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Stress Management

Stress and Youth

​​​​Stress can affect how people feel physically and mentally. It’s important for everyone to know what causes them stress and how to manage it. Knowing how you feel and how your body reacts can help you learn about what things cause you stress. Feelings or symptoms can be physical and mental. You might often have physical symptoms first, but it’s just as important to be aware of mental and emotional symptoms.

Youth have many stressors. Everyone is different, so what is stressful for one person may not be for another.

What are some common causes of stress in youth?

  • time pressures
  • cultural differences
  • having financial difficulties 
  • more responsibility
  • sexual identity
  • sexual orientation
  • aggression or violence
  • divorce or separation
  • worrying about the future
  • bullying and abuse
  • parents losing their jobs
  • relationships with parents
  • homework deadlines and tests
  • pleasing parents, teachers, and friends
  • relationships and dating
  • how they look and self-esteem
  • death or illness in the family
  • friends, peer pressure, and teasing
  • not understanding why they feel the way they do
  • not understanding how puberty changes the way you think and how your body changes

What are some signs of stress?

Physical signs of stress may include:

  • sweating
  • headaches
  • trouble breathing
  • feeling unwell
  • nausea or upset stomach (indigestion)
  • feeling very tired or exhausted
  • increased heart rate
  • body aches and tense muscles

Mental signs of stress may include:

  • trouble thinking clearly
  • being forgetful
  • can’t make decisions
  • memory loss
  • constant worry
  • thoughts of running away

Emotional signs of stress may include:

  • feeling overly emotional or having trouble controlling emotions
  • anger
  • feeling irritable or overwhelmed, having no motivation
  • depression or anxiety

How can I tell if someone is stressed?

When someone is stressed, you might notice these behaviours:​

  • alcohol abuse
  • smoking a lot
  • constant gum chewing
  • grinding teeth or biting fingernails
  • overeating or not eating
  • being very critical of other people
  • lots of time in front of the TV, computer, or video games
  • can’t get things done
  • taking risks that can have negative consequences
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • arguing
  • avoiding things
  • isolating themselves

Issues and challenges can be overwhelming when you feel alone. If you need to talk to someone, find a crisis centre in your area or call the Kids Help Phone​.​​

Current as of: March 30, 2020

Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services