Every day Wilson High School senior Victoria Leigh has a full plate. She gets to school at 7:30 am, attends classes, holds drama club meetings during lunch, continues on with classes and then attends an AP study session in anticipation of an upcoming final exam. When that’s over, she goes to work at a taco joint from 5pm to 9pm. When she gets home, she does whatever homework she has left, making sure to finish her English class project. She stays up at night thinking about her prom dress, requesting days off from work, making an appointment for her college placement test and squeezing in a meeting with her college counselor.
While many adults remember high school as time of carefree fun, the reality is for many teens, like Victoria, it’s just really stressful.
American teenagers are now the most stressed-out age group in the U.S., according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association.
Technology and social media coupled with the pressure to do well in school in a challenged economy, it’s no wonder teens are getting stressed out. The average teen consumes an average of 7.5 hours of media a day, all the while worrying about college, AP tests, and finding a date to prom.
How does stress affect people? One of the number one causes of depression is stress.
Wilson High School math and music teacher Davina Keiser remembers a student in her class who attempted suicide after she fell into a downward spiral of stress and depression. The stress of preparing for college added to problems in her social life and the combination of the two was just too overwhelming for the student to handle.
For most young Americans, stress has already become a fact of daily life, setting the stage early for unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices that may increase the risk of developing stress-related health problems down the road. Chronic stress can manifest physically in the muscles, the heart and in the nervous system. It can also lead to bad eating habits.
In the video above, VoiceWaves spoke to teens about how stress affects them and what they do to relieve themselves of it.