Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. Stress is a fact of life for most teens, and it affects everyone differently. What causes stress for you may not be stressful for someone else.
A lot of things can cause stress. You may feel stress when you take a test, do a class presentation, or prepare for a sports event. This kind of short-term stress is normal and even useful. It can help you if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, stress can help you finish an important job on time.
Stress also can last a long time. Long-term stress is caused by stressful situations or events. Examples of long-term stress may include pushing yourself to do well in school, feeling bad about your body or yourself, or having problems with your parents or family. Long-term stress can harm your health.
Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach before taking a test? Or felt your heart speed up when a teacher asked you a question you couldn't answer? These are symptoms of stress.
When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. This is called the fight-or-flight stress response. If the stress is over quickly, your body goes back to normal and no harm is done.
But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. Long-term stress can make you more likely to get sick, and it can make symptoms of some diseases worse. If you tense up when you are stressed, you may develop neck, shoulder, or low back pain. And stress is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress also can change how you behave. You might feel cranky and get upset at small problems or get angry and yell at others. Stress might make it hard to focus on your schoolwork. Stress also can make you worry a lot or think that bad things are going to happen to you.
How to relax your mind
How to relax your body
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Current as of: October 10, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David A. Brent, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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