How’s your day going. Feeling stressed?
The annual stress study by the American Psychological Association found our country’s most stressed generation is our teens. This news should come as no surprise when you think of the typical day of an American teenager and what struggles they face going forward. While the honor of most stressed generation previously belonged to the Millennials, ages 18-33, this year the survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of APA found American teenagers now reign supreme on the stress totem poll.
Wake up, shower, take a bite of breakfast on the ride to school, text friend across the lunch table, go to band or sports practice, snap a selfie of you doing said after-school-activity, slurp down dinner to avoid answering the question of how was your day from your parents, Facebook stalk your crush, start homework, tweet a status about how much you hate homework, check to see if anyone liked your posts, finally pass out.
Taking 1,950 adults and 1,018 teenagers from across the U.S. during August 2013 into account, the report compared stress levels on a 10-point scale. While a healthy stress level is considered a 3.9, on average adults rate their stress at 5.1 and teens rate theirs at 5.8.
The report found that teen stress levels are increasing, with 31 percent feeling more stressed than they did a year ago. Imagine what number they will rate their stress level by the time they are adults! As stress levels increase, so do teens risks for developing unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. This could cause serious health problems for them over time.
Other important findings of the study include that stress makes 31 percent of teens feel overwhelmed, 30 percent feel sad or depressed and 36 percent feel tired or fatigued.
Since social media may be the prime culprit behind their high stress levels, perhaps teens should use the little free time they have exercising, sleeping or venting to a professional instead of complaining about their troubles in a passive aggressive post.
Research recommends that with a better support system at home and better education in the classroom, stress levels can decrease. Parents should be aware of how they react to stress in their own daily lives and strive to set good coping mechanisms. Healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress early on can also be achieved by encouraging children to exercise often, eat healthily, sleep enough and be unafraid to talk to health care professionals.
Teens are so stressed, it seems they don’t realize the negative implications it has on their lives. The study found over 50 percent of teens don’t think stress hinders their physical or mental health. We bet their parents beg to differ.
Just as alarming, teenagers that do realize their stress is affecting them are too stressed out to do something about it. According to the study, 42 percent of teens admit they’re not doing enough or are unsure if they are doing enough to manage their stress.