Stress: Change the Norm

Stress: Change the Norm

stressed woman 2by Kelsey Shipley

On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate your personal stress level? Recently the American Psychologist Association (APA) conducted their annual “Stress in America Survey.” On scale from 1- -10 parents rate their overall stress as a 5.7. A healthy stress level is a 3.7.

Is being stressed the new norm? What causes these stress levels to be so high? Does your reaction to stress affect your children?

According to a 2010 study also conducted by the APA, 73 percent of parents say that family responsibilities are a significant source of stress. In that same study, the APA found that over two-thirds of parents think that their stress level has little, or no impact on their children’s stress level.

However, only 14 percent of teenagers said that they were not bothered when their parents were stressed. This means that 86 percent of teens are worried and concerned when their parents are feeling stressed about work, finances, family obligations, etc.

What is stress exactly, and how does it affect you and your teenager? Stress is the body’s way of preparing itself for a challenge. Your teenager may be concerned about a test, a date, or their own participation in a family event. They may have an increase in blood pressure, faster heart rate, and have difficulty breathing.

Do your teenager’s symptoms sound familiar? Maybe you have had a similar reaction during a stressful situation lately. Children mimic our responses to various situations. How you handle stress will often be magnified in how your child will handle stress.

You are not a bad parent if you feel stressed. Stress is a normal reaction to a situation. It is how we handle that stress that matters. According to psychologists, there are various things you can do to help reduce your personal stress level.

  1. Talk about it.
  2. Learn to say no.
  3. Change one thing at a time
  4. Take care of yourself.
  5. Keep a stress diary

Looking at the study from the APA, there is a gap between how teenagers are feeling about their parents stress levels, and their parents abilities to disguise their stress.

By talking about your stress, changing one thing at a time, and taking care of yourself, you can gain control of your life. Take back your life, lower your stress level, and teach your children how to do the same. Stress is not the new norm.

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