By: Rivka Bennun, Shulamith High School for Girls
Rivka Bennun is a fourteen year old freshman at Shulamith High School for Girls in Cedarhurst, NY. She loves to read in her free time and play piano. She had to research something to write about for a class research project but also wanted to research something she was familiar with, as she definitely feels stressed on a day-to-day basis. Her is what she wrote...
Teens and adults deal with stress in many ways, such as escaping through work, school, and family, the National Institution of Mental Health says.
While reactions to stress are individually unique, there are general trends regarding how adults deal with stress and how teens do.
Often, teens complain that they are stressed or anxious. Sometimes, comments like these are cast aside by adults.
Teen stress stems from social and academic pressures, says Ms. Yaffa Goldsmith of Cedarhurst, NY. “I think kids have a lot on their plate,” she says. “They have a lot of academic and social demands, and I feel like they don’t have a lot of time to just be themselves.”
Ms. Goldsmith said that kids just need more time to themselves, and more time to focus on enjoying their youth.
Others agreed with the fact that teens have a lot of social demands. Ms. Leah Zami, a science teacher at Shulamith High School in Cedarhurst, NY, says that kids feel pressured from “their circle, their friends, their classmates.”
However, there is more than one component to teen stress; the second part of it is academic pressure. Ms. Zami says that the more a student cares about his or her work and their academics, the more stress the student will feel.
While kids certainly feel a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis, it is agreed by many, such as Meira Steiner, a freshman at SKA High School in Hewlett, NY, it is widely agreed that adult stress is a much bigger deal in general, as adults have bigger life decisions that they have to make.
“We get stressed about tests, but things adults get stressed about really truly could affect their lives,” Meira says. Adults have to deal with big stress every day, the kind of stress that could really affect one’s future, she said.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). It affects over forty million adults - which is approximately 18 percent of the population.
Steiner is not surprised by this. She claims that as the world progresses, people feel more and more stress because we are always moving ahead.
“The stressors for young people are often very high and we [adults] don't always remember how we felt at that age with school, social, and parental issues,” said Ms. Susan Gurley, the Executive Director of the ADAA. “We sometimes forget to listen to our children and discuss their feelings in an honest, non-judgmental, and direct fashion."
“One should always listen to one’s friends and if one is worried about any of them in any way, suggest that they seek help, and sometimes if one is very worried talk to an adult,” says Ms. Gurley. “And if as an individual you are not sure if you how you feel is ‘normal’ then it is equally important to talk to someone. It is never good to carry a feeling like this alone.”