Health Matters Episode Explores Teen Stress

girl sitting, hands in hair, leaning against lockers

Our expert guest discusses the health effects of stress and what can be done to help combat it.

It's an important fact – many teens today are stressed. Sources of stress range from school to social media to not getting enough sleep.

In the third episode of the fifth season of Health Matters with Doylestown Health, the discussion focuses on the physical effects of stress, ways to cope and tips for staying healthy in the face of stress. The episode is co-hosted by Ashley Heidler, a pediatric nurse and Pediatric Outreach manager for Doylestown Health, and Leah Martin, a Central Bucks East High School senior.

Nicole Geracimos, MD, a primary care physician who says she sees stress every day in patients of all ages. Dr. Geracimos is board certified in internal medicine and practices at Tohickon Internal Medicine in Doylestown.

But stress can lead to physical and emotional issues that are detrimental to our health. Some of the physical effects of stress include fatigue, GI upset, headaches and chronic pain. Chronic stress can lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

On the emotional side, stress can lead to anxiety, depression and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

There are ways to try to manage stress and to overcome its negative effects to lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

Dr. Geracimos discusses the basics when it comes to managing stress. Exercise is key, she notes, and good sleep hygiene is also essential. Eating a healthy diet is helpful and practicing mindfulness can also go a long way to relieve stress.

Mindfulness is basically the practice of being present and aware of your mind and body. Dr. Geracimos recommends basic breathing techniques to take time to relax and focus on yourself. She describes the practice of ‘box breathing,' which is sitting, relaxing, and breathing out for four seconds, then breathing in for four seconds, holding it in for four seconds and breathing out again for four seconds.

"It's amazing what just those couple seconds can do," says Dr. Geracimos.

The episode continues to take a look at some of the main stressors for teens, which include school and planning for college. Dr. Geracimos offers suggestions for ways to deal with the rigors of school and the expectations placed on students.

Social media and the constant barrage of information can also lead to stress, starting at a very young age, notes Dr. Geracimos. She talks about the effects of social media on relationships, self-esteem and comparing one's self to other people.

Ever heard of "FOMO"?

It's the "Fear of Missing Out" and our show looks at ways to combat it in today's world of constant information and countless images from the lives of others.

Dr. Geracimos also discusses the importance of cultivating an "attitude of gratitude" and having significant people in our lives to reach out to when stress and anxiety seem overwhelming.

Viewers can also learn what to do when you recognize the signs of stress in a friend and ways to help.

Finally, the show considers the importance of sleep and ways to help teens get a good night's sleep. Dr. Geracimos offers suggestions that include not using devices at bedtime, having a good bedtime routine and, again, being active during the day.

About Pediatric Services

Doylestown Health is an independent, not-for-profit, clinically integrated network of care committed to providing family-centered children’s services for the youngest members of our community. Our Della Penna Pediatrics along with our VIA Maternity Center offer maternity care, labor and delivery, neonatology, and perinatology services. We also have broad capabilities in pediatric diagnostic testing, and deliver comprehensive pediatric care throughout our outpatient practices, our Emergency Department at Doylestown Hospital, and Urgent Care on Swamp Road.  

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