Feeling Freaked Out By Stress?
Almost all teenagers feel stressed out at times. Everyday stress can involve things like worrying about school work or feeling nervous before a big event. In small amounts, stress helps you get better at dealing with the ups and downs of life and helps you stay focused. Sometimes stress becomes overwhelming and can cause problems. The stress that comes with really difficult life situations (moving, parents getting divorced, a breakup) often feels stronger and lasts longer than everyday stress. Experiencing something traumatic (death of a loved one, abuse, bullying, witnessing something really frightening) can cause serious stress reactions. Sometimes if stress just feels too much, we don’t know how to cope. Sometimes people react to stress in ways that cause more stress or self-harm, like cutting, running away or abusing drugs and alcohol. When stress starts to interfere with the ability to enjoy everyday life, it's serious.
With serious types of stress, you’ll probably need some extra help and support. First, don't ignore a big problem, hoping it will go away. Get help figuring out how you'll cope. When stress really builds up, it's not always possible to see a way out or a clear answer about what to do. In these cases, you probably need help dealing with whatever situation is creating serious stress for you. This is when it's time to turn to a parent, counsellor, therapist, religious leader, teacher, coach, or someone else you trust and ask for help. Talking about your feelings with someone else can give you a fresh way of thinking about things. It can also help you feel more understood and remind you that people care about you.
You can also take some control of managing your stress. Having a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol or drugs, and exercising regularly can help manage stress. A good night's sleep helps give you the ability to better deal with stressful situations. Try to figure out ways that help you cope with stress, such as time management, goal setting, and positive thinking. Try taking big goals/problems and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Make it a habit to notice and focus on what's good in your life, even the little things. Noticing the good things even when you're feeling bad can help you start feeling more positive. Try to put things in perspective and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Schedule some time to relax and do things you enjoy (even if you don't feel like it at the time).
If the stress still doesn’t get better (or feel more manageable) after trying these things, ask your parents or another adult to arrange an appointment for you to meet with your family doctor and a counsellor to get checked out. A counsellor can help you figure out ways to cope better with stress and boost your mood so you can get back to enjoying life.