Stress is no foreign concept to anyone; everyone knows what it is like to be stressed. Unfortunately, as teenagers are going through pivotal points in their lives, stress becomes common. Adults tend to assume that since a teenager does not share the same responsibilities as them, then it is not possible for them to be truly stressed out. Balancing school, work, relationships, and planning for the future can cause heavier stress than one might think.
According to the American Psychological Association, only 16% of teens reported that their stress levels have decreased in the past year. While double that percentage have stated that their stress levels increase. Based on these percentages, it can be reasoned that stress can happen to anybody at any age. It is clear that teenagers go through a tougher time than some would like to admit, we need to find the time to identify these stressors and figure out how to deal with them.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Stress does not have to be just a textbook definition. Stress can affect one through their physical appearance, or it may not affect them at all. There are people out there who deal with stress on a day-to-day basis, although they may not notice it due to a hectic schedule, the stress is still present.
If you are feeling: irritability, constant worry, issues with concentration, or anything that is mentally draining, it is possible that you are stressed. In addition to that, stress can affect someone physically as well. Some physical symptoms of stress include: headaches, insomnia, low energy, chest pain, etc. Combining these symptoms together can change a person’s behavior and appearance drastically.
Even though there are many symptoms that come with stress, people may not show outward signs of stress. Or they may not realize that they are stressed until there comes a moment where something is completely overwhelming. By implementing a time where teens can destress and figure out how to handle it, their lives will be much easier.
As a senior in high school, stress is my best friend. School just started yet the impending stress that will soon accompany me on my journey of my last year in high school is apparent. Usually what is stressing me is not known to others; stress has never been a breaking point yet. With everything going on between college applications and the coronavirus, stress has slowly invited itself to live rent-free in my head once again. How am I dealing with it currently? I am not. I am choosing to busy myself until the time comes to reflect on my wellbeing.
Writing this article is my way of letting everything out. In the past, my most effective method to battle stress is to sit down and think about it, think of what is stressing me out, ways I could destress myself, the feeling when the tide rolls over. But you do not have to deal with stress the same way as me; there are many different methods to handle stress.
It is very easy to look up on Google how to deal with stress, but it is difficult to find a method that works for you. Everyone’s body reacts differently to stress, so it is important that we recognize that everyone is not going to handle stress in the same manner. Some common tips to decrease stress include: deep breathing, exercise, taking a minute to think about everything, the list goes on.
As teenagers, we need to recognize that stress is common for us, we all experience stress through tough times. But the most important thing to remember is that stress does not have to be a forever thing, there are ways you can make your stress go away or at least lessen it, so it is not as overwhelming.
There are so many ways teens can problem solve when it comes to stress. Simply talking to someone about your feelings can lessen the load, and if you have no one to talk to, then you can always write down your feelings. Do not feel obligated to just “deal with it”, if it is bothering you, then it clearly has some significance to your life. You can figure out a way around it, stress is not a vital component in life.
If there is one thing I learned about stress, it would be that it does not last forever. There will be points in our lives where things are completely overwhelming, and we do not know what to do about it. It is unfortunate that such a large number of teenagers with stress choose to ignore it until it is not possible any longer. We need to make it a necessity to step back and deal with those stressors because overall it is detrimental to our overall health. Remember to take care of yourselves because stress is something anybody can overcome.
Sometimes when you cannot deal with the stress, it is helpful to take your mind off it for a little while. Here are some websites to maintain stress levels:
· xhlar.com (This simplistic website with aid you in breathing exercises)
· relaxonline.me.uk (This website provides step-by-step instructions on how to soothe your irritations from stress)
· gozen.com (Adults are not the only people to deal with stress. This site targets kids ages 5-15, and teaches them how to manage stress)
· Lyftly (Free app you can download on your mobile device. The main audience is teenagers so you will have a chance to interact with people your age going through similar situations.)
We regret to inform you…One of the worst possible sentences anyone can read, whether it be for their job application, promotion, or, in most of our foreseeable futures, college. Rejection is one of the most painful experiences humans go through, it happens every day, yet the amount of hurt remains the same. While rejection in any area can and will affect someone, this article will focus more on getting rejected from colleges.
College is an experience that most people will experience at some point in their lives. Most typically during your last year in high school, teachers will talk about the importance of college and they will highly recommend that you apply to at least one institution. You spend hours researching colleges to see which one fits you best; you spend even more time writing essays and answering questions regarding your past few years in high school. The waiting period after submitting the application is dreadful, but not as dreadful as the moment you receive an email regarding the admissions decision for the college(s) you have applied to.
The wound of rejection is still open and it still stings despite the constant reassurance from those close to me. I recently received rejections from my top three college choices. Some people might not understand the pain behind not being accepted, but applying for that college was more than the money and hours I spent perfecting my application. This is something that I have built over the past couple of years, and my future was in the hands of these college admissions officers. Even though I am still hurting as I write this article, I want those reading this to remember: rejection does not mean you are not enough, use it as a learning experience.
I am not healed from this occurrence, and I do not think I will ever reach a point where I think about the universities that declined my admission and be completely satisfied with their decision. But I have to remember that just because I did not get in, does not mean I am not smart enough or I am not good enough. Colleges get thousands of applicants and everyone’s stories and circumstances are different. The thing is, you and I cannot forget our worth, and it is always easy to forget it once we have been rejected. Getting rejected is not the end of the world; where one college rejects you, there will be another college–the right one–ready to welcome you with open arms.
There are plenty of ways to handle nonacceptance from a university, here are some of the things I have done to feel better:
· Write about it. While I do not have a personal journal to write about the rejection in, writing this article is helping me face the issue head-on.
· Read about others’ rejections. Seeing how other people are dealing/have dealt with college rejection can make you feel better.
· Treat yourself. Whether it is food, shopping, or binge-watching something, celebrate that you even applied; it is a big deal.
· Sleep it off. I know this one may seem questionable, but whenever I receive bad news, a good night’s rest will have me feeling much better.
· Find websites that will support you. It is okay to feel sad, confused, angry, and any other strong emotion towards college decisions. These websites have helped me realize I am worth more than an application. (These websites do not sponsor TWE).
o Prep Scholar – This website has anything that will help your education. From SAT practices, to how to write a strong essay.
o Prep Maven – This article gives more advice on how to deal with an unsuspecting admission decision.
o College Raptor – This short, but helpful article discusses points about how to handle college rejection.
Rejection is never an easy thing to accept. I understand as I have been put in a position where I realized no to take it too personal. It happens to a lot of people, in fact, there are hundreds of websites/articles discussing this very topic. There are a lot of people who feel empathetic and can resonate with those who did not get accepted into a university that they have applied to. But, as always, life goes on, and we cannot forget our worth because of an instance like you. I know that applying for college happens during one of the busiest times of your life, so it is okay to cut yourself some slack. You are truly enough and amazing just the way you are.
With much love,
One of the biggest challenges we must face as we grow older is procrastination. It is detrimental to our work ethic as it provides very little motivation to do productive things. In much simpler terms, procrastination is the inability to carry out a task in an appropriate and timely manner. Unfortunately, procrastination is heavily associated with laziness, but that is simply not the case in all circumstances. Procrastination can happen to anyone, even the most ambitious people out there. There are many reasons why one might procrastinate, but there are many solutions as well.
The epidemic of procrastination is not to be taken lightly, due to its devastating effects and how many people suffer from it. Procrastination makes itself known especially when we are in middle/high school. A lot of us tend to push off our work towards the last minute, thus forcing us to rush and turn in work that isn’t our best. Fortunately for me, the desire to put off my work was weaker than my desire to get everything done. Whilst I may not have had extreme procrastination, it was still there and I would always worry for my friends who struggled with it even more.
There are plenty of reasons why one might choose to procrastinate. In order to overcome this phenomena, it is best to understand why you do it, and find solutions relevant to your reason why. Reasons why you procrastinate can include:
Even though I do not have the most experience with procrastination, here are ways that helped me overcome it, and I hope they help you as well!
One of the most bonding aspects of our lives is procrastination. While we may not share the same reasons and effects of procrastination, it is still something that we should work together to overcome. Unfortunately, most people deal with this phenomena at vital points in their lives, whether it be school or work. Luckily for us, there are plenty of causes and solutions to this issue. I sincerely hope that anyone who has read this article will find the information provided useful, and if not, I hope that it drives you to do further research. Good luck and remember to try your very best for everything.
Best of luck,
Internalized homophobia has made my life a living hell. It has driven such an intense dislike towards myself because of my sexual preferences. But I am not the only person it has infected with its hatred; many people with different sexual orientations–even heterosexuals–have fallen victim. Because of internalized homophobia, I would always wish to be straight and I was too afraid to tell my friends that I was not straight due to the negative connotations I felt were behind it.
Internalized homophobia is one of the biggest struggles people within the LGBTQ+ community face. In simple terms, internalized homophobia is the struggle with finding homosexuality okay. Many people who are not heterosexual deal with this because they grow up with negative depictions of homosexuality, and they are faced with moral dilemmas as they realize that they are exactly what they have avoided.
Growing up, it was instilled in me that homosexuality was not normal; that it was something that God did not want. After all, he did create men and women for a reason, or at least that is what people say. Hearing the same thing over and over again eventually sticks with you, and you start to believe it. However, I want anyone reading this article to remember something: there are churches out there that support everyone despite their sexual orientation. I suggest finding one of those groups and mingling with them, if religion is a big part of your life of course.
There was a point in my life, which I deeply regret, where I was very outspoken about how odd I found homosexuality. I was young, I was ignorant, and my views have drastically changed. The homophobia that I felt soon became internalized as soon as I realized my bisexuality. Because I grew up in a somewhat conservative household, I did not disclose my sexuality to my family, because I felt ashamed.
Figuring out that I am not a heterosexual was surprisingly an easy concept about myself to understand. The embarrassment was still there, nonetheless. I spent years disliking myself because homophobia has embedded itself deep into my conscience. While it is not particularly at the forefront of my mind, it continues to lurk in the shadows, only coming out when I am alone with my thoughts. I have searched high and low for forums and articles containing people who are going through the same thing.
Despite still suffering from internalized homophobia today, one of the biggest things I have learned is that homosexuality is not this evil thing that so many people have made it out to be. It is important that you stay true to yourself, no matter what internal and external predicaments you may face. Times are changing and we live in a day and age where things that were taboo back then are being accepted more now.
I cannot tell you to stop listening to those internalized homophobic thoughts, it is just not possible. As I mentioned before, I still struggle with it, however there are plenty of articles, helplines, and websites to help you maintain those thoughts. Here are some resources you can turn to help/educate you. (Aside from TWE, none of these websites sponsor TWE)
· Sexuality Articles – This link includes articles written by other members within Teenagers With Experience, there are a plethora of other topics as well.
· Internalized Homophobia – This article goes into more depth about the topic discussed. This is definitely worth a read for education!
· Trevor Project – This website is a helpline for the LGBTQ+ youth. You can chat with someone on the phone, or you can text them. You can even volunteer (you must be at least 18 years old).
· Rainbow Project – This article displays ways that internalized homophobia can manifest itself. It is a great article for anyone questioning if they have it.
As if facing discrimination from other people is not enough, people from the LGBTQ+ community can suffer from internal discrimination as well. Growing up and seeing the same negative depictions of homosexuals affects us more than we can anticipate. However hard you may judge yourself, it is important to realize that you are not in this fight alone, everyday we see more progress for the LGBTQ+ community and this is something we should celebrate. You do not have to live your life in shame because of others’ opinions.
Stay true to yourself,
Anxiety is a dire situation that affects many teens globally. According to healthychildren.org, “Nearly 1 in 3 of ALL adolescents ages 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder”. If so many of us struggle with it, why is it so hard to talk about? Why do so many of us think of simple social interactions and scrutinize it until we are convinced that we made a fool of ourselves?
One of the most common forms of anxiety is social anxiety. Social anxiety may cause someone to feel as though they are not adequate enough for social relationships. Simple interactions with people may cause: nervousness, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, heart palpitations, so on and so forth. Social anxiety is as mental as it is physical. On the outside, someone may seem quiet or reserved, but their mind might be running rampant with worst case scenarios.
One of the most memorable instances where my social anxiety stood out was the first day at my new school. I had moved from one state to another, towards the middle of my junior year. My social anxiety built so many barriers that took time to overcome but as soon as I started going to a new school, it felt as though I did not know how to socialize properly. I remember stepping onto the new campus for the first time; my heart was pounding so loud it drowned out the sounds of construction that was taking place. I felt grateful for my hoodie as it covered my hands that were shaking as if the temperatures were well below freezing. The butterflies in my stomach were flying wildly, as if attempting to escape the confines of my body that was heating up with anxiety. However, my face never betrayed my feelings; I made sure that nobody could tell that I was nervous—except for the occasional shaky breaths as I tried to soothe my hammering heart.
Social anxiety had been a roadblock for building relationships for so long I knew I had to take action. Unfortunately, I did not have any adults that I trusted enough to tell them how I truly felt. Google was my best friend when it came to researching social anxiety. I read through numerous articles on social anxiety: why it is prominent in many teens, what causes social anxiety, how to maintain relationships, and most important: I am not alone. Once I realized that so many kids struggle with it, it was much easier to talk about it. My friends and I would always joke about our social anxiety; even though it is not amongst the funniest of subjects, it was our way to cope and manage our problems.
“Fake it until you make it” is the most underrated yet incredibly useful tip I’ve ever received. I never quite understood how that phrase was helpful until I was forced to face my anxiety at my new school. I know that overcoming social anxiety can be an annoyance, it is hard to build and maintain relationships when you cannot help but think of all the worst-case scenarios. But I managed to convince my subconscious that I was not nervous because there was no reason to be; I should not be dwelling on how I could mess things up if I have not even made any attempts.
It is up to you to convince yourself that you are not nervous, social anxiety is just in your head, it is important that you realize how to talk yourself out of that headspace. You should remind yourself that even though you are scrutinizing every aspect of a particular social interaction, the other party is not. It is consequential that we discern that sometimes we are our worst critics. It especially applies to social anxiety because we worry about every little thing that we say or do, but that is just it. We end up worrying whilst the other person sees it as a normal interaction.
Social anxiety is a cruel issue that so many of us struggle with and we feel as though that we cannot maintain social interactions without looking like an idiot. It can prevent us from so many wonderful opportunities. This is why it is essential that we find a way to talk ourselves out of the mental constrictions that social anxiety can place onto us.
If you or someone you know suffers from social anxiety, there are plenty of websites/helplines to reach out to:
· Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
· www.NHS.uk (Provides numbers to call, and websites to visit)
Death is foreign concept. People are constantly dying, yet the human race has no clue what is next. As ironic as that sounds, death is something we cannot seem to understand. The only thing we can conclude is that while our bodies are not immortal, our souls certainly are. Up until recently, I have never lost someone whose death would cause a persistent grieving process.
When we die, our bodies are no longer with those on earth. Our bodies swell up and go through chemical processes that leave us no longer recognizable. The loved ones left behind are faced with the decision of what to do with the body. There are many ways to dispose of the human corpse, the most popular being ground burial, cremation, and immurement. Along with that decision comes something that is exceptionally difficult to overcome, the grieving process.
According to many sources, there are seven stages that one goes through when they are grieving.
1. Shock: Hearing the news of someone dying never fails to leave one speechless. They do not know what to say or how to act as the news catches them off guard.
2. Denial: It is very common for people to avoid the death as a whole and how it made them feel. It is much easier to avoid those feelings then face them head on.
3. Anger: After avoiding the grief, it is normal to feel anger and attempt to place the blame on themselves or the situation.
4. Bargaining: One might constantly think back and try to figure out what went wrong. They might imagine a scenario where they did something differently and the lost loved one would still be alive.
5. Depression: After realizing that they cannot bring back the deceased, they start to feel down. One might start to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness.
6. Testing: As the second-to-last stage, this is the stage where one might figure out methods on how to deal with the grief. They are looking for ways to take the pain away from the situation.
7. Acceptance: Even though the death is accepted, that does not necessarily mean the pain is gone. The pain is still there, but the grieving process is now much healthier and beneficial.
Once you have gone through the last stage of grief, you should feel at peace from the initial raging emotions. It is okay to mourn over the death of a loved one, and sometimes you might not even be “over it”, but there are ways to overcome that grief and make the process much easier to handle.
The hardest part about death is the grieving process. It takes a lot for one to realize that the deceased is no longer here; they cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled and we are simply left with the memory of them. 2020 has definitely been a year full of grief as being in the middle of a pandemic with a deadly virus has made death a fairly familiar concept to a lot of people. It is not just people from our personal lives either, this year we have lost so many talented celebrities who we have looked up to. You do not have to know someone personally to feel sorrow over their passing. A celebrity who I have deeply admired passed away this year and I did not know how to deal with it. The seven stages of grief were present over the course of time, and while I am not completely over it, I am able to reflect on the emotions of grief without being overwhelmed.
While celebrity deaths are hard to deal with, the passing of those close to you can be even harder. In one second, you could go from seeing someone and being able to talk to them every day to being forced to see them only in memory. Nobody is prepared for the day where they lose a loved one and they are forced to deal with the grieving process. Thinking about the death of a loved one always evokes such strong emotions to the point where the topic itself is avoided constantly. It is essential to know that whatever feelings are induced during the process of grief is normal and validated.
I have personally never experienced the process of grief until an admirable celebrity and an old friend of mine passed away this year. Their deaths had thrown me in for such a loop, since death had been a foreign concept to me until then. Undoubtedly there were tears after hearing the news of their demise, but what made it harder was the fact that I did not know how to deal with the pain. The easiest solution is to imagine that they are in Heaven and they are looking down onto their friends and family.
People do not react to death the same. Everybody will have a different reaction to the overwhelming emotions that take over. However, there are ways to deal with those emotions; you do not have to grieve forever. In the list below, based on personal experience and advice. I have added ways you can deal with anguish:
· Think positively about the afterlife they are in (there are different views on the afterlife for different religions, so whatever you may believe in, think positive)
· Talk to someone about the emotions you are feeling
· Face your grief directly
· Acknowledge the pain and know your emotions are validated
· Know the pain will not last forever
· Do not be hard on yourself/do not blame yourself
These may not seem like much, but if executed properly the grieving process can be shortened and/or easier to go through. Currently, the grief from those deaths are still apparent, however the coping is much easier through self-support.
If there is one lesson that we should take from life, it is that the melancholy of death does not last forever. Death is inevitable and we must find a way to deal with the pain of losing those around us. It is acceptable to feel many strong emotions along with the passing of one. However, there are too many resources for one to feel as though they have to grieve forever. So please, if you are currently dealing with grief, follow the advice presented in this article and if those do not work, find something that makes the grieving process more tolerable. Death does not have to be a sad subject; it can be filled with a lot of good memories as well.
If the advice given in this article are not helpful, there are plenty of sources to help you deal with the process:
· Opentohope.com – This website includes podcasts, articles, books, and many more resources to help cope with death
· Childrengrieve.org – Designed specifically for children, this site can help tackle the tough issue of children having to deal with grief as well
· Gratefulness.org – While this may not give advice on how to directly deal with grief, you can dedicate a candle for someone and write out how you feel about them
· Griefanonymous.com – If you want to speak with other people dealing with grief, but anonymously, this website allows you to do so