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Stress is everywhere, and it is most apparent in the eyes of today’s teens. In this day and age, it seems that teenagers are more likely to burn out than the average middle-aged adult. With jam-packed schedules, endless homework, part-time jobs and demanding social lives, it is easier than ever for stress to become a dominant force.

In fact, this stress can sometimes cause major reactions in young adults. Increased blood pressure, skin breakouts and reoccurring insomnia are just a few of the effects that stress can leave behind. But what causes stress, exactly?

Stress is defined as how one’s body reacts to change. This can be a change in a situation or feeling that causes a mental reaction. In most cases, people notice the physical changes before acknowledging the emotional problems. Physically, teens dealing with excessive stress seem nervous or shaky, and often have headaches.

But it’s what goes on inside that really makes the difference. Emotionally, teens can become careless and forgetful. In many cases, stressed out teens have a hard time concentrating because they simply have too much on their mind.

At this point, it is past the time to relax. The brain is feeling scattered and over-worked.

When a group of teenagers covering a wide age group were questioned, students found they were stressed about many of the same things, despite their age difference. The number one reason for being stressed in high school came out quickly: crucial exams.

When students attending Alabama high schools enter the ninth grade, teachers immediately begin preparing them for the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. The exam is taken starting in tenth grade, and is retaken each year until the student passes it. Each student must pass it in order to receive their diploma. As one may be able to tell, the exam is a crucial one.

After completing the grad exam, students must now focus on their ACT and SAT scores. These scores are taken very seriously during the college admission process. A low score can prevent acceptance to a good college, while a high score can mean instant access to scholarships.

Kati, a student at Pell City High School, said “It is scary knowing that one test could change so much for you. Just knowing how important it is can be enough to stress you out.”

The second most common stress provider? Students agreed it has to be a severe lack of time.

Whether it be time for friends, time to study, time to find a job or time to apply for college; there never seems to be enough of it. FamilyEducation.com says, “These teens are the first of the ‘over-programmed’ generation. If they aren’t taught time management as a child, it’s harder to acquire it later on.”

Teens expressed that it is easy to fall behind during a time when so much is expected of them. An eight-hour school day, a steady amount of homework and just one extracurricular activity can be overwhelming.

Throw in a part time job, a pending car payment and a sport or performing art of any kind and it seems nearly impossible for them to keep up.

Doctors recommend teens work in a short power-nap or perhaps take the time to re-prioritize their schedule. Life holds many opportunities, but it is key to remember that only so many can be accomplished at once.

Among the other things commonly associated with teen stress are family issues at home, the fight to maintain good grades, relationship problems and financial struggles.

Teenagers acquire stress by absorbing the situations that surround them. They unknowingly pick up the moods and emotions of those nearby, and develop a perspective based on how they perceive the situation. Peer pressure is an example of this.

But, while it’s true that they are influenced by their peers, they are also influenced by their immediate family. If a family is undergoing money problems, teenagers in the house are often keenly aware of it.

But more importantly, they sometimes feel it is their job to fix these problems. It is easy to see how the stress can develop here.

So the question is this: How does one deal with these problems at such a young age? It’s all about handling one issue at a time, and prioritizing according to what needs to be done.

Teenagers are dealing with issues that even full-grown adults have rarely faced, but like some adults, they rarely know how to handle them.

The most effective remedy for teens dealing with stress? Kelsey, a junior at Pell City High School said, “Everything is easier when you have someone to talk to. When I’m stressed, I just want to vent. Everyone needs someone that they can confide in. It gets the pressure off your chest.”

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