Top 10 Stress Busters for Teens

Learn how to unwind and find "me" time.

Posted Nov 19, 2014

Today’s youth pack a lot into their busy schedule. Is it any wonder why approximately 8% of the adolescent population have an anxiety disorder? Stress can play a toll on a teens mental and physical health. And with semester coming to an end, tis the season of studying, projects, and exams. All of those things combined lead to more stress! Did you know teens are reporting levels of stress higher than adults report? Now that is cause for concern.

As teens feel the pressure to succeed in a nation that promotes competitiveness, they may be losing out on something very important…their childhood. Why are we pushing our youth so hard? Teens shouldn't be more stressed than adults. How can we teach them to cope? Below are ten tips for teens to help them deal with the everyday pressure of stress.

Top 10 Stress Busters for Teens:

#1 – Eat Healthy

If you truly want to reduce your stress levels, then you have to take care of yourself.  Begin by watching what you eat.  If you eat a lot of junk or even skip meals, then how on earth do you expect to perform your best? Just like a car needs good fuel to run your body also needs good fuel (nutrients) to run efficiently.

 #2 – Sleep

Your body needs rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation teens need between 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep. Don’t skip out on sleep because you have a lot to do. You will perform better if you get a good night’s rest. Sleep is your body’s automatic meditation mode. It helps you regroup and relax so you’ll be ready to tackle the next day’s tasks with a clearer mind.

 #3 – Get Moving

It’s not uncommon to get so bogged down that the last thing you want to do is get up and move. If you’re thinking “I don’t have time to exercise,” think again! A study recently published in the Journal of School Health shows that just two hours of extra exercise each week can improve your school performance. So not only is exercise good for you, but it can help your grades. Sounds like a win/win situation.

#4 – Me Time

Take some time out of your busy day and spend it with a very important person; yourself! You need time to relax and have fun. It's important to schedule some time into your busy day to do something you enjoy like:

  • seeing a movie
  • reading a book
  • going shopping
  • or hanging out with friends.

#5 – Friend Time

Don't give your friends the shaft when other things such as school, athletics, clubs, work, etc., consume your time. Friends serve an important role in helping you cope. Don't keep them out of your life because your busy. You need them.

#6 – Find Balance

Don’t take on more than you can accomplish at once. Find a way to balance all of the things that are on your plate. You can start by making a list and marking off anything that doesn’t need your immediate attention. Practice managing your time and prioritizing what needs to be done so that you can work smarter, not harder.

#7 – Go outside

How much time do you spend outside on a given day? If you said not much, then go outdoors! Research has shown that being outside improves your mood (which can improve your performance). Just a few extra minutes each day can make a big difference. 

#8 – Take a breath

One quick way to calm yourself quickly is to breathe. Oftentimes when you’re anxious you breathe from your chest rather than from your abdomen. When you breathe from your chest your breath is shallow and you don’t get the full benefit that a deep breath provides. Try this, lie on the floor and put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach; now take a breath like you normally would - do you feel your chest rise and fall or do you feel you abdomen inflate like a balloon? The goal is to have your abdomen inflate and deflate. Keep practicing taking deep, slow abdominal breaths. You should feel yourself start to relax.

#9 – Find Your Sense of Humor

Laughter is often the best medicine for a stressed out day. When you laugh your body begins to relax and release feel good endorphins. Laughter can also keep you healthy by boosting the immune system (something stress likes to suppress). So go ahead watch a funny show, or crack a joke with a friend and notice how a little laughter can change your entire mood.

#10 – Get Your Zen On

Get your “Zen” on and meditate. Meditation is a great way to melt the stress away. It’s simple! Try one of these exercises:

Exercise #1 - Focus on right now

 Go to a quiet place free from distractions.

 Find a piece of your favorite fruit.

 Use your 5 senses to study the fruit: feel the texture, smell it, hear what it sounds like when you take a bite and chew, and taste it. Pay special attention to only your senses.

 Can you silence everything else in that's going on in your life? Work hard to focus only on the here and now.

Exercise #2 - Imagery

Have you ever wanted to escape to a special place? Now is your chance. This is a quick meditative way to go any place in the world you want.

 Find a quiet, distraction-free place.

 Get in a comfortable position.

 Close your eyes

 Imagine going to that special place. It could be a place that you have vacationed, a relative’s home that holds positive memories, or a place that you’ve always wanted to visit.

Spend time letting your mind wander and pretend that you are on a vacation; a mental vacation. When you’re ready, open your eyes and return home. The cool thing about this technique is that you can do it anytime without even packing a suitcase! Meditating for just a few minutes a day can help you feel balanced, focused and in control.

Take some time each day and incorporate some of these stress busters into your life. Not only will you feel relaxed, you'll also feel more balanced and in control. To all of you stressed out teens, life’s too short to stress the small stuff, Carpe Diem!