While I was a teenager, adults around me would always belittle the stress I faced saying, “Wait till you grow up and then you will know what real stress is.” Well, I am sort of grown up now and even now when I think back to my teenage years, I shudder to think about the extent of stress I handled and how little equipped I was to cope with that stress. In hindsight, I think it is the lack of emotional maturity and raging teenage hormones which made handling stress so difficult. In fact, the foundation of ones future self gets laid with the decisions one makes during this phase. The teenage years are fraught with uncertainty as the future seems hazy with life course dependent upon events outside of one’s control — college admissions, job placements, etc. all of it further gets aggravated as through all of that one has to manage parental expectations and conflicts as well. As a counselor, I have seen students frozen in front of examination papers, completely indecisive about their careers and at loggerheads with their parents about major decisions. So it is vital as a teenager that you learn to handle this maze of stress that life will continue to throw at you.
The key to managing stress is resilience or the ability to take punches from life, dust off one’s knees and get right back into the arena. To be resilient, it is important to believe in oneself and in one’s ability to re-launch oneself repeatedly. So even though self-doubt in small doses is great to keep you on your toes, self-belief in large doses is vital to reaffirm your faith in yourself (and the higher power you believe in) to handle the stressful challenges life sends your way.
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