Last week we took an in-depth look at stress among teenagers. We also talked about the importance of educating our teens on recognizing stress and its various symptoms. There are a lot of constructive ways to help our teens manage daily stress, which will naturally lead them to have a more positive outlook on life.
We all have access to multiple resources to find tips and suggestions on how we can help our children. However, I find that this generation is always a step ahead of us, and it occurred to me to ask some of my teenage daughterís friends if they had any set habits they used as fallbacks when feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Some answers were funny, some witty and some, I must admit, were very impressive. Here are a few slightly unconventional stress management tips from a group of thirteen/fourteen year olds!
One girl said, “I make lists and get organized when it gets crazy.” A textbook approach, but very mature, I thought to myself. One we could all use. Another one excitedly shouted out, “I loovvve to get home from school and change into my pajamas!” Predictably, the entire group burst out laughing at this enthused statement, which prompted an explanation from her, “It always makes me feel relaxed, as soon I get into comfortable clothing. I know I’m home then and I can deal with everything slowly, taking my time!” I was surprised and had to smile at her simple, yet very rational explanation. Later, when I dwelled on that comment, I realized, much to my amusement, that I too was in the habit of doing exactly that! Except, I’d just never thought about why I did, and it was just a habit.
I couple of them contributed with responses referring to healthy habits like, sleeping enough, staying active, exercising regularly eating healthy, taking regular breaks, listening to music and talking to peers/parents. All really good ideas and aligned with what one might find on the internet, books and other resources accessible to all of us. Then, another great idea, which I perceived as completely out-of the-box, pleasantly surprised me. One girl, very thoughtfully and hesitantly volunteered, “You know, sometimes when I feel really stressed and down, I try and do something nice for someone else and it always makes me feel better.” It took the rest of the group a few seconds to process what she’d said, before they collectively launched into a discussion, agreeing with her, talking over each other and sharing instances when they’d all experienced the same.
I would have gladly shared their examples and stories with you, except, I didn’t hear a single one! I was too dumbstruck! That was all I got out of them that evening and following that chat, they went right back to being a group of giggly teenagers. I left the room, marveling at the amazing wisdom this small group of girls had passed onto me, while they were all chattering away, laughing and teasing each other. Yes! They need us to help them navigate through these adolescent years and manage stress. No! This is not a one way street by any means. Give them a chance, and I can assure you, they’ll teach us a lesson or two as well about stress management.
Photo: martinaK15 (Flickr)