How Writing Helps Teenagers Manage Stress

Being a teenager in today’s world comes with the same stresses teens have always faced plus a wide range of new stresses their parents and grandparents never faced.  According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, teens are stressed because of academic demands, high expectations, jam-packed schedules, safety concerns, family problems, peer relationships, and financial instability.  Because stress can come from every area of their lives, teens can easily become overwhelmed and many do not have the tools they need to manage that stress on their own.

When teens are stressed and overwhelmed and unable to change their situation it can lead to unhealthy behavior patterns like aggression, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, cutting, acting out, and substance abuse. For parents, this means that helping teens develop adequate stress management techniques is a key component in protecting their mental health.

While there are many different techniques and strategies for managing stress, one of the most effective tools for teenagers is writing.  Many key stressors for a teenager revolve around their feelings.  How do other people make them feel?  How do they feel about other people?  How do they feel about themselves?  With so much going on around them, it can be hard to work through all the different feelings and emotions as they are being bombarded by them all day long.  Writing provides a safe, quiet, accessible, and most importantly, private way to sort out that jumble and get their emotional selves back on solid ground.

Here are some of the ways that the simple act of writing can position teens to manage and alleviate the stress in their lives.

A Safe Place to Vent

Sometimes, you just need to blow off steam and your teens feel this way too.  Unfortunately, they don’t have access to the same outlets you do.  They may feel like they can’t talk to their friends because they will make someone mad, hurt someone, or sound like a crazy person.  They may feel like they can’t talk to you because you won’t understand or you will overreact.  Writing can provide a safe place to vent, to let the energy behind their emotions out so that it doesn’t build up and push them into unhealthy behaviors.

A Space to Sort Things Out

Today’s world moves fast and we can easily become overwhelmed when the things we need to take in, outpace our ability to do so.  When the things we need to manage are too many to be manageable, it can be difficult to think clearly, make decisions, or know where you stand or how you feel.  When teens write, they can slow down the pace of their thoughts.  Bounded by the time it takes to physically commit ink to the page, writing can help create space for them to sort out their emotions, formulate their thoughts, and reconnect with themselves.

Writing isn’t a perfect fit for every teen, but for many it can be a core stress management strategy.  Writing for a certain amount of time everyday can help keep stress from building up and overwhelming them.


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