In the last 20 years the pace of life and the competition around us has increased at an alarming rate. Many are struggling emotionally to cope with the uncertainties these changes bring and meet the demands placed on them internally and externally. This challenging realisation can be seen as a confronting truth especially for teenagers trying to find their way in life.
Without doubt the influence of social media has set the new frontier for peer pressure that influences how teenagers see their place in the world. Body image, success and friendship circles are dictated by the constant addictive drive of what others think.
Similarly, the ever increasing cost of education and the reducing likelihood of being able to afford your own home establish another level of pressure and stress on teenagers to compete in the world to be successful.
What this means long-term for teenagers is that rather than simply concerning themselves with getting the best grades and which friends to hang out with after school, modern teenagers are exposed to an ‘always on’ world of pressure, be that in terms of image, food and diet, aspirations or possessions.
As technology advances and artificial intelligence become the norm, teenagers’ lives are going to continue to change and see increasing pressure from a huge range of sources. There needs to be a planning for these future pressures.
The rate of depression amongst teenagers has already soared by 70% over the last two decades, and without more support and understanding from parents, teachers and governing bodies, this may well continue.
These increasing challenges make it critical for teenagers to invest into developing and learning mental skills to allow themselves the opportunity to thrive rather than just survive in life. Accepting what they can and cannot control will play a big part in helping them to remove pressure. Typically, you cannot control the questions on an exam paper, but you can control your preparation.
It is encouraging there has been an increasing trend toward mindfulness and relaxation techniques directed towards teenagers over the last few years to help with pressure and stress reduction in their lives. Filling their heads with helpful, positive thinking, rather than worries or fears will enable them to achieve peak performance throughout their life.
Teenagers have always experienced a certain amount of pressure, but in a rapidly changing world the ideal future is one where the development of a high performing and effective mindset needs to be nurtured and supported. Equipping young people with the right mental skills to help make positive decisions in life during adverse situations needs to be an essential ingredient of their education journey.