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this week


By Patti Gislason

Stress is a word that we often associate with our parents. The reality is teens often feel stress just as much as adults do. Teens can experience stress for any number of reasons and the difference when teens experience stress is that they may not know what they’re feeling and therefore not be able to help themselves take the steps they need to reduce the stress in their lives. I discovered at a very young age that I tend to stress out, that’s why I meditate. Meditation is a great way to relax and it works for me. No matter how you reduce your stress, if you’re a stressed-out teen, you need to find a way to calm down, refocus and reduce your stress.

Stress is bad for a lot of different reasons. The main reason is the impact that stress has on your physical and mental health. The first thing to do when you think you might be experiencing stress is to recognize the things that typically trigger stress. Some really common causes of stress for teens include: school demands, negative self-image, body changes, problems with friends or family, unsafe environment, parent divorce, moving, death of a family member, taking on too many activities, financial problems.

If you don’t recognize stress for what it is, often the stress is not dealt with properly and destructive behaviour follows. When stress is left untreated it can lead to activities and behaviours that cause you to forget or mask the problem such as drinking too much, drug use, withdrawal, anxiety or moodiness. None of these feelings or behaviours are much fun so it’s important to recognize the stress and find a way to cope.

Let’s face it, bad things happen and everyone will feel stress at some point or another. It’s all about how to make it feel a little bit better. I meditate to focus myself and to just find a way to totally relax for at least a few minutes every day. When my meditation is over the problem is still there but I feel clearer in my head and less afraid to deal with my problems. If meditation isn’t for you, there are a lot of other things you can do to relieve stress. Try playing a sport to focus your energy. Deep breathing is a great way to take a break and slow your body down. If you know for a fact that something in particular causes you stress, then work on tackling your fear – for example, if you’re terrified to speak in public, take a drama class or public speaking class to practice and build your confidence. Practice positive self-talk. It’s easy to focus on negative self-talk and that doesn’t do anyone any good. Remind yourself of the great things about you and repeat them in your mind to focus your confidence. Take a break and do something just for you – a walk, listening to music, playing with your dog, all these things will help you chill out a bit.

The most important thing is to not let stress take over your life. When you learn to relax and enjoy things life gets just a little bit easier.

Take a deep breath…


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