Teens are just as stressed as working adults

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If you’re at a point in your career where you are in a leadership role, you know stress. You know who else knows stress? The guys and gals at the bottom of the totem pole. I know some folks who wistfully wonder about ditching their top managerial positions for a “less demanding” role. Sound familiar?

I hope not. It’s a fantasy. The bottom-rung workers are no less stressed than the top dogs. You know who else is stressed? The guys and the gals stuck in the middle. They’re stressed too. Everyone is stressed — it’s just different licks off of the same liver-flavored ice cream cone.

Stress, stress, stress. I say, if you’re going to be stressed, you might as well make some money at it. If not, what’s the point?

That might not sound very cheery or helpful, but we know one thing: stress kills. What’s worse? Your teen is every bit as stressed as you are. The dangers of stress are intergenerational and not restricted to any class, culture, or ethnic origin.

It’s a family affair

The ills of modern life and making a living are one thing, but as it turns out, we’re not bringing up stress-free young adults, either. Teens are under pressure. According to a study published by The American Psychological Association earlier this year, teens are just as stressed as adults and report even higher stress levels during the school year.

From LATimes.com:

“In an online survey of 1,018 teens and 1,950 adults conducted in August, the average stress level reported by teens during the school year was 5.8 on a 10-point scale where 1 is least stressed and 10 is most stressed. Adults reported an average stress level of 5.1.

Teens were a bit more relaxed in the summer, though, when their reported stress level fell to 4.1.”

While stress among teens is prevalent, it does affect certain teen groups more adversely than others. According to the study, teen girls are more stressed than teen boys, on the whole (5.1 to 4.1). Also, overweight kids are more stressed than normal-weight kids (5.2 to 4.4).

It’s fair to wonder if teens are as stressed or more stressed than we are now, how are they going to fare when they get further into adulthood? Did we start out as stressed as they are going to start out? Is that an advantage at all, to be accustomed to stress … or is it more likely going to lead to more stress-related illnesses as they advance in age?

Stress relief

No matter what our age, we need to effectively and healthfully deal with stress. Escapism and exercise are the two main ways most teens and adults deal with daily stress. According to the study, teens that exercised at least once a week reported lower stress levels than peers that exercised less often.

Many teens and adults turn to video games, the Web and social media / mobile communication to deal with stress. For some, it’s a lifeline to sanity. For others, it’s a highway to more stress: bad news, cyber bullying, hyperstimulation and more demands on time already stretched too thin.

WiseTribers know the realities of dealing with stress in their lives. What techniques do you use to effectively deal with stress that you can model for younger generations?


Julian Rogers is a writer, editor, community manager, and marketing communications consultant for high-achieving businesses. He is the senior communications consultant for Juju Eye Communications. Find out what he’s thinking about on his blog: mrturophile.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.