What Causes Student Stress?
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With intense pressure to get into a good college, it is no surprise that student stress is on the rise.
Starting with the millennial generation and now Gen Z, college-bound students are feeling more and more pressure. Not only are students expected to achieve a high GPA, but now many strive to exceed a 4.0 to compete. Add the requisite sports, clubs, and volunteer work to “round out” their application, and the stress is off the charts.
School-related stress is the most often cited source of teen stress. Read on to learn more about the common sources of stress for students.
5 Causes of Student Stress
Each year, it seems the bar keeps being set a little bit higher for teens wanting to go to college. Whether it’s the workload itself, more test prep, testing, and extracurricular demands, teens are surely feeling the heat.
But it isn’t just the schoolwork that is causing high stress among students. There are other factors in the teen’s life that only add to the school stress. They might include:
- Packed schedules. The main cause for stressed out students is the heavy coursework they are taking on. Teens who want to get a jump on college may also sign up for extra classes, only adding to the burden. Too often, the teen takes on subjects that exceed their academic ability, causing added stress.
- Not enough sleep. Teens are glued to their smartphones, which can result in sleep deprivation. When the student doesn’t get enough sleep, they struggle to keep up in class or to do well on tests. This adds to their performance anxiety.
- Poor organization habits. Squeezing so many activities into the school week, it requires teens to have expert time management skills. Teens that aren’t organized suffer more stress because they miss important dates and deadlines.
- Not enough downtime. Teens today lack the balance they need in their lives. Each day is scheduled to the minute, leaving little time to just hang out and be. Without any downtime, the teen just feels overworked and stressed.
- Lack of support. Teens that need extra help for certain subjects may not be able to secure the added support. They may be struggling in a core class that can delay graduation if they don’t pass it. Without tutoring help, the teen will stress about how they can pass the class.
Signs of Student Stress
Teens don’t always communicate with their parents when they are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Many times, they show this emotional state in other ways. Here are some signs that a teen is under stress:
- Crying spells.
- Mood swings.
- Headaches and stomach distress.
- Voices concerns about getting into a good college.
- A decline in grades.
- Withdraws from friends and family.
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleep habits
- Decreased concentration.
- Signs of anxiety or depression.
- Negative attitude.
- Substance abuse.
Teens may resist talking about their fears and worries because they want to please their parents and make them proud. By complaining they may worry that their parents or friends would think they are weak and can’t handle school demands as other people can. But bottling up their emotions is just going to make things worse. If you notice these signs in your teen, begin a conversation with them. Just ask them how they are doing and whether they need anything, and let the teen share their feelings.
Coping Tools for Student Stress
There are some effective ways for teens to manage their student stress. By accessing these tools, they may be better equipped to overcome periods of peak stress:
Practice yoga. Getting into the routine of practicing yoga can help teen better manage their stress levels. Yoga classes may be available at school or the local gym and are also online for free.
Meet with a school counselor. Sitting down with a school counselor can help the student in many ways. They can review their academic track and determine if it may be too challenging for the teen. They can discuss whether they have taken on too many extracurricular activities.
Get better quality sleep. Making the commitment to getting more sleep means shutting down the electronics at a certain time, such as 9 pm. This eliminates a major disrupter of getting quality sleep. When a teen gets 8-9 solid hours of sleep, they will feel sharper and have more energy during the day.
Use time management apps. Getting organized is half the battle. Teens can access digital apps that help them better manage their time. Finding a time management method that works for them is key.
Getting Help for Teen Stress
Parents may become concerned when their teen seems so stressed that he or she may exhibit signs of a mental health issue. The first stop may be the school therapist, as they are familiar with student burnout and can offer counseling.
If counseling didn’t provide enough relief, the student should be seen by their doctor to have a full exam. There may be a health issue that is causing the distress. If no medical problem is present, the doctor is likely to refer the teen to a therapist. Outpatient therapy may be enough to guide the teen through a rough chapter.
However, if these interventions do not provide relief of symptoms, the teen would benefit from a residential mental health program. This setting is ideal for helping teens in crisis, including teens that are abusing substances as well. Residential programs can help teens that struggle with student stress. They also provide the students with tutors that help the teen keep up with their studies while in the program.
BNI Treatment Provides Treatment for Stressed Out Teens
BNI Treatment Centers is a mental health provider that caters to teens. BNI is a residential mental health treatment center designed to address teen-specific needs. BNI is owned and operated by two psychiatrists and offers a top-notch clinical staff and academic support. Call us today at (888) 522-1504.