Definition of Stress
Stress in children and adolescents is common these days. There are many causes of stress in children. Stress can cause a physical, emotional, or psychological reaction among children and teens. The children in primary as well as high school face a lot of stress levels due to the expectations and stringent requirements at all levels of education. Therefore, stress affects performance in tests, participation in classes, and the well-being of children and adolescents. Stress in children and teens creates anxiety and fatigue. Stress in children affects their health, happiness and development in the short as well as in long run. Children and teens need to cope with worries and nervousness. Let us dive into the discussion about stress in children, causes of stress at primary, high, and college levels, and stress management tips:
What are the Causes of Stress and Anxiety at the Primary/Elementary School?
Distress and Stress at Primary Level are quite different from adults. Children can also learn to come out of anxiety-like adults. Have you ever thought of the real indication of stress among children and teens? Are the children responsible for their trauma? Are parents responsible for their children’s stress and omen?
- Generally, it has been found that the major trait of stress among children is due to their parent’s behavior. They don’t care about their children’s worries and pressure. They increase strain among children. We have come to know in our experience that parents generally fight with each other at home. Children get pressure due to their behavior and sometimes, they are always afraid of their parents and they don’t share their trauma with their parents.
- Stress due to Economic and Social: It also plays an important role in stress development among kids.
- Stress due to Family discord or divorce: Family members are also responsible for children’s stress. They don’t care about children’s feelings that they need both parents.
- Nuclear family is also the main feature of stress among children. We know that in nuclear families, the family unit is very small and the children’s problems are not solved as parents are unable to spare time for them. The family members don’t have time to play with them due to their busy schedules.
- School and Teachers are also responsible for childhood stress up to some extent as they don’t understand the individual aspirations.
- Children are distressed due to changes in the school. They feel alienated in the new atmosphere and sometimes, they are offended by the healthy or bullies children.
- Upcoming exams stress: Many students have exams phobia and they are worried worry about getting a good grade. They don’t sleep during the whole night and they started worrying about exams and develop anxiety and stress.
What are the Signs of Stress at the High School Level?
Earlier in eighty’s, the school was never considered a stressful environment creator for students. Students were happy and used to doing physical activities by playing games and there were fewer tensions in their careers. But nowadays, academics have become one of the stressors for students. Brand and Schoonheim-Klein(2009) explained that stress among students is multifactorial, arising from both academic and non-academic factors, including socio-cultural, environmental, and psychological attributes.
Following are the manifestations which increase the stress level among students at the high school level:
- Poor academic levels increase pressure and develop stress among students at the high school level
- Burdon of the long syllabus is also responsible for stressors for students.
- Indifferent attitudes of teachers in solving the problem of students also help in increasing students’ trauma.
- Burdon of homework increases stress levels and the parents are not able to help their children with their homework due to their poor academic level.
- Foreign language, the main cause of stress like English, becomes Burdon for many students. They are never comfortable learning a foreign language due to family and socioeconomic background.
- Tension of choosing a career after high school level increases the suffering level among young children.
- Nervousness of admission after school is also responsible for stress among teens.
- Medium instruction at the college level also enhances the stress level among students.
Stress is part of our life, and college students are certainly no exception. Many college students report dealing with varying levels of stress throughout college for several different reasons. The American Psychological Association reports that 45% of students seeking help in college are doing so because of stress. Anxiety and depression are also among the top reasons and often are related to their stressors. Below you’ll find causes of stress in college:
- Time Management Stress, time management is the most important part of everything. It needs to be learned. With effective time management, you can take control of your time and get on top of your to-do list.
- Anticipatory Stress. As anticipatory stress is future based. Anticipation is very important in future planning. Use positive visualization techniques to imagine the situation going right.
- Situational Stress is a short-term form of stress that occurs in certain temporary situations. Worry, stress, or concern begins to overwhelm the individual until the problem goes away. Situational stress can cause temporary physical symptoms
- Encounter Stress revolves around people. You experience encounter stress when you worry about interacting with a certain person or group of people. You may not like them, find them difficult to communicate with, or worry that they’re unpredictable.
- Financial Stress is the biggest stress that everyone faces in life and it needs to be planned properly.
- Job Outlook Stress Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with co-workers or bosses.
- Academic Stress
- Family Stress:
- Peer pressure is one of these stressors. Students can face peer pressure multiple times throughout any single day in college. In each class, in the cafeteria, and in the dorm room, they talk to others who pressure them to skip their responsibilities to attend a party, concert, or other activity.
- Usage of Drugs and Alcohol. These activities can lead to poor decisions with dangerous consequences, like sexual assaults.
- Other stressors include being homesick, academic or personal competition, personal pressure to do well, social anxieties, and heavy workloads.
How can we recognize the signs of stress?
There can be different signs of stress and anxiety in students which are obstacles to excelling in schools:
- Irritation and anger: Generally, we don’t have words when we are in anger and we get irritated. We lose our temper. It is natural for kids also that they are without words when they are in anger.
- Behavioral Change: A child who used to be calm and patient suddenly loses his patience and starts behaving differently. It means that something might have happened with the young child. Sudden changes in attitude and behavior mean the child is under some stress.
- Change in sleeping patterns: A child’s sleeping pattern is changed. We must decide that something is wrong with the child or student. There is an imbalance in sleep patterns. Sometimes a child sleeps for a long time. Unable to sleep during the night is a symptom of stress.
- Behaving irresponsibly: A student sometimes starts behaving indifferently. It means there is something wrong with him. Stress might have been a factor.
- Change in eating pattern: Eating is another factor that can help us to decide about stress means too much eating or less eating is both the symptom of stress.
- A child feels sick more often: When a child becomes sick regularly, like headache, fever, and vomiting. These are physical symptoms of stress.
Low energy: Low energy is a symptom of stress
Aches, pains, and tense muscles are an indication of anxiety, stress, and fatigue
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat are signs of stress
Frequent colds and infections are signs of frustration and stress
Anxiety and Stress bring Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ears, and cold or sweaty hands and feet
Dry mouth and a hard time swallowing
Top 11 Stress and Nervousness Management Techniques for Children and Teens in Schools and Colleges
The followings are some tips for stress management for children and students:
1. Get Proper Sleep
When we sleep well, we are completely relaxed. Sleep is necessary for physical and emotional well-being. It is generally recommended nine to 12 hours of sleep a night for 6- to 12-year-olds. Teens need eight to 10 hours a night. Sleep is the best way to keep stress and nervousness away. Switch off all the lights so that the child can sleep well.
Exercise is most important to keep us healthy. We get tired after exercise and feel relaxed. Let the children play to divert their attention. Regular sports activities are essential for stress management. Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.
3. Don’t Be Silent, Share Your Problem to come out of trauma
Ask your children to share the problem instead of keeping quiet.
Many lay awake at night due to stress and worries. And to get relief from this stress, people are searching for newer ways like calming teas, sound therapy, and spa treatments. However, one of the best ways to beat the stress and nervousness is not new, but rather an ancient practice:
Yoga. Practicing yoga lowers your blood pressure and relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is not only a great stress reliever but is also effective in releasing physical tension. Do yoga with your children to keep the stress away. It’s morning time and let us roll out our yoga mat and discover the combination of physical and mental exercises which will help to reduce stress.
5. Meditation Makes you calm and strong
Students find themselves completely busy in campus life, from classes and exams to the requisite parties, and they may feel like they have no time for themselves. The intense rhythm of college activities can be relentless; as a result, many students suffer from stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. A reasonable amount of stress is healthy – it prompts us into action and helps us achieve our goals.
Too much trauma, on the other hand, is extremely unhealthy. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and do nothing for a minute or so. Thoughts will come and that is okay. It is natural to have thoughts during meditation. After a minute or so, in the same natural way that thoughts come, and without moving your tongue or lips, quietly inside start saying your mantra. The meditation will help in reducing anxiety and nervousness among teens and adolescents.
6. If You Can’t Say, Write It, to get relieved from distress and suffering
Ask your children to write if they can’t express their problems. Some research has found, for example, that writing about positive feelings—such as the things you’re grateful for or proud of — can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
7. Listening to Music can dilute anxiety and stress in children and adults
Music can help you to relieve stress and calm yourself down or stimulate your mind as your situation warrants. Students can listen to music to get relief from stress. Music has been widely studied and revered throughout human history for its ability to both entertain and heal. Countless experts have investigated how listening to music can potentially have therapeutic effects on a range of mental and physical health conditions, or just as a way to cope with everyday life.
8. Always Eat Stress-Busting Foods
A healthy diet keeps your child fresh. Diet can boost your brainpower and help you to sleep well Foods can help tame stress in several ways. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time. A healthy diet can help counter the impact of stress by shoring up the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
9. Talk to a friend will act as Catharsis of stress
A discussion with a friend about a problem you are facing might spark a moment of insight in which you can see how an event from earlier in your life might be contributing to your current patterns of behavior. Our problems become bigger than they need to be when they are living inside our heads and we don’t share them with friends. When we are feeling stressed, let us talk to our friends and feel light. We might get better solutions. Try to reframe your problems to manage them in a better way.
10. Participate in Cultural and Entertaining Activities will dilute your tension
A good laugh can be a great stress reliever. Planting a garden will give you relief from stress. Do some artwork.
11. The Right Trip To Natural Places will change the mood
Are you feeling stressed? The right trip might just do the trick. If you’re looking to destress, then hopping on a plane and taking a trip may help your mind escape and allow you to unwind. Try to visit farms, mountains, and fountains to act as catharsis.
Parents, Teachers, and Psychologists Are The Best Stress Managers
Parents, Teachers, and Psychologists are the best stress reliever for students or teens if they are gripped by the stress. They can help children by providing them the tips to eradicate stress. Their tips and strategies for stress management will help them to excel in life. Let us discuss their roles in managing stress:
Parents’ Role in Stress Management
- Developing Healthy Atmosphere at Home. Parents play an important role in keeping their kids away from stress, anxiety, and fear. They should not fight with each other as it adversely affects the kids. They start feeling isolated.
- Allow your kid to solve a small problem with a free mind. This way, they become confident and start taking their own decision. I have been confronted with many parents who always interfered in their children’s choice of courses and careers. Such children always seek their parents’ advice and never become independent. This type of interference creates stress among children or adults.
- Helping kids in using social media. Parents should advise their kids about the use of social media and help them become savvy digital consumers. They should limit their screen time.
- Play with your kids to keep them healthy and mentally fit.
- Try to involve them in their homework.
- Take your kids out to have social interaction.
Teachers’ Role In Stress and Trauma Management of Students
The followings are the suggestions on how teachers can help their students cope with stress:
- Help the Students to understand what stress is and how to manage it
The teacher should teach their students to learn to cope with the stress. Teach them how to recognize the stress
- Act as a friend so that they can trust and rely on
A good teacher should always develop good relations with students and behave like a friend. This will create a positive atmosphere in the classroom. Therefore, in such an atmosphere, there will be no stress.
- Always acknowledge the student’s efforts
We, as a teacher, should always appreciate the student’s efforts and give them credit by some incentives like good grades in internal examinations. Such methods always encourage students to take initiative.
- Always try to look after individual requirements
A good teacher always helps the students to come out of stressful situations.
- Try to create a light atmosphere in the classroom
Allow the students to laugh in the classroom as laughter releases dopamine which reduces stress and increases memory (Mayo Clinic, 2016).
When one should get help for stress
You must consider getting help for stress and anxiety if:
1. Are you still struggling to cope with stress and anxiety?
2. You are trying for your child to cope with stress and things are not changing, then consult your doctor or psychologist
3. Your child’s stress is affecting your life or work then definitely approach the specialist
Psychologist’s Role in Stress Management of Students
Psychologists are experts in helping people manage stress and establish positive mental health habits. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of psychologists. In schools and colleges, there should be a psychologist to handle stress among students. Let us hope that there will be more psychologists in our schools and colleges. Awareness is required in society to understand different psychological problems among students. Generally, we as teachers don’t consider this topic seriously.
Thanks to Dr. Surjeet Singh, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Psychology, who assisted with this article.
A Word From ReadLearnExcel
We are just educators and we aim to spread the knowledge about stress and its effects on students at a different level. Having more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, I am just sharing my knowledge and experiences. Consult your Psychologist if your kid is behaving indifferently.
References: Thanks to the following websites for guidance