As adults (I use this term loosely), we like to think that we have cornered the market on stress. After all, we work, we raise children, we cook, we clean, we have long tedious days of pretending to know what we're doing. We long for the days when we were younger, nostalgia tinting our memories rose colored, and think if only we could go back, we would appreciate it more. If only we could go back, we would be so much less stressed. Right?
(Warning, these statistics can be kind of dark, but I PROMISE there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.)
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association done in 2014, today's teens report stress levels that rival, and often surpass, those of adults. The survey found that during the school year, teens reported an average stress level of 5.8 versus adults who average out at 5.1. And the thing is, their stress levels don't go down much in the summer either. They report feeling overwhelmed, depressed, with some skipping meals or being fatigued as a result.
Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. However, in children and young adults aged 10-24, it is the 2nd leading cause of death, only topped by accidents. A study released in 2016 found that pediatric hospitals reported the amount of suicidal thoughts and actions reported in admitted children aged 5 to 17 more than doubled between 2008 to 2015.
But the stress doesn't end after high school. In September of 2017, the American Psychological Association published an article detailing the rise of students on university campuses seeking mental health help from college counseling centers. Overall, counselors reported a 30% increase in students coming through their doors. And of those that saw a counselor, 61% of them listed anxiety as the reason for their visit, 49% listed depression, and 45% listed stress.
So what do we do? How do we help?
Studies have shown that in conjunction with regular therapy sessions, alternative therapies can help to reduce depression and anxiety levels in both children as well as adults.
Activities like reiki can help to lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Massage has been studied to help not only physical ailments, but mental ones as well, such as depression and anxiety. Aromatherapy has been proven to help with pain, anxiety and agitation. And in a study spanning 8 weeks, those who attended yoga classes twice a week showed a decrease in depression as well as an increase in optimism and mindfulness.
There are also a multitude of things that you can do at home to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Even something as simple as taking 15 minutes to yourself in a quiet place can do wonders. Try to make it a point each week to find time to do things that you enjoy, whether it's a sport or a hobby, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Meditation is a great option or even just taking some time for introspective reflection. Practices such as journaling or having a creative outlet of some kind are also helpful things to consider.
But just as no two people have identical struggles, there is no single alternative therapy that works for everyone. However, at Grow Wellness, we approach each client on an individual basis and customize therapy sessions for their specific needs.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!
*It is important to note that the first step in helping those struggling with stress and mental health issues, is to talk to them. And if you are a parent and your child doesn't feel comfortable talking to you, a therapist might be a good option. If your child is struggling, it is very important that they speak with a professional as soon as possible. All of the holistic therapies we offer should be used in addition to clinical help from a qualified mental health professional to be fully effective
Devin is a collector of random knowledge, entrepreneur, researcher and writer. Though she is a Texas native, she is currently living abroad writing and studying alternative medicine. She is a proud partner of Grow Wellness, as well as the founder and operator of the blog TechnicallyAdults.