Since 1992 April has been Stress Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Health Resource Network, Stress Awareness Month is a nationwide effort to educate people about the dangers of stress along with effective coping techniques. Stress affects everyone from time to time. While not all stress is bad, long-term stress can hurt one’s health. Over time constant strain on your body from chronic, routine stress can contribute to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and mental health conditions.
Not all fun and games
Classic movies about teenagers like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Grease portray adolescent life as carefree and fun. However, young people today lead lives that are terribly demanding and stressful. Academic expectations are greater than ever, resulting in hours of homework and studying each night. Youth sports foster a competitive environment that results in multiple practices each week in an effort to win instead of simply having fun while playing a game. Daily schedules are packed full of activities and events, leaving teenagers feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. In a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association, adolescents reported a higher stress level than adults during the school year. With unhealthy actions related to stress showing early in people’s lives, there is significant concern for the livelihood of young people today.
Journeying with teens
As adults who serve and care about teenagers, it is our role to walk with them through this stressful journey called life. It is important for us to listen carefully to the conversations we have with adolescents, particularly for signs of overload. We can talk with both parents and their children about setting healthy limits so schedules do not become a burden. We also need to be aware of our personal schedules so that we model a balanced life for those we serve. In a culture that is so focused on “doing,” our responsibility is to help teens focus on simply “being” who God has created them to be.
Question of the day: What causes stress in your everyday life?
Key scriptures: 2 Chronicles 33:1-13; Psalm 55; Philippians 4:4-9
For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.