I have seen a number of teens who are adjusting to the demands and pressures of their last year of high school as they transition into college. In particular, American teens feel a tremendous pressure during this phase of life. Parents should be aware of these pressures and seek to assist their adolescent obtain balance, a healthy lifestyle, and good coping skills. Although I could provide my professional thoughts, I wanted to share some insights from teenagers who have experienced this phase of life stress firsthand.
As a 17-year-old teen who is about to enter my senior (4th) year of high school, I find that transitioning into adult life is stressful. I take a college class over the summer vacation which entails writing papers, researching, and reading a lot of material. My current college class has 12 required books. I am volunteering at a hospital to gain experience, preparing to submit my college applications, and attending practices for an All Star Cheer Team, to say the least. Here is how I manage my stress:
- I listen to my favorite music. People suggest listening to “relaxing” music; my favorite music isn’t always relaxing music but that type is not for everyone. Listen to what you prefer, as long as your choice of music relaxes you. Another way I de-stress is by taking a shower. I also enjoy taking a 30-minute nap. Sometimes a nap as short as 15-20 minutes works as well.
- If none of those approaches work, I try calling a good friend. Talking helps me relieve stress. I feel better after Face Timing (video conferencing) or after a long phone call with a friend. I feel more relaxed/distressed and ready to take on the world. Last, exercising or being active is another way to de-stress. Considering taking on a sport either in school or as an extracurricular activity. (Lathanise Cox-Moscatello, July 2019)
Life is both stressful and challenging, at times. I am 14 years old and going into my junior (3rd) year of high school. I am two grades ahead for my age and still take challenging classes like pre-AP Chemistry. As both an artist, and a soccer manager for our school team, I am very busy. I have attended both science and art camps like this over most summers. I also volunteer at a local hospital over the summer to gain experience. The following is what I recommend to maintain a healthy lifestyle (Ramona Cox-Moscatello, July 2019):
- Do not allow your stress to build up, because you may blow up or overreact to a situation.
- Find what works for you. Take some time to figure out [what you like].
- Cold showers wake you up and warm showers help to relax your muscles.
- If you can’t find anything that works, ask your parents about seeing a mental health professional.
I concur with their recommendations. Additionally, taking on a hobby such as gardening, playing an instrument, or art might be useful. Exercising is also important in our overall health. In a Vancouver study, older adults executive brain functioning increased between 11%-13% when the participants received resistance exercise training (Liu-Ambrose et al., 2010). Exercising can allow us to accomplish tasks better. In fact, additional studies have demonstrated that participants performed better over a range of cognitive tasks, when they exhibited greater muscular strength (Boyle et al. 2009; Narazaki et al. 2014). Choose an approach for managing your stress that is pro social, in which you can find balance, stay healthy, and obtain good coping skills for better managed teen aged stress.
Lakawthra Cox, MA, MAPC, LPC, NCC, CCC
Lathanise Cox-Moscatello, Contributor
Ramona Cox-Moscatello, Contributor
Boyle PA, Buchman AS, Wilson RS, et al (2009). Association of muscle strength with the risk of Alzheimer disease and rate of cognitive decline in community dwelling older persons. Arch Neurol 66(11):1339-1344, 2009 19901164. In Noordsy, D. L., editor. (2019) Lifestyle psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association. Washington, DC.
Liu-Ambrose T. Nagamatsu LS, Graf P, et al: Resistance training and executive functions: a 12-month randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 170-178, 2010 20101012. In Noordsy, D. L., editor. (2019) Lifestyle psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association. Washington, DC.
Narazaki K, Matsuo E, Honda T, et al: Physical fitness measures as potential markers of low cognitive problems. J Sports Sci Med. 13 (3): 590-596, 2014 25177186. In Noordsy, D. L., editor. (2019). Lifestyle psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association. Washington, DC.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA