Teen Stress Is On The Rise. Learn How You Can Help With This 1-2-3 Approach.

You know the drill.

Teen walks in door.

You start asking questions. They answer. You react.

[Tweet “Cut the arguing with your teens with this 1-2-3 approach.“]

(1) STOP

Catch yourself before you react and stop.  Pay attention to your breathing. Count to 10.

This simple act will help you overcome the desire to react in the heat of the moment.

(2) LISTEN

Don’t say anything. Just listen. Pay attention to what is being said. What is not being said. But most importantly, how your teen might be feeling in the moment.

What is going on? What is important right now? Why is this so important right now?

(3) CONNECT

Yes, you have years of experience to know that what is important to your teen right now, may not really be that important in the scheme of life. But it’s not about you. It’s about your teen.

What are they experiencing right now? How can you connect to that? How can you affirm what they are feeling?

Teen stress is growing at a ridiculous rate. And while you may want to shout:

“You have no clue what stress is like.

Wait until you have a job, a home, kids to worry about, bills to pay.

Then I’ll show you stress.”

[Tweet “Stress is stress. Teen stress has no age limits. No boundaries. No biases.“]

And teens can choose some pretty extreme things to manage stress.

And yet, listening and connecting with your teen is one of the best anecdotes you can offer to combat the ill effects of stress.

Try it out, and let us know how it goes!

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ABOUT KELLI SCHULTE, CPLC, ACC, CEQA

I have the best job on the planet! As an Emotional Intelligence Coach, I will help you learn how to navigate the stressors of life so that you can reach your goals, achieve balance, and enjoy all that life has to offer. I love working with leaders, parents, students, and young adults.

I am a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Certified EQ Assessor with Six Seconds, and a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum.

With over 25 years of experience as a Performance Consultant, my focus is on helping individuals and corporations achieve their personal and leadership goals. My combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives me a unique coaching platform.

Stress Throwing You Off Track?

I recently conducted a workshop for business leaders focused on stress and the impact it has on collaboration. As part of the workshop, everyone participated in a short simulation. It involved 15 people working together under extremely tight time constraints. When the simulation came to an end, and the team fell short of achieving their goal, the group unanimously explained, “We didn’t have enough time!”

Doesn’t that sound familiar? A day doesn’t go by where I don’t feel pressed for time. I end up packing in way more than I should, and I eventually feel overwhelmed, distracted, and stretched too thin.

SO WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THIS PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR?

Josh Freedman has a lot to say about this in his article, Stress is Killing Me. Time for Emotional Intelligence? It becomes difficult to focus on a solution when we are pressed for time. The additional pressure ignites a myriad of thoughts and feelings.

Thoughts: I’m never going to solve this. There’s not enough time. Everyone is in my way. Get out of my way. I’m so sick of doing this.

Feelings: Frustrated. Annoyed. Perplexed. Anxious. Defeated. Overwhelmed.

While some stress can actually be helpful, stress becomes toxic when you enter into a stress cycle with no plan or awareness on how to get out. 

The Stress Cycle

There are days when I can get completely caught up in this stress cycle. I find myself saying, “If I can just get through these next couple of days, I’ll have more time for….” 

And then I sit in my urgent focused state, shutting out the world around me and feeling disconnected. I don’t think my reaction to stress is that uncommon. And this is the problem.

The more stress we experience, the more we detach from the people around us. The very people we need most in these stressful situations. 

I love Psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s TED TALK on the topic. She recommends perceiving stress as positive and encourages reaching out to others as a mechanism for stress reduction.

Back to the Workshop

As we debriefed the workshop activity it became clear to everyone, the lack of time created a sense of stress. This stress resulted in:

  • People jumping in to try to solve the problem
  • Some worked in groups of two
  • Others worked in groups of three
  • Others on their own
  • Some just checked out
  • No one worked together as a team, leveraging each others’ strengths and sharing the burden of coming up with a solution

And as a result:

  • Communication shut down
  • Planning was non-existent
  • And random solutions were being tossed out with no success

Collaboration requires you to slow down, seek multiple perspectives and ideas to determine the best possible solution.

WHAT DRIVES YOUR ACTIONS?

During the workshop, participants completed a Six Seconds Brain Brief Profile to increase their self-awareness. The profile helped them to understand:

  • Where they prefer to focus (facts or feelings)
  • How they appraise situations (assess risk or assess opportunity)
  • How they get energy (pragmatic action or long-term possibilities)

Our simulation helped to point out that emotions drive people, and people drive performance. Here are just a few of the observed actions that resulted from different feelings