Written by Lorenzo Orsenigo, Giulia Romeo and Chiara Mensini
Despite our young age, we teenagers often feel quite a lot of stress and pressure related to our future perspectives, satisfying the expectations of others or getting on well with family and friends. Sometimes we don’t even know why we are so stressed! Everyone feels pressure at one time or another. The key is not to let it overpower you and to always try to see the bright side in any situation. This too shall pass!
Who has never been influenced by their parents’ opinion? It happened to me (Chiara) when I was trying to decide for my future. I had to choose which type of high-school I would attend. I thought that artistic high-school was perfect for me because I’m really passionate about art history and keen on drawing. But my parents were inflexible, they wanted me to attend a scientific high-school because they believed that it would be more useful for my future in terms of employment. How we fought! In the end my parents won the battle. This story may seem like a tragedy, but actually it has a bright side. Attending scientific high-school made me understand what I really want to do in my life, which is Information Technology Engineering. I would like to state for the record, however, that I didn’t give up on my passion!
In addiction, we want to share with you the story of Marco, a friend of ours. When he first started high-school he was insecure, alone and everyone avoided him. He used to wear a leather jacket and skinny jeans, he had a wonderful red punk crest and he was comfortable with himself but not with others. In order to be accepted he decided to change his style. He started wearing “normal” clothes, in other words what his peers thought was cool. This change of look had a negative impact on him, as he began to feel ashamed and uncomfortable whenever he socialised. Luckily, he had the chance to confide in someone about his situation and realised the importance of being himself! When he dusted down his old clothes and attitude, his friends finally realised who he really was and appreciated him.
We made a survey to understand to what extent the pressure we and our peers feel is caused by school, family, fear for the future, and relationships with others.
One cause of stress may be our relationship with parents. There are some cases in which teenagers have misunderstandings and arguments with their parents but fortunately most of our peers are happy with their family situation.
Nowadays, young people are afflicted by the “fear” of the future: sometimes people of our generation pursue a different career from what they’ve always dreamed of in because of different factors such as a desire for money, success or their family’s point of view.
One of the most prevalent issues for teenagers is the non-acceptance of their own bodies. This situation is very dangerous for our health because it could lead to eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. Everyone should accept themselves even if there’s something they don’t like about their aspect because self-confidence is the first step to being happy!
There are many experts that can help you to overcome these problems. Enrico Parpaglione, an expert in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, claims that there are some steps to follow with a view to dealing with pressure issues. He suggests for example practising sport (even better with friends), following a healthy and balanced diet, relaxing, learning how to manage your time and organise your activities. According to John T. Chirban, an American psychology Ph.D, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have the perfect physique or a pretty face. The secret is to be comfortable with who you are and to take ownership of yourself. He also thinks that parents have a huge responsibility: they have to support their children in friendships and well-rounded activities—physical, social and academic—which strengthen their sense of attractiveness in a healthy, positive way. One of the most suggested methods is volunteering because it gives you a sense of connection with who you help and improves your mental health.
Of course, this is not the only way to deal with this kind of problems. You can do whatever you think is best for yourself (thankfully, everyone is different). That’s why we asked our contemporaries about their methods of pressure management.
Listening to music turned out to be the most popular way to avoid pressure, followed by confiding in someone and practising sports. So if you are lacking ideas you could take your cue from this graph!
In conclusion, you have to remember that even though adolescence is known as a difficult age, everyone went through it, therefore we strongly recommend that you bite the bullet and look for the bright side. STAY POSITIVE!!! Everything will turn out ok, you have our word!