With school in session, many students find themselves already stressed out by the amount of work given to them. If not school, young adults are also overwhelmed by work and personal life issues.
Whatever it may be, stress can lead to depression and anxiety. Both mental illnesses are often factors in suicide and other destructive behaviors.
“A teenager is going through what we call identity formation,” said Todd Bobeda, a counselor at McNary high school. “They are figuring out who they are.”
Bobeda has worked with teens for a long time and understands the mental strain school can have on a young adolescent.
“The amount of stress that we are seeing based on academics alone is pretty heavy,” he said. “It’s this crazy tornado of stress on top of the expectations we set for ourselves”
High schoolers are beginning to become aware of the toxicity and danger in the world while they are gaining maturity.
Identity and expression contribute to social stress and the rift between trying to fit in and also be yourself.
Besides academic and social stress, there is also personal stress. This can include divorce in the family, money issues and having no one to turn to. Even if the personal problem happened a long time ago, Bobeda believes said teens are seeing the situation differently than they once did and processing it in new ways.
However, there is a way to deal with the mental and physical strain your life may put on you. Bobeda suggested taking your mono focus off negativity. He explained, “This one thing is really tough right now, but look at all the good things I have going on.”
If you only spend your attention on stressful situations or events, you won’t be able to move on to more positive thoughts.
Bobeda also suggests communicating with those you trust. When you keep everything inside, stressors pile up and can hurt your mental abilities.
“Share that weight as a human with others,” he said. Bobeda believes having people to rely on and trust is the best and most effective way to handle stress.
Before reaching that point of stress, however, it is important to look for ways to prevent it from happening. Bobeda advises teenagers to look for warning signs and listen to others. If you realize a stressful situation could happen, try to step away and talk to someone.
Sometimes though, stress can be beneficial and adolescents should learn that they can’t always avoid it.
“Everything you are dealing with is for the first time,” Bobeda said. If you have been through something before, you can use past knowledge and past actions to get through it. Teenagers though are often experiencing new things and don’t know how to solve stressful problems, so it is helpful to view the negative situation as a moment to learn and grow from.
The important thing to understand is that you are never alone and there are people out there you can turn to: a trusted parent, teacher, school counselor and, of course, a friend.