Most students experience significant amounts of stress, and this stress can take a significant toll on health, happiness, and grades. For example, a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that teens report stress levels similar to that of adults.
That means teens are experiencing significant levels of chronic stress, and that they feel their levels of stress generally exceed their ability to cope effectively. Roughly 30% report feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or sad because of it.1
Stress can affect health-related behaviors like sleep patterns, diet, and exercise as well, taking a larger toll. Given that nearly half of APA survey respondents reported completing three hours of homework per night in addition to their full day of school work and extracurriculars, this is understandable.
Common Causes of Student Stress
Another study found that much of high school students' stress originates from school and activities, and that this chronic stress can persist into college years and lead to academic disengagement and mental health problems.2 Common sources of student stress include:
- Extracurricular activities
- Social challenges
- Transitions (e.g., graduating, moving out, living independently)
High school students face the intense competitiveness of taking challenging courses, amassing impressive extracurriculars, studying and acing college placement tests, and deciding important and life-changing plans for their future. At the same time, they have to navigate the social challenges inherent to the high school experience.
If college is part of a teen's plans, once they are accepted, the stress continues as they need to make new friends, handle a more challenging workload, be without parental support in many instances, and navigate the stresses that come with more independent living. Romantic relationships always add an extra layer of potential stress.
Many students feel a sense of needing to relieve stress, but with all of the activities and responsibilities that fill a student’s schedule, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to try new stress relievers to help dissipate that stress. These options are relatively easy, quick, and relevant to a student’s life and types of stress.