For many teenagers today, the pressures of life feel like they’re piling up. Although it seems like a carefree time of life to many adults, we cannot let ourselves forget that the stress teens feel is very real.
Between school, friendships, and work, 13-19 year olds can easily start to feel overwhelmed. On any given day, they are probably worrying about their homework assignments, studying for the ACT or SAT, mending a friendship, whether or not their crush will text them back, and how they look that day. To teens, those worries can feel of equal importance, each weighing them down in their own way.
In a recent study on teens, over a quarter reported feeling extreme stress during the school year. This is higher than adults report having, an indicator of just how stressful teenage years can be. And stress isn’t an isolated issue—it can affect a teen’s physical wellbeing as well. 32% of teens reported getting headaches as a result of stress, while 26% reported changes in sleeping habits. Over a quarter said that they have snapped at a classmate or teammate because of stress. And in a literature review of mental health among teens, one in four showed signs of mild depression.
A major factor in a teen’s stress level is how they handle their stress on a daily basis. Many teens cope in unhealthy ways like playing video games and spending time online (which can often times increase their stress level). Many popular social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have proven to increase feelings of depression and anxiety. It is important that teens can find healthy ways to manage their stress, but every kid is different. Some may benefit from reading, others might turn to exercise. And some may turn to music to relieve teenage stress.
If your teen is feeling stressed out and unable to find a good outlet, music therapy is a unique and evidence-based approach that has proven successful for many. This can mean listening, singing, writing, and/or moving to music. While it may sound different to some, music therapy should not be thought of as an alternative medicine. It is backed up with large amounts of research and therapists working in the field are thoroughly educated in the field. In a meta-analysis of 400 studies, researchers found that music strengthened the immune system and reduced stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Listening to music can provide a calming and mindful experience for a teenager. In fact, simply creating rhythm and keeping a beat has shown positive benefits by increasing relaxation, providing an emotional release, and reducing loneliness. Singing, writing music, and playing an instrument provides an important outlet to teens who are in need of creative expression.
When a teen sees a music therapist, it is a safe and noninvasive experience. They can experience things at their own pace and don’t have to fear the opinions of others like they might in a classroom setting. Better yet, music therapy is something they can take with them, turning to music when they are feeling stressed at school. They can play instruments at home and sing in the shower, releasing stress in simple, everyday ways.
Your child is unique. They don’t always benefit from the same activities that others do, and that’s just fine. Finding a creative outlet can make a hugely positive impact in a teen’s life, and music is a safe and welcoming option for every individual. Music therapy may be just the outlet your child needs to start feeling more at peace in their life. Many have found music to relieve teenage stress, and yours could be the next success story.