I want to talk to you today about stress.
Stress is something we feel when we are in a situation which we find difficult to cope with.
It is something we all feel in many different ways and we learn over time how to manage it.
As a teenager, I get stressed out about a lot of things to do with school.
Changing school or classes, making new friends, doing homework, getting good scores in exams, meeting my parents expectations of which I should achieve, deciding what I should do after I graduate from school.
All of these things make me stressed.
Sometimes, it seems like really silly things make me stressed – having to make a choice between which clothes to wear, whether I am slightly overweight, having to wait for the next issue of my favourite comic or not being able to find something I have lost.
Thankfully, family, friends and school counsellers as well as teachers are understanding and supportive in this difficult period of my life.
My parents and teachers get stressed out as well about different things.
Usually it is to do with money or the day to day management of family life within the home, transport issues like traffic jams or planning the annual family holiday, christmas or birthday presents to be bought.
There can be relationship conflicts within the family home as well (for example between the child and a new step-parent) and sometimes you find yourself cornered where you feel suicidal, reclusive or want to run away.
When you feel stressed, you neglect your responsibilities and stop doing things as a matter of course habitually like eating, drinking, washing and sleeping.
Undoubted symptoms of stress are feeling nervous or anxious, becoming irritable and angry, insomnia and engaging in inappropriate activities such as underage drinking or experimenting with illegal drugs.
Nail biting, pacing around and restlessness are just some of the tell-tale signs.
I have got a dentist appointment this afternoon and my heart is pounding.
I know that one of the best ways to deal with stress is physical activity and that this should be balanced with healthy eating and enough sleep each night.
I know it is impossible to eliminate stress from daily life but so long as I follow such routines and rituals, I will find the way to pull myself through the many difficult stressful situations.