When I told adults I was writing a book on teenage stress, there were three main reactions:
a) Thank goodness!
b) Teenage stress! We didn’t have that in my day. Ridiculous! Wait till they’re paying bills – then they’ll know what stress is!
c) You? Giving advice about stress? (*falls about laughing*) Shouldn’t you deal with your own, first?
THE TEENAGE GUIDE TO STRESS (TTGS) addresses a) and b) extremely comprehensively; but I’ve never answered c) properly. Yes, hands up, I’m a stressy person. I’ve been there. I’d have bought the t-shirt, if t-shirts weren’t for relaxing in. I’ve experienced the negative sides of stress, been treated for it. Often badly – I mean, it’s not generally regarded as good practice to give an eight-year-old major tranquillisers. Mind you, that was 1969, when we may have put men on the moon but we didn’t know how to tackle down-to-earth human stress.
So, is it OK for a stressy person to give advice about stress? No, it’s not OK – it’s ideal. I know from experience that it’s quite stressful being treated for stress by a ridiculously calm person drifting around in moccasins and clearly never having experienced angst or negative thinking; or being told to relax by someone whose voice is never louder than the sound of a sleeping mouse gently breathing on meadow grasses; or having one’s Type A personality challenged by a horizontally laidback person who keeps smiling for absolutely no reason except that the requisite muscles exist.
I’m well-qualified to advise about stress for several reasons. I know what it feels like. I’ve heard pretty much every type of advice and tried pretty much every remedy; some helped and some didn’t. But, crucially, I don’t suffer from stress any more. I am still a stressy person, because that’s my personality and I don’t want to change it; I still know those feelings and symptoms. But I don’t suffer from it.
And that’s the point. Because we don’t want to banish stress. Stress is important, positive; it makes us perform, sparks ambition, and makes times of relaxation all the more enjoyable. We just have to learn to control it and not suffer from it. And the younger, the better.
Teenagers are bombarded by new stresses – internal, the ones I describe in Blame My Brain – and external, the ones I describe in TTGS. They don’t know what to do about it all. I didn’t either, so I suffered – because, oh yes, there was teenage stress “in our day”. I wish I’d had a book like this. It covers every type of strategy, including some I never knew existed. It shows teenagers that what they feel is normal; that they are not alone; that I know what they feel like; that I can help find a way through it; that what works for you can work for a lifetime. That you do not have to suffer stress. And that you certainly do not have to suffer it alone.
You can purchase The Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan on hive by clicking here