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What Does Teen Stress Feel Like?

Jenny, 15, feels overwhelmed by all the things on her to-do list. Between trying to maintain a high grade point average, playing on the soccer team, volunteering at the local SPCA, and having a part-time job, she feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. She rarely has time to do things she enjoys like just hanging out with friends at the mall. Lately things at home haven’t been the best, either. Her parents are fighting a lot, and they often don’t make time for her. She’s started feeling tired all the time, and her stomach hurts often to the point that she just can’t eat. Her life is wearing her out.

Stress is our body’s reaction to our changing environment. Stress is not pressure to perform, personal problems, or illness; these things are stressors, and stress is our reaction to them. Stress isn’t a bad thing. Without stress, life would be boring and seem meaningless. Stress can be the excited feeling we get when getting ready to go on a date or throw a party. Basically, any event that causes us to have a physical reaction is a stressor. The problems occur when we get overstressed to the point of experiencing distress. Symptoms of distress include:

  • headaches, stomach aches
  • sweating
  • diarrhea
  • sleeplessness
  • increased heart rate
  • rapid breathing

Teens dealing with stress may feel overwhelmed, angry, and impatient with themselves as well as those around them. They may feel that they are being unfairly judged, and they often cry or get upset about trivial things. Stress can also make teens sick. It is believed that stress is the cause of up to 90% of all illness. Learning to deal with stress as early as possible is key to living an enjoyable life.

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