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Good stress can keep us motivated and focused, but often young people are dealing with too much pressure. It’s important to find ways to relax and take a break when we need one.
Everyone feels stress from time to time. It's the body’s normal reaction to feeling scared or under pressure - it gets the heart beating faster, and makes us react quicker and work harder. A little bit of stress is good - it helps us stay motivated and focused.
Young people have to deal with a lot of stress and pressure. They might be worrying about friendships, relationships, school work, bullying, family, jobs, fitting in, appearances - it’s a lot to think about. Sometimes parents can put too much pressure on young people to achieve. If people stay stressed for too long, or have too many things causing stress in their lives, they can become physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
It’s important to learn how to relax and unwind, let go of things we can’t control and take a break when we need one.
Stress affects everybody differently. Sometimes, stress can creep up on people and they don’t realise why they're not feeling good. If someone you care about is under a lot of pressure, you might notice they:
If stress gets to be too much, it can get in the way of people being able to feel happy and healthy. Talking to someone about what’s going on can help them sort out their thoughts and feel more relaxed.
Relaxing is about taking a break, and doing something fun to get your mind off things that are bothering you.
Confidential Helpline: 0800 376 633
Youthline provides free phone, text, and email counselling support. Its website has great information for youth dealing with challenging situations including how to cope with stress.
Developed under the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project, this online resource aims to help anyone who a young person confides in about supporting their wellbeing, including support for mild to moderate mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and mild depression.
The Guidelines are designed to support people ‘walking alongside’ a young person to help them access mental health advice and support.
The University of Auckland has some ideas on how to manage stress through its programme CALM-Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind.