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Published April 23rd, 2014
Too Much Stress is Harming Today's Teens
Express Yourself!(r) Teen Radio Reporter/Co-Host and Be the Star You Are!(r) volunteer, Henna Hundal, is an 11th grader on a mission to empower the younger generation to lead active, healthy lives.

When most people think about the life of a teenager, what typically comes to mind is days of cruising the mall, riding bikes around town, hanging out with friends, going to parties, and building lasting memories. After all, you're only young once, right?
Maybe so, but new research is indicating that the teenagers of today aren't really living the kickback, carefree lifestyle. According to the American Psychological Association, today's young people are more stressed out than ever - in fact, even more stressed out than adults! Junior Hunter M. says, "I find myself becoming stressed out about once or twice a day."
In February of this year, the APA released the results from its 2013 Stress in America Survey, and the statistics are both very troubling and very telling. Participants in the survey rated their daily stress levels on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing the least amount of daily stress and 10 representing the most. Out of the 1,018 teenagers who took the survey, the average stress rating was 5.8. On the contrary, the adults who took the survey had an average stress rating of 5.1. Junior Isaac M. says, "We teens usually get stressed out when we act irresponsibly, like procrastinate, and don't take measures carefully. When we don't manage our time well, the feelings of stress start kicking in."
Undoubtedly, school is a key root of the stress, according to the teenagers who participated in the survey. Not to mention, 31 percent of the surveyed kids said that all the school-year stress often makes them feel overwhelmed, and another 30 percent reported that it makes them feel depressed.
It's so concerning that such a large group of young people have self-reported higher stress levels than adults, as stress can have detrimental effects on a growing person's health. For example, it can lead to overeating, headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, and anxiety. As senior Arezu K. points out, "All that tension and pressure is definitely not good for our bodies."
Clearly, this epidemic of stress hitting teenagers needs to be turned around in some way. Whether that means putting minor tasks on the backburner for a while, or whether it means readjusting one's agenda to better reflect what one is able to manage, it's crucial to find a way to get a handle on all the tension. "When I know I need to let off some pressure, I go outside and take a walk around the block," says Hunter.
Basking in the outdoors is just one of the many great ways to de-stress. Turn on some music, phone a friend, find a fun hobby, take some deep breaths: releasing the tension is crucial. The teenage years of our lives should be times of enjoyment, growth, and relaxation - not ones marred by stress.

Teen Scene is YOUR voice. If you have something to say or have writing skills and want to be part of our Teen Scene team, email our Teen Coach, Cynthia Brian, Cynthia@CynthiaBrian.com.
The opinions expressed in Teen Scene are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Lamorinda Weekly.

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