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Forget drugs and alcohol: stress is the real killer of American teens

Angel Lopez, Copy Editor

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Stress fills the life of most teens, due to many different situations such as school, family issues and community. Stress is a something that should not be taken lightly. However, many teens keep this to themselves and do not seek help or comfort. It is one of the many leading causes in teen death accounting for a high percentage of suicides. This is a matter that should be taken very seriously among teens, parents and administration.

School is one of the elevated reasons for stress. Student believe that if they keep their stress to themselves, they will save themselves from the embarrassment. This does not fix the problem, but adds more stress.

Grades are also a big stress leader in schools. Some students try to impress teachers, parents, and fellow students with their work. When they do not live up to their expectations, they are crestfallen. Furthermore students have high expectations already set for them by others which adds stress to the already hectic school life. These well-meaning individuals don’t always see the excessive stress they add to students’ lives.

Marie Krueger, counselor, said, “I think that is a major stressor for many teens today. However, it varies from individual to individual. While some may be stressing out because of the sense of not measuring up academically for others it is not being accepted socially. In addition, other stressors may include conflicts with friends or family, a loss of a loved one, lack of self-love or appreciation, or tension at home. The reasons are endless but the biggest thing to remember is that you’re not alone.”

Teens nowadays live extremely busy lives with little free time to themselves. “The pressure of academics, their extracurricular schedule, relationships with family and friends, as well as other
responsibilities can make it difficult for them to practice healthy safe-care which includes, but isn’t limited to, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and being physically active. When those things aren’t balanced, it can have negative effects in other areas of our lives such as how we react to setbacks and decision making. Many times it seems as though teens are afraid of failure, afraid to mess up, or afraid they are letting someone down. It is important to remember that at some time or another, people will fail at something, everyone does. So instead of being afraid to fail, think about how you react to small setbacks in life and evaluate yourself with some of these questions: What could I have done differently ? What can I commit to doing differently next time? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and what matters most is learning from them,” said Krueger.

Stress could also get to the point where a person may think there is no longer a reason to live. This is a very serious matter in any community. Suicide is not something to be taken lightly, but people cannot seem to understand why it occures. Nine times out of ten times stress is the leading cause of suicide among all ages – not only in teens. That is why it is imperative to find ways to alleviate stress in life.

There are many different ways to relieve stress. Therapy can help, but it is often very expensive.

The most common and best way to solve a stress problem is to simply get over your fear of embarrassment and talk to somebody and soon.

When asked what she thinks teens can do to relieve stress Krueger said, “Practice healthy safe-care habits such as healthy sleeping, eating, and exercising. And remember to make time to do something you enjoy! I know that is easier said than done but doing something each day that brings you a little bit of joy can make the biggest difference. For some that may be going for a run and for others maybe it is spending a few minutes with friends after school.”

Those who are feeling overwhelmed should not wait to seek help.
Krueger said, “Your family, friends and teachers are all of course great trustworthy resources. The counselors at Bellarmine are also a wonderful resource, no matter how big or small the issue may seem to you, we are always here to listen and support you in whichever ways we can. Everything remains confidential in the Counseling Office unless you share that you intend to harm yourself or others. Maybe you are having a stressful day and need a place to vent or maybe there is something going on at home and you need someone to talk to. Whatever it is, we are always here!”

Overall, stress is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. As stated, there are serious consequences related to stress. However, there are ways to manage and get through stressful periods.

Stress is a common thing in the everyday life of all human beings. Stress is never worth losing your life over and will never equal the joy that makes life worth living.

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Forget drugs and alcohol: stress is the real killer of American teens