THE BEST TIME OF THEIR LIVES? NOT SO MUCH…

Move over, Millennials! A 2013 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that teenagers have now become the country’s most-stressed generation. While adults rate their stress level as a 5.1 out of 10, teenagers rate their stress levels at 5.8.

Over 1,000 teens participated in the study, which yielded some interesting (and worrying) results. 31% of the teens surveyed report feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress. Meanwhile, 30% say that they feel sad or depressed as a result of stress, and 36% report feeling tired or fatigued because of stress. Finally, 31% of the teens reported an increase in stress over the past year.

Norman B. Anderson, Vice President of the American Psychological Association, is concerned about the results. He says that it is troubling that teens experience stress at levels higher than adults, and that so many of them underestimate the effects of stress on their health. But he is optimistic about our ability to change things, saying we can “provide teens with better support and health education at school and home…”

So what can we do? First, we need to make sure that our teens are getting enough rest. Most reported getting only 7.5 hours of sleep on school nights, far less than the CDC-recommended 9 to 10 hours per night. Second, we should encourage more physical activity. One in five teens reports exercising less than once a week, if at all, but regular exercise can help relieve feelings of stress. Third, we need to be role models for our kids. By modeling healthy stress management behaviors (instead of bottling it all up and then exploding) we will teach them ways to deal with their own stress.  The more healthy behaviors they learn, the less stressed they’ll be. And that’s good for the entire family!

Image Credit: Love Krittaya