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Stress in Teens

Teenagers, like adults, may experience stress every day and can benefit from learning stress management skills. Most teens experience more stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope. 

Some teens become overloaded with stress. When this happens, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use.

When we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rates, increased blood flow to arm and leg muscles, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach,and/or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rates and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

Introduction to Stress for Teens

A Self-Paced Course

Teenagers should take the AIS-certified course Introduction to Stress for Teens to learn about the relaxation response and managing everyday stressors. This short course teaches teens to understand stress, keep their cool, and cope with pressure.

Some Sources of Stress for Teens Include:

Helpful behaviors and techniques:

teen stress management

Teen-Related Stress


of teenagers reported experiencing extreme stress during the school year


of teenagers reported using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress


of teens reported feeling depressed or sad due to high stress levels


of teens report skipping a meal due to stress


of teens expect stress to increase in the coming year