant ways excess stress can negatively affect teenagers:
Stress Decreases Sleep Quality
There is a link between stress levels and poor sleep. 70 percent of those who report persistent stress have trouble sleeping.
Teens need at least eight hours of sleep to function at peak performance, yet only about 15 percent of teens get an adequate amount. Poor sleep makes stress management more difficult, while also negatively impacting concentration, learning, listening, memory and problem-solving.
Stress Makes Students Angrier
Stress may be the culprit of students who are prone to bullying others. Stress increases feelings of irritability and anger, which increases the likelihood for angry outbursts and social withdrawal.
Besides directing anger at others, teenagers who are stressed may be resistant to following school guidelines and respectfully engaging with others. They may also exhibit disrespectful online behaviour. Their focus on anger may cause overall school-work to suffer.
Stress Worsens Grades
When a student is stressed and preoccupied, it takes over their ability to focus during class or studying. Stress may even cause students to drop out of school or drop classes. More than 25 percent of students say that stress lowered their grades or ability to focus.
For teenagers experiencing stress at home, attending to schoolwork may not be a top priority. As research shows, stress exhibited by teachers directly increases the stress levels of students while in the classroom. Stressors may pop up at any moment to disrupt learning and concentration.
It's vital for parents as well as teenagers to recognise the significant impact stress has on teens and young adults, and work to create a supportive and calm educational and family environment.
Parents who want their kids to succeed academically should conduct regular check-ins with their children and consider joining a stress management program which will help reduce or even eliminate the negative impact of stress on the whole family.
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