Insights Into Teens: Episode 4 “Stress”

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Madison and Joe discuss what stress is, some of the common things causing stress with teens today, the signs of stress and some techniques for how to deal with stress. We learn that some of the symptoms of stress also are some of the same signs as depression and how one can lead to the other.

Insights Into Teens

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:10Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison, Waylon, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 2:0:39Welcome to insights into teens episode for stress. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon with my cohost Madison Waylon. Thanks for having me. Today. We are going to be talking about stress, what causes it or the symptoms are, and some techniques on how to possibly deal with it moving forward. Okay, so first of all, let’s start off by defining stress. So this comes from an online website called kids’ cottage.com. It says, stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental, or emotional adjustment or response. Therefore, stress is part of all our daily lives in and of itself. Stress is not a, not a bad thing. In fact, when human beings react to stress by correctly identifying problems and implementing sound problem solving techniques, in other words, managing stress, it can be credited with motivating the human body toward equilibrium.

Speaker 3:1:48Okay,

Speaker 2:1:49let me start off by asking, do you get stressed?

Speaker 4:1:52Yes. Multiple Times a day or pretty much everyday I have something either big going on or I use something that I don’t really enjoy.

Speaker 2:2:04Um, why do you find those things stressful?

Speaker 4:2:09Well, the main thing, I’m fine. Stressful. Those of course school, which I’ve told you about multiple times and stress at school for me is cause by the amount of work that has added on to my daily, my daily life and, and such for such little time, I’m able to have it done.

Speaker 2:2:35Okay. That’s certainly a valid source of stress.

Speaker 3:2:42Yeah.

Speaker 2:2:43So in preparation for today’s podcast, I do go out and do a little bit of research and I found a survey from February of 2018 from a new site called globe newswire.com and it is two questions. One, how often straight is teens are stressed out. And the second one asks, what stresses you out most? No, I don’t know if this lens, any consolation whatsoever, but according to the survey, 45% of the teens that were polled said that they are stressed out all the time. Now, do you think you’re stressed out all the time?

Speaker 4:3:25Well, I’d say most of the time I am stressed out over certain things.

Speaker 2:3:32Well and, and you know, dropping down in the survey, 36% of those polled said that sometimes you’re stressed out clearly what those people that were polled, there’s a lot of stress. A lot of the time we don’t get down too low numbers until we hit around 12% where they think they’re rarely stressed out. I think it’s safe to say based on your experience and based on this study that teens are stressed out quite frequently. Uh, I think it’s also important to then look at the second part of that poll and see what stresses teens out. Okay.

Speaker 3:4:17Okay.

Speaker 2:4:18The number one stressor for teens in this poll was relationships at 27% now that it can be relationships with family members, with friends, with peers and so forth, how much of a dress do you think relationships are for you?

Speaker 4:4:37I think the main thing that would stress me out with relationships would be with my classmates.

Speaker 2:4:43And do you think that’s a major contributor to your stress?

Speaker 4:4:46No, really. I mean it’s not that big of a deal, but sometimes I get stressed out around them normally when they act up.

Speaker 2:4:56Okay. So the second thing in this poll for sources of stress were teachers at 24% do you, do you get stressed out by your teachers?

Speaker 4:5:05Sometimes when they warn us about how, how tough middle school’s going to get when I get there.

Speaker 2:5:11So it’s, it’s induced stress just by, you know, kind of psyching you up to deal with the new things that are coming it sounds like pretty much. So the next one in line was at 21% one was other. So that’s basically everything else that you deal with. Um, the next named Juan was parents at 13% of your parents’ stress you out. And you can be honest, I know you’re on a podcast here with your father, but be honest, do mommy and daddy stress you out sometimes? And give me an instance of, of when we stress you out, is it when we ask you to do stuff around the house, is it when we tell you you need to eat your vegetables? Is it when we tell you stop playing on your phone? Like what stresses you out from us?

Speaker 4:5:53Well, pretty much that those things only makes me a little angry. But the only thing that would really stressed that gives me the most stressed out of all those things is basically when I have to do the work, when I have to like do the work. But

Speaker 2:6:05what were

Speaker 4:6:07like, you know, you know, like my chores, like

Speaker 2:6:11no, the chores that you get paid quite handsomely to do. You mean Danny? Yeah. So why does it stress you out? I mean the chores, let’s, let’s, you know, just put it out there for the audience are the chores that you do are you have to clean one bathroom, you have to do the laundry, you have to vacuum one or two rooms and you have to empty trash, all of which will take laundry out of there. Cause there’s just time induced, uh, issues with laundry. But all that takes you basically less than a half hour to do.

Speaker 4:6:41Yes. Well, except for laundry of course. Right, right.

Speaker 2:6:44Well, I mean laundry, you have to wait for the machines that do the actual work. But all you’re doing is flipping laundry and you know, putting new loads in point. So you’re looking at about a half hour worth of work and you find that stressful.

Speaker 4:6:55No, I don’t find it stressful in any way like that. I mean the work isn’t that hard. It’s not that kind of stress. It’s like since I have to bring homework home and always stresses me out cause I’m getting stressed on this, I have a project, I always get stressed out like that one time I really got stressed out when I had two projects I was doing.

Speaker 2:7:14Correct. Correct. And, and, and that’s,

Speaker 4:7:17and normally I always have a project. So,

Speaker 2:7:20and you will, and you’re going to continue to happen. So what did what it is, and we’ll talk about this in a minute, what it is, is learning how to deal with these learning how to prioritize, learning how to categorize them. We’ll talk about what the causes of stress are. Okay. So some of the most common causes of stress, and this is top of the list here, a schoolwork, schoolwork clearly is one of your stressors. Another one is changes in body or where your weight, like people, you know, they’re concerned about their outward appearance. In the case of going through puberty, there’s clear body changes that are going on. The tends to stress you out. Do you get pimples, you know, was your hair messed up? No. Stuff like that.

Speaker 4:8:11Honestly, the only thing I would really care about is just my hair.

Speaker 2:8:15And you’ve got a lot of hair. I mean you’ve, you’re hair is very high maintenance because of how long it is, you know, and learning kind of care for a properly would be certainly a bonus. Yeah. The third one that they have in the last tier is relationships, problems with friends or other relationships.

Speaker 4:8:32Uh, yeah, I have problems with more friends, but normally it’s just one, I get aggravated and I just yell at them for some stupid reason.

Speaker 2:8:45The issues that you have in relationships, are they causing stress for the, the result of stress from other factors?

Speaker 4:8:53I think it’s more a result of stress. Okay.

Speaker 2:8:57Okay. Uh, the next one in line, and I’m not going to go down the whole list, but it’s being bullied. No. Do you feel that you’re bullied at school at all? Nope. Okay. Well that’s important. Uh, you don’t live in a dangerous neighborhood. Uh, do you feel you’re getting pure pressure to dress or act a certain way or pressured a smoke or drink or do drugs? Nope. Okay. So that’s not an issue. Do you feel like you don’t fit in sometimes. So let’s talk about that from an gimme, a gimme, an instance or a circumstance where you don’t feel like you fit in.

Speaker 4:9:32Uh, normally a gym class. Okay. It’s not that big of a deal. I mean, I think others more problems where I think I don’t fit in that our baker then in my class.

Speaker 2:9:45Okay. Uh, desire to please your parents or other important adults. Do you feel like Mommy and daddy put a lot of pressure on you? No. Okay, good. Cause we try not to a six family members, not an issue. Changing schools conflict at home. Do do you or do your parents have lots of fights?

Speaker 4:10:09Not really. No,

Speaker 2:10:10not really. No. Okay. That’s good. Especially since I’m one of your parents try not to fight. Yeah. Um, do you think you take on too many activities at once?

Speaker 4:10:21MMM.

Speaker 2:10:22Not School related activities, but any personal projects or chores or jobs or stuff like that?

Speaker 4:10:29Well, if I ever have a lot going on on the weekend, that’s sometimes how I feel on it. But if it’s stuff I will enjoy then I wouldn’t be that big on it.

Speaker 2:10:40So when you say a lot going on during the week, you don’t mean like last weekend when we were coming home from Disney we had another day in Disney. You don’t mean this weekend when we’re going to Dave and busters?

Speaker 4:10:51No, nobody goes well like if something was going on for um, you guys normally like,

Speaker 2:11:02like going to a barbecue for a friend or you know, going grocery shopping,

Speaker 4:11:08new going on. Like if we were to bring something new that would normally make me feel like I took on too many activities, but if it was just stuff I would enjoy, I would have a completely different view of it.

Speaker 2:11:19So as long as you get to enjoy everything you do on the weekend, you’re fine is what you’re saying.

Speaker 4:11:24Well, I don’t enjoy anytime at school. So the weekends are basically the only time I have to really enjoy stuff.

Speaker 2:11:30Well, would you don’t enjoy time at school? We have to work on that because that should be an enjoyable time for you. We really enjoy school. When did that happen? It’s not that unusual to enjoy school if they, if you have a good lake. Last year when you had mr t as a teacher, you enjoyed school.

Speaker 4:11:49Yeah. But no, I don’t enjoy school whatsoever.

Speaker 2:11:52Well it might just be your outlook. So,

Speaker 3:12:01okay,

Speaker 2:12:02so we talked about the things that can cause stress. Let’s talk about the signs of stress. Here’s some of the signs and I, and one of the things that I think is important in talking about the signs of stress is understanding how they’re similar to where we talked about the signs and symptoms of depression, feeling down or tired. We talked about that a few weeks ago during our depression podcast. You feel that feeling angry or edgy. We know. You feel that from time to time feeling sad or worried. We know you feel that from time to time, uh, having trouble concentrating. I don’t think we’ve talked about that before. Do you have trouble concentrating in school? I mean you’re bringing home straight A’s so it’s, it’s hard for me to, to believe that you’re having real trouble concentrating if you’re bringing home straight A’s every marking period. Well when they have to bring home homework is basically because I couldn’t talk concentrate.

Speaker 2:13:06But that’s because of outside distractions. That’s different. This is, you’re sitting down to do something and your mind is racing and wandering all over the place and you just can’t do what’s in front of you at all. And that’s sometimes what happens. Well that’s cause at home you have video games and TVs and phones and cats and parents and so many distractions at home. But we won’t dwell on it. I’m having headaches or stomach aches. No. Really should. Having trouble sleeping. We know that is the case. I’m laughing or crying for no reason. You know, uncontrolled emotional outbursts. Do you have that happen? Not really. Yeah, you can do cry occasionally. Yeah.

Speaker 2:13:49Occasionally. Uh, wanting to be alone a lot. Yeah. You’re pretty much a loner. Yeah. But much ah, having tense muscles. Nope. You don’t have like muscle poles or aches or pains or anything? No, not really. That’s good. Uh, not being able to see the positive side of the situation. Yeah, that’s definitely not enjoying activities that you used to enjoy some sometimes. Yup. And feeling like you have too many things to do. Yes. Yes. So I think based strictly on this, cause there was a few, there were a few more signs here than there were for depression. I think based strictly on this, we could say you’re probably not depressed. You’re probably stressed. Which makes sense considering the majority of the kids who were polled already for this type of thing have conveyed the fact that they’re stressed as well. Now, one of the things that we have to be careful of is that being stressed out can lead to depression and other things. So we have to learn how to control our stress because we do that

Speaker 2:15:04well. There are a number of ways to handle stress and not all of these will work for you. Um, not all of these will work for everyone out there listening, but they are proven techniques for handling stress, uh, one of which is physical activity. Now I know you’re not big on sports or athletics, I know, but something simple like going for a walk. You know, the recommendation by health professionals is 20 minutes of exercise a day. So for you, 20 minutes of a walk might be very helpful, right? It might and will. And in fact it might be one of these things where you throw your headphones on, you listening to your music and you go for a walk for 20 minutes. It allows you to detach from everything that’s stressing you out. How does that sound, right? Yes. You guess, is there a physical activity that you enjoy besides swimming is playing catch a good one.

Speaker 2:16:09Plane catches a good one. Enjoy that. Playing with the cats is a good one too. What about lights? Hip if rights light saber fights aren’t good, although it does leave my knuckles bruise. Um, so yeah, I mean we can certainly start doing more of that stuff. I’d be, I’d be more than willing to do that because Lord knows daddy needs more physical exercise to um, a balanced diet. No. Re You and daddy have talked about this a lot in recent days. Your Diet and the food that you take in have a huge impact, not only on you physically, but they can have an impact on you mentally. No. I know you’re what we describe as a carb of war. So what are some of the foods that you enjoy the most? Chocolate. Bread, pizza. Um, certain types of fruit. Muffins. Bologna is not only are a lot of vegetables in there, eh?

Speaker 2:17:13I do like fresh carrots. Yes you’d do. Unfortunately with your braces, it’s difficult to eat them. So that’s something we need to work on and Mommy’s already aware of that. And we’re taking steps to try and provide a more balanced diet for actual fresh festivals instead of cooked or steamed right. Laugh and be silly. Now this was number three on the list and I think this is very important to him. The ability to just be silly, laugh about things. Well, there is something I used to do in school that I sometimes occasionally do. What can you, can you do that without blowing up my eardrums through the mic?

Speaker 4:17:53Well, yes. Like okay, what is it is pretending to be a period called Paulie on the torque on a talk show. Okay. And having commercial breaks and new ads for stores with the pilot narrows. Hi.

Speaker 2:18:10Like that kind of thing. That, was that something that you do on your own or is it with someone else?

Speaker 4:18:16Well, I sometimes I used to do it on my own and just let people watch.

Speaker 2:18:22Okay. Well, and if that’s what makes you laugh and let you be silly, then then by all means go for it.

Speaker 4:18:28I also liked the little phrase I made up. What’s that peanut butter? Okay.

Speaker 2:18:37See and that’s what we need. We were silliness and we need more laughing. That helps to distress. It actually triggers chemicals in your brain that actually helps both physically and mentally to keep your body bounds. Believe it or not.

Speaker 4:18:53What about like, um, watching funny cat videos and laughing at them?

Speaker 2:18:58Funny cat videos and laughing like, you know, you were hilarious on the train home watching your videos and just laughing to yourself over there. Um, but more than that, you know, be silly. You’re, you’re 12 years old. Enjoy it. Be Silly, brief, be frivolous, laugh, have fun doing that. Will help the stress. The next one that we had on the list was fun with friends. Well, no, I know you have limited exposure to your friends from school. You usually only see them during school unless there’s a special event. Are there things that you can do to improve that?

Speaker 4:19:32Well, I have most of my friends’ numbers. Um, my friends sometimes invite me to do birthday parties, which is not sometimes, but they know me and by me.

Speaker 2:19:42How many of your friends live near you?

Speaker 4:19:45Well, it’s pretty much everyone who goes to school with me who are my friends go live in my neighborhood.

Speaker 2:19:52So you could potentially just actually put your shoes on and go walk to their house and see if they want to hang out or play

Speaker 4:19:59in lunch. And that’ll probably be handy once I had to middle school since I won’t see them.

Speaker 2:20:04That you don’t do that now? Why?

Speaker 4:20:06Because I normally see them the rest of the entire week, like three, five days all week. I see them.

Speaker 2:20:15So you don’t do it now? I’m just going to see them regularly now.

Speaker 4:20:18Yeah. Well occasionally I would come over to one of my friend’s house and we actually had something planned for, for one of my friends at school this week.

Speaker 2:20:28Okay, well there you go. So there’s things that we can do to improve it. Yeah. Um, talking to someone you trust? No. Signed from the podcast. Is there someone that you trust that you would talk to about stuff like this?

Speaker 4:20:43I guess my friends who have similar problems with me.

Speaker 2:20:48How about any other adults? Are there any like guidance counselors at school, your teachers, anything like that?

Speaker 4:20:55I don’t really like to discuss it with adults.

Speaker 2:20:58Okay. Well that might be something that we can work on that would help because talking about things can be very therapeutic. Um, how about just time to relax, like reading or daydreaming or taking a nap, listening to music, a relaxing project like crafts or something. Do any of that stuff?

Speaker 4:21:17The only real thing I do is listen to music and set it on my bed and watch TV.

Speaker 2:21:23Okay. Well that’s, that’s certainly valid. I know you used to do craft projects and stuff like that. That might be something else. Even if could do it with mommy or something like that. It’s a good chance to bond, uh, getting more sleep. We know that we’ve had issues sleeping in the past, so getting a full night’s sleep is very helpful. So we can adjust the time you go to bed to try and get more sleep. Um, keeping a daily, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Speaker 4:21:52Just one more thing with the sleeping thing, even if you were just my bedtime, I probably won’t be, I’ll probably still be awake cause you’ve seen sometimes how I’ve stayed up.

Speaker 2:22:07Sure. Seven Times. And there’s different things we can do to help improve your ability to go to sleep at night too. Like how well one of the things is actually adjusting the lighting in the house. Believe it or not, there was a study I listened to yesterday about how the body reacts to certain wavelengths and certain types of lighting. There’s a setting on your phone to have it go into night mode and actually adjust the wavelength of the light so it’s not, um, it’s something that will help induce sleep. So there’s a lot of different things that we can look at for that. How about keeping a daily journal? Do You keep a daily journal? No. Okay. That’s another good technique. And this is the one that we had talked about before where if you find yourself particularly stressed out, write yourself a letter. Yeah.

Speaker 4:22:58Oh, I kinda did on Friday. Oh good. Of course. And I just wrote out my exact feelings and then I decided to read over it again and then I threw it out.

Speaker 2:23:11And that’s perfectly fine. What it allows you to do at that point in time is really analyze how you’re feeling and think about it and why you’re feeling that way. And you don’t have to show it to anyone. You don’t have to save it. The actual act of taking those feelings and committing them to paper or typing them into a keyboard makes your brain handle them differently. And then when you read them back, it helps you to understand yourself a little bit better. Did that help you at all? Did you feel any differently?

Speaker 4:23:44Yeah, call me down a little, but of course I still felt that way slightly afterwards.

Speaker 2:23:49Sure, sure. And it’s one of those things that you know, it gets more effective over time. Make A to do list. Now, this is one of the things you were talking about before when you had your projects, make it to do list of what you have to do and then what you do is you, have you ever heard of the word triage? Triage is sort of a medical term. So when you go to an emergency room, the first thing that they do is they triage you. So they, they look at all the problems people come in with, they see who needs the most help and they prioritize the people who need help the fastest. They triage them. So the guy that comes in who has a broken leg, who needs to have that set quickly gets a higher priority than the guy that comes in with the flu.

Speaker 2:24:38So the idea behind this is make a list of all the things that you need to do. Then go through that list and decide what ones need to get done first. And you do that by thinking once the deadlines. Okay, which one needs to get done first from a deadline standpoint? Which ones are the easiest ones that I can do? Which ones are the ones that I can just knock out real quick and get off that list. Because when you have that list, when that list starts getting shorter and shorter, it gets less and less stressful. So when you shorten that list, mentally you start the distress almost immediately. So figuring out what needs to get done first that needed to be concentrated on. Figure out what can be done the fastest. Figure out what can be done the most convenient. So this goes back to your homework.

Speaker 2:25:30So right now you’re an aftercare. You have homework that you do in aftercare. You have probably a limited time frame in which to do that homework before the other kids get their stuff done first and start getting rowdy. So what you want to do is maximize that time. So you want to take the stuff that you can get done the fastest and get it done in that short timeframe. And then the stuff that takes longer, you hold on the night, you bring it home. So that first part of aftercare, you get the quick stuff done. Then when the other kids are done, you go play because that go play part is part of the distressing. So instead of trying to get everything done and dealing with the rowdy kids who are trying to apply your stressing yourself at this point, so you’re taking a situation, it’s really designed to de stress, meaning go play with the other kids and you’re reversing that and turning it into a stressor and building the stress.

Speaker 2:26:31So what you want to do is do a little bit when you can’t do any more because the kids around, he put it away and then go play the physical activity, the interaction with your friends and the laughing and silly, we’ll all help you de stress. Instead you’re trying to avoid all that stuff. You’re stressing yourself out by trying to do the work and it’s making it worse. So that’s one thing that we can do. The other thing is help someone else out. You love helping other people out. You know? I see it in your face, especially with the younger kids, you know someone has a problem or question or adults. You know what? Adults need help when, when your aftercare teacher is looking for help, you’re the first one to volunteer and that in turn helps you. Am I correct? Yeah. So what are some of the things that you can do to help other people?

Speaker 4:27:26Um, I normally I like to help my friends with their homework because they’re always younger than me so I helped them out with their homework. I also use to help someone in my class who didn’t understand the lesson very well, but I did

Speaker 2:27:40say it man, it’s perfect. And you know what else that does that will speak to our topic of next week of role models is by you doing that stuff that makes you a role model to those younger kids. So when when you do something nice to someone else, not only does it make you feel good, it sets an example and in the person that you do that too, as far more likely to help the next person in line. So it starts a good cheat. The last thing that we have on here is learn to deal with anger. And we’ve talked about this before. It’s okay being angry. There’s nothing wrong with being angry. What you have to learn is one, don’t let it dominate you and to turn that anger into something actionable. You know, if you’re angry, it’s silly things. It might not be good.

Speaker 2:28:32But if you’re angry at something that’s wrong or something that someone’s doing, if you’re angry that someone’s bullying someone else or you’re angry at some kind of injustice, it can spur you to do something good to solve that problem. So don’t, don’t look at hunger as a, as a bad thing. Look at it as a call to action, but don’t let it dominate you. So I think if we, if we put the practice, all these different things, we could probably bring your stress level down significantly. And when you’re less stressed, you’re less depressed. And when you’re less depressed, you have a brighter outlook on things. And with that brighter outlook on things, it feeds into that cycle of de stressing less depression and it gets better and better. And you start looking at the, at the bright side of seats, what do you think about all these things? Do you think any of this stuff can help you?

Speaker 4:29:25Well, I definitely think of the options do pushed at me. Might be able to.

Speaker 2:29:32Okay. Well we’ll, we will have to try them and maybe we’ll report back in a few weeks with a part two on stress to see if any of it helps. What about any closing remarks? What do you have to say to your listeners out there about stress?

Speaker 4:29:53Well, if anyone has ever had, has ever felt stressed or anything that are signs of stress, then I would advise talking to someone you trust, letting them know that you think you’re stressed out and you need help. And I advise trying to find ways to help you deal with your stress.

Speaker 2:30:18Okay. All very sounded voice. Well then it’s another great podcast. Thank you so much for your time today. No problem. And uh, we’ll talk to everyone again next week.

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