Combatting Stress in Teens

The Problem

Many teens complain of feeling stressed out because of all the obligations in and outside of school- exams are coming up, assignments are due, and teens have lots of after school activities. Being stressed out is something that they will be forced to deal with while they are in school, and even once they are out of school. The good news is that there are ways to deal with stress.

Coping Strategies

Exercise is a great way to deal with stress.

It is an easy way to reduce tension in a healthy way. Exercise does not have to be performed in the weight room or on a treadmill either.

Teens can play hoops with a friend, go for a hike, play a game of tennis, or dance to some music. These are all effective physical activities. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are the body’s own “feel good” chemicals to counteract stress.


Be sure your teen makes time to get enough sleep.

When we do not get enough sleep, levels of cortisol in our body rise. Cortisol is the “stress hormone.” High levels of cortisol have been associated with inability to focus, feelings of fatigue, and even a number of health related issues.

Getting enough sleep can be particularly difficult to do because of exams, social events, and a million other things that keep them occupied. However, if they wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, it is like setting the body’s internal clock. They may notice they get a more restful sleep, and fall asleep and wake up more easily than previously.


Encourage your teen to talk with someone.

Talking with someone can be a wonderful way to deal with stress, as well. They can talk with you, a friend, a teacher they trust, their doctor or other family members.

If things get really stressful, it may be useful to speak with a professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or guidance counselor. Although they may not think about it, you can remind them that there are plenty of people who went through what they are currently going through, who are willing to listen and tell them what helped them at that time.


Suggest keeping a journal.

Writing down their feelings may help them to be in touch with core issues. They may find they are surprised by what they write. This exercise also offers an emotional release.


Make a “Gratitude” list.

Help them to focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Being a student is extremely stressful, but still exciting. The stress can be eased by noting positive moments in each day. You can model this optimistic view by making it a family activity.


Michael A. Speesler, D.C.
ActiveCare Rehabilitation & Chiropractic, P.C.
101 Old York Rd, Ste 200
Jenkintown, PA 19046
215-887-5400 office



For more information about raising a teen, check out the following books. Purchasing from through our website supports the work we do to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children.

Yes, Your Teen is Crazy by Bradley Uncommon Sense for Parents of Teenagers by Riera The Roller Coaster Years by Giannetti and Sagarese The Second Family by Taffel Crossing Paths by Steinberg How to Hug a Porcupine - Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years by Ross You and Your Adolescent by Steinberg
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