PALMETTO -- It is no secret many high-school students suffer from stress.
Expectations for teens can be perceived as incredibly high by these high-schoolers so more students are craving ways to ease skyrocketing stress levels.
A recent survey by the American Psychological Association reveals more teenagers today say they feel abnormally stressed.
The cause of this stress? School.
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In August, when the U.S. school year typically begins, students surveyed by APA stated said their individual stress levels had increased within the past month.
A study by Dr. Roni Cohen Sandler, a clinical psychologist and author, shows more than 65 percent of high school girls believe they do not have enough free time or have too much homework accounts.
Pressure on teenagers to do well in school has a large effect on stress inducers, as well.
"I feel pressured to do well in school due to my career goals," said senior Meaghen Swedo, 17. "I want to do the best I can."
Stephen Morton, an advanced placement psychology teacher at Manatee School for the Arts, said humans need a certain amount of stress in order to remain mentally healthy. However, he said, individuals must be able to balance necessary stress with their negative stress.
Morton said cortisol, the primary hormone associated with stress, becomes detrimental to the body when it is elevated in an individual.
"That's why when people are stressed, (they) can have a difficult time sleeping and eating," Morton said. "It has a negative domino effect on other bodily systems."
With approximately 30 percent of teens reportedly feeling saddened or depressed, and another third
of teens reporting feelings of fatigue or drowsiness, stress undoubtedly is exerting a negative influences on students today.
"Stress infringes on my ability to complete work and live a stress-free life because, obviously, it's always there. It hinders me that way," said Swedo.
"I don't get a lot of sleep when I'm stressed," said junior Katie DeGenaro.
Stress is not an unmanageable aspect of life. One healthy method of easing stress for overwhelmed students is to turn to an activity they enjoy. Morton said one way to help students is allowing them to do things that make them feel fulfilled.
"The first thing is to find your passion," he said. "I think school is not only for us to learn skills, but it's also for us to learn about ourselves. It's important for students to find what moves them, what makes them feel alive, what makes them feel important or significant."
Morton said when a student has a particular passion, it "anchors" them down and contributes to the overall growth of the student as an individual, increasing maturity and enhancing awareness.
Manatee School For the Arts said their central passion can ease school-related anxieties.
"Drawing relieves a lot of stress," said Swedo.
DeGenaro said "dance helps with my stress levels."
"It's whatever recharges your batteries," says Morton. "You need to find your center, find your balance. What we try to guide students on is tools to guide this awareness."