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Stress is your body's response to a hard situation. Your body can have a physical, emotional, or mental response. Stress is a fact of life for most teens, and it affects everyone differently. What causes stress for you may not be stressful for someone else.
A lot of things can cause stress. You may feel stress when you take a test, do a class presentation, or prepare for a sports event. This short-term stress is normal and even useful. It can help you work hard or react quickly. For example, stress can help you finish an important job on time.
Stress also can last a long time. Long-term stress is caused by stressful situations or events. Examples of long-term stress may include pushing yourself to do well in school, feeling bad about your body or yourself, or having problems with your parents or family. Long-term stress can harm your health.
Children and teens notice and react to stress in their family and also feel their own stress. Signs may include anger, crying, having trouble sleeping, and wetting the bed. In general, anything that may cause children fear and anxiety can cause stress. This can include being away from home and starting a new school.
Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach before taking a test? Or felt your heart speed up when a teacher asked you a question you couldn't answer? These are symptoms of stress. If the stress is over quickly, your body goes back to normal and no harm is done.
But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. You may have trouble sleeping, feel tired a lot, or have headaches or stomachaches. Long-term stress can make you more likely to get sick, and it can make symptoms of some diseases worse. If you tense up when you are stressed, you may develop neck, shoulder, or low back pain. And stress is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress also can change how you behave. You might feel cranky and get upset at small problems or get angry and yell at others. Stress might make it hard to focus on your schoolwork. It may affect how well you perform in sports or other activities. Stress also can make you worry a lot or think that bad things are going to happen to you.
Relax your mind
Relax your body
Harvard Pilgrim has a large and growing network of behavioral health providers that offers expertise across dozens of behavioral health care specialties. Search our online directory to find a provider near you.
Harvard Pilgrim is working with Valera Health to enhance your therapy options. Valera Health offers virtual therapy and psychiatry services for adults, children aged 6 and up and adolescents in Massachusetts. In treating conditions from mild depression to schizophrenia, Valera Health’s expert clinicians have a collaborative approach focused on your needs and overall well-being.
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