As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough. There is a school. And your family. There are your friends and those people who are not your friends. There is work, extra-curricular activities, and volunteer work, all to help you go to college. Don’t forget about the pressures to use substances, pornography, the pressure of social media, and so many other things. With everything going on in this world, the stress is just too much. It’s honestly enough to give anyone depression. Or anxiety. Or to abuse substances. Honestly, how will I survive?
First of all, you are not the only one asking that question. And you are not the only one asking that question for good reason. The pressures are real, they are tangible, and they are impacting more adolescents than ever before. The positive news is that there is more help for you and others like you than ever before, too. You are not alone, you do not have to do this on your own. If you are willing to do what it takes, you absolutely can survive. Not only survive but live a rewarding life. You will survive because you want to.
Why Mental Health is So Important
While it is true that teens today face stressors that no generation has had to face before, it is also true that between genetic and environmental factors, this generation also faces mental health issues as no other generation has before, either. There may be a correlation, but there is no proof of which came first, either. All we know is that surviving the stress of your adolescent years requires good mental health.
When you have depression or anxiety, your mind takes the normal stress load and magnifies it, blows it out of proportion. That makes life seem even more difficult. Likewise, if you use substances, you are likely to see a warped view of the stressors in your life. You are also more likely to experience it… wait for it… anxiety and depression. Mental health is so important to helping you navigate these really difficult years.
From Overwhelming to Doable
Because your mind can blow things out of proportion when you are not fully healthy mentally, life can seem truly overwhelming. It can feel impossible, honestly. Not only can you find help to restore your mental health and be 100 percent again, but you can also learn stress management skills. Learning to cope with your stress helps you to see things more clearly and also helps to keep you healthy physically and mentally (see how intertwined this mental health thing is?)
You can also learn coping skills like breaking down your challenges and finding ways to solve them one at a time. Imagine if a dump truck full of marbles fell on you and you were trapped. Escaping would feel overwhelming, if not impossible, and you might feel like you were drowning. However, if you focused on removing them, even one marble at a time, then you would be free and able to move around again in no time.
Learning to cope with stress is similar to that analogy. You have to learn to find the one thing that is most affecting you and focus on resolving that stress first. When you have done that, you can move on to the next one, and the next, until suddenly, you realize that in spite of so much stress, your life is actually manageable again.
Creating a Fortress
When it seems like there is so much going on, so much for you to do, and so many pressures placed on you, it might not seem practical, but this is the most important time to find time for you. Eating healthy and getting some exercise daily is like the foundation of your fortress. Not only will you feel better physically and be able to function better amidst the stress, but a healthy body also contributes to a healthy mind. Our brains are literally impacted by what we eat and how much our bodies move.
Be sure to take some time to do something you love. Read a book, paint something, participate in a sport, build something… whatever it is that makes you really happy, do it. Even if it is only for 15 minutes a day. The positive emotions you get from doing something for you will help to counteract the negative emotions that the pressures and stressors of your life are attacking you with, and you will be able to defend your mind from the constant barrage of stress. You will also gain strength from prioritizing you and your needs ahead of all of the things that are trying to weigh you down. By giving priority to your physical and emotional health, you will build a virtual fortress in your mind that can withstand even the most difficult stressors that life sends your way.
If life’s stressors have impacted your mental health, you can turn the tide and become even stronger than before. Even if you have depression, anxiety, or substance use that are making your life even more difficult, you can take those things and turn them into your superpower. You can find mental health and the strength to survive whatever life throws at you. Reach out for help today, and begin your battle against these pressures. Find out not only how to survive, but to thrive.
Embark is the most trusted name in teen and young adult mental health treatment. We’re driven to find the help you need. If you’re looking for support, contact us today!