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Are today’s teens experiencing more anxiety and stress than ever before?


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By SOREN LUTHER
The Mirror reporter

According to neaToday, in 2016 the National College Health Assessment found that “nearly two-thirds of college students reported ‘overwhelming anxiety,’ up from 50 percent just five years earlier.” Stress and anxiety in school have always existed, but in current years, has it become too much?

Stress is defined as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation,” according to Merriam Webster, while anxiety is defined as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure,” according to the American Psychology Association.

The difference between stress and anxiety is not always easy to distinguish, according to Learn Psychology. Certain characteristics can be present in both anxiety and stress. Although stress and anxiety are similar, stress can be identified as a reaction to a current event, while anxiety usually consists of worrisome thoughts about an event that, according to Learn Psychology, “may or may not happen in the future.”

School is one of the biggest impactors on a young person’s mood. For this reason, it is not surprising that most people, at some time or another, have experienced stress or anxiety in school. Many things in school can lead to stress and anxiety such as too much school work, not enough free time, and too much pressure from teachers and parents.

Two main causes of anxiety, according to neaToday, include social media and school testing.

Social media has greatly increased depression and suicide rates. For more information on technology dependency and addiction, visit the “Tech Addiction” article found on The Mirror.

The No Child Left Behind federal law mandated that there would be standardized testing for public schools. This law limited activities such as recess and physical education in kindergarten and increased studying habits among children. Many students, later on, feel pressure from their parents and from the school system, which leads to increased stress and anxiety.

While stress and anxiety are both intertwined and connected, there are definitely certain coping mechanisms associated with both.

When an individual experiences anxiety or stress, they may turn to unhealthy coping strategies. Strategies that are unhealthy and that should not be used include getting involved with drugs and alcohol. Someone who is feeling stressed should not turn to these substances because they will only make the situation worse in the long run.

Although there are many negative ways to deal with anxiety and stress, there are also many positive and healthy ways.

Stress toys found in the counseling office at SPASH (Soren Luther Photo).

“All the counselors in the counseling office are happy to help. We always advocate talking to friends, communicating with parents, [and] communicating with people that you trust about how you’re feeling,” SPASH school counselor Jenessa Reid said. “If the anxiety and stress [is] becoming super unmanageable we encourage students to consider looking at counseling whether that’s at school or looking outside of school….”

11 Comments

11 Responses to “Are today’s teens experiencing more anxiety and stress than ever before?”

  1. Hlee on January 9th, 2019 12:05 PM

    I feel like there’s always gonna be a lot of stress when it comes to schoolwork and especially more if you get pressure from parents and society, which most students do. Two of my coping mechanisms for school stress are reading and watching anime, which is really helpful. Reading novels/mangas and watching anime takes me away from the stress and gives me a cool down.

  2. Bryant VanRossem on January 10th, 2019 10:53 AM

    Nice job on your article. It was a really good story to write about with the rates of stress and anxiety rising more and more. Good job!

  3. Willow Kluck on January 10th, 2019 11:00 AM

    Great job with the article! Stress and anxiety are one of the hardest things throughout anyone’s school years. It is great how you talked to a counselor about it. You also did a lot of research on the topic. Keep up the outstanding work! I can not wait to read your next article!

  4. Rachel Placeway on January 10th, 2019 11:00 AM

    I liked how you added quotes from a counselor. I think it shows that there is a lot of help students that are stressed or are experiencing more anxiety that there is a place for them to go to receive the help they need. Great article!

  5. Justice Chukwuemeka on January 10th, 2019 11:12 AM

    I love how you linked your previous article for more information, amazing!!. Anxiety and stress are real. I have heard and read from multiple sources about stress. I do not know if I have ever felt stressed because of school-work, but I know that sometimes I lose interest in fun activities. I don’t know the reason though. Anyway, your article is superb!!.

  6. Madison Rindahl on January 10th, 2019 3:33 PM

    I think that is so true. There is always something to be worried about in school but also in our daily life as well. I know how horrible it is to have anxiety and I think it is important for people to understand the difference. This article is great and really touches a subject worth talking about.

  7. Maryann Silva on January 11th, 2019 8:38 AM

    Stress and anxiety is such a major thing within students. I’m really not surprised that the two major causes are social media and school testing. Great job on this Soren.

  8. Aiden Price on January 11th, 2019 10:48 AM

    it’s very true, it feels like everyone in this school has at least once had stress and anxiety take them over. I know it hurt me, but this article is very informative on what to do if it takes you over.

  9. BaileyNagorski on January 22nd, 2019 2:32 PM

    You did a good job introducing the topic and giving examples of how anxiety has changed over the years. I feel like I can agree with the main idea of the article, I feel like anxiety amongst teens is increasing and has increased over the years.

  10. Liam Glenno on January 22nd, 2019 2:38 PM

    Mental Health is certainty an issue with today’s youth. The rigor and pace of college makes maintaining a positive attitude and good mental health difficult, and should be addressed.

  11. Nick Peotter on January 22nd, 2019 2:50 PM

    I don’t think tests are that stressful. The way I look at it, I’ll study a bunch the night before and if I know I know it, if I don’t I don’t. Homework is what really gets me going sometimes. I got through semesters though so I’m happy.

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Are today’s teens experiencing more anxiety and stress than ever before?