**Stress and Teenagers
-Teenagers, like adults, may experience stress every day and can benefit from learning stress management skills.
-Most teens experience more stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope.
-Some teens become overloaded with stress.
-When this happens, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use.
-When we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger.
-This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.
-The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off.
-As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down.
-This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rate and a sense of well-being.
-Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.
**Types of Stress
-Stress can be positive or negative
-Positive stress is motivating like preparing for a match, a job interview or challenges that improve and aid personal growth.
-Negative stress takes it’s toll and can cause fear and anxiety.
**Sources of Stress for Teens include:
-School demands and frustrations
-Negative thoughts or feelings about themselves
-Changes in their bodies
-Problems with friends and/or peers at school
-Unsafe living environment/neighborhood
-Separation or divorce of parents
-Chronic illness or severe problems in the family
-Death of a loved one
-Moving or changing schools
-Taking on too many activities or having too high expectations
-Family financial problems
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.