Oct 25 2015

Why are our teens so stressed out?

Published by at 11:19 am under Immune System,Stress

Studies reveal that today’s teens are experiencing higher levels of stress than past generations and it’s not good for their health.

 

Life is full of stressors. Stress in the near term can propel us to try harder and “fight back,” to be more successful or get us out of perilous situations. But chronic stress can really take a toll on the body, making us more susceptible to viral illnesses such as catching a cold or the flu, and putting us at a greater risk for other diseases and infections as it wreaks havoc on our immune system and overall health.*

As adults, life can be stressful from work, children, money, divorce, illness, to name just a few. But adults are not the only ones affected by stress. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in Amercia survey conducted in 2014, American teens have taken over Millenials, (those between the age of 18 and 33) as the most stressed out group in our country.*

Teens who haven’t even had to deal with work and the stress of starting and supporting a family, are already experiencing higher levels of stress than ever before. This is particularly concerning because it is setting them up early for unhealthy lifestyle choices and behaviors and can increase their risk for stress related health problems down the road. “…High school students report stress levels that top those of adults. More than half of all college students (54%) have felt “overwhelming anxiety” sometime within the last 12 months, according to the American College Health Association, up from 48.4% in 2010…” (1,2*)

Among the major habits that may contribute to a teenager’s higher stress levels are sleep, exercise and technology. It appears that teenagers spend an average of 7 ½ hours on some type of media every day. Additionally, teens aren’t sleeping enough…only 7.4 hours per school night, whereas 9-10 hours is what is recommended according to The Center for Disease Control. Teens are also exercising less than one time per week if at all, even though exercise is a proven way to help reduce stress levels.3*

“…The negative health effects of lack of sleep and too much screen time for teens could be significant. Teens who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely as well-rested teens to develop major depressive disorders, according to a recent University of Texas study, while teens who are already depressed are more likely to lose sleep. Teens who spend a lot of time on the Internet are also as likely to exhibit depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts as teens who misuse drugs and skip school, according to a recent Swedish study…”3

Younger kids are also feeling stress and though less likely to identify and communicate this, they demonstrate it in their behavior. While parents stress levels may measure 10 out of 10, according to the WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey, which included 432 parents of children ages 5 to 13, parents are less aware that their children are also stressed. 2

 From those surveyed, half of parents put school/homework (53%) and friends (51%) as their children’s main sources of stress. Another big reason for children’s anxiety stems from their home environment, and 60% of the parents reported that their family had been affected by one “majorly stressful event” in the past year. Bullying was also a key component in raised stress levels, with 38% of parents said their child had been bullied or teased within the previous year. 2

 To lower stress levels for the entire family, start by slowing down! Teens and children don’t know how to self regulate as well as adults, and the FOMO factor (Fear of Missing Out) compels them to constantly check their social media outlets to make sure they are not missing out and included in all that is going on, often to find out that they have been left out, leading to more stress.4*

We can help ourselves and our kids by taking a few steps to streamline our lives into feeling less stress. Separating from our cell phone for awhile is important. Commit to quality time spent together doing a relaxing activity away from screens and media. Sleep at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, and for children and teens, 9-10 is preferred. Exercise at least 4-5 times per week and daily if possible. Eat right. Limit alcohol. B Complex vitamins are an excellent source for stress reduction. Body Biotics™ Liquid B 6-9-12 drops are an easy and excellent way to get these extra B vitamins. They are in a tasty berry flavor so you can give them to your kids as well. Resource 5 below lists some other supplements for helping to balance the mood and help with stress. And remember, stress takes a toll on your gut and your immune system. So keep your gut healthy too by consuming a regular dose of friendly bacteria, as found in Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™.5*

Of course removing the stressors from our lives would ideally be the answer, but that can’t always happen. Learning to deal with stress in a healthy way sets kids up for managing their stress in the future. All of these things combined can help bring down stress levels and help our kids stay on the right path for a healthy adulthood.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#sthash.awfyO9b1.dpuf          
  2. http://www.webmd.com/news/breaking-news/kids-and-stress/20150827/stress-survey?page=1
  3. .http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/american-teens-are-even-m_n_4768204.html  
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_missing_out
  5. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/mental-health/8-nutrients-to-help-beat-anxiety


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