A lot of teens today are super busy. They have tons of stuff going that they worry about: extracurricular activities, big tests, college applications, school projects, dating, friends, family stuff. Having so many things going on can cause stress: that’s totally normal. Everyone gets a little stressed from time to time. But sometimes stress can turn into anxiety, and too much anxiety can be bad.
Anxiety is essentially feelings of uneasiness, nervousness, dread, fear, or panic. People who are experiencing anxiety may experience a faster heartbeat or breathing, tense muscles, sweaty palms, a queasy stomach, and/or trembling hands or legs. These feelings are caused by a rush of adrenaline that occurs as a defense mechanism when someone feels threatened in some way, like potentially feeling embarrassed, making a mistake, not fitting in, stumbling over their words, or feeling rejected.
Don’t you usually feel this way when you’re about to give a presentation, or go on a date, or take a big test? I sure do. That’s totally normal. Most people do feel that way when they’re about to do something big and unusual that they aren’t used to doing. Sometimes a little anxiety and nervousness can be helpful, and motivate you to do your best. But there are a lot of people who feel anxiety all the time.
Some people feel anxious and nervous for no reason at all, or about something that’s part of their daily routine. This is usually because they have an anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders can let their nerves take over their life. They can feel so panicked and tense that they won’t go out with friends, or do things they enjoy. It can affect their happiness and quality of life.
If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, here are the signs:
- You feel anxious, worried, or afraid for no reason at all
- You worry too much and feel nervous about everyday events or activities
- You’re constantly checking to see if you did something right
- You’re so panicky that you’re unable to function in certain situations
If you think you have this issue, it can be embarrassing and hard to talk about. But realistically, you aren’t alone! SO many people have bad anxiety. Believe it or not, approximately 13% of teenagers just like you have bad enough anxiety that they need treatment and medication.
Here are some things you can do to help your anxiety:
- See your doctor and get a checkup. They might be able to prescribe you some medication that will help.
- See a mental health professional. They can definitely help you figure out exactly what you can do to feel more relaxed.
- Get regular exercise, good nutrition, and enough sleep. Just being healthy can help your nerves.
- Try some relaxation techniques. Find something that works for you, whether it’s doing yoga, breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, or going for a walk.
- Recognize your emotions and why you’re feeling that way. Sometimes just admitting that the situation is stressful and being prepared to deal with it can help you calm down significantly.
There are all different kinds of anxiety, too: OCD, phobias, social anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD are all forms of it. They can all hurt you and make your life miserable if you don’t get help. Experts don’t really know what exactly causes anxiety, but some of their ideas are: genetics, brain biochemistry, stressful life circumstances, and learn behavior. But no matter how it happened to you, it isn’t your fault. Just ask for help and start living your life to the fullest, without a worry in the world!
Have you ever been hanging out at the mall with a group of friends, and seen one of them casually slip something into their pocket or bag? Many teens would probably answer “yes.”
No matter how people try to play it off like it’s no big deal, shoplifting is a big deal. It is stealing. And stealing, obviously, is against the law. There are no if, and’s, or but’s about it.
There are two types of shoplifters: Professional shoplifters, the ones who take expensive items that they can resell and make money off of, and the casual shoplifters, who don’t usually go into a store with the intention of stealing, but rather see the opportunity to take something and then just do it.
Most teens are casual shoplifters. They don’t plan on stealing things. It “just happens” (or so they say). Studies show that 72% of teens who shoplift didn’t plan on taking anything. Why would they steal, then?
- Peer pressure. Many teens steal when they see their friends or other people around them stealing. They want to fit in with the group, or they want to seem cool. Studies do show that “popular” kids are 2-3 times more likely to shoplift than other kids.
- They want things their classmates have, but they can’t afford it. Again, they want to fit in. They don’t have any money, their parents can’t afford it or won’t buy it for them, so they steal it so they can show it off to their friends.
- The rush. Some people get a rush from things that are dangerous and that they know can get them in a lot of trouble. They want to see how far they can push the limits, see what they can get away with without getting caught. It’s fun and exciting to them.
- Challenge authority. Some teens do it to basically say “screw you, I can do whatever I want” to authority and the government.
- They want attention. Just like a lot of teens who drink, do drugs, or cut, some teens steal when they want attention from their parents or peers.
- They’re poor. While a lot of people who shoplift actually have plenty of money to pay for what they’re stealing, some offenders really are just poor and can’t afford nice things for themselves.
Whatever their reason is, shoplifting is never okay. It is against the law and, if caught, you will get in lots of trouble. Many people don’t realize how big of a deal shoplifting is.
Here’s what can happen to shoplifters. They might…
- Be arrested and handcuffed in the store in front of everyone
- Face charges for theft
- Be banned from stores and malls
- Get a criminal record, making it extremely difficult for them to get a job or get into college someday
- Feel guilty
- Lose friends who don’t think it’s cool that they steal
- Lose their self-respect, and even lose respect for others
- Spend some time in a jail cell
- If they don’t get caught right away, it could turn into a bigger problem like them stealing from family and friends
Right now, shoplifting has become a bigger problem than it’s ever been. More teens are unemployed, and families have tighter budgets, which researchers believe is a contributing factor to the rise in shoplifting. For this reason, companies and stores aren’t going easy on teens when it comes to prosecuting offenders. Many stores who used to only prosecute shoplifters age 18 and older have lowered the age to 16, or some even younger. If you’re 15 and you steal a $10 belt, they don’t care; you will be in trouble with the police.
I mean, think about it: Even major companies are literally losing thousands of dollars just because of shoplifters. If more people were successful in shoplifting, people who work for those companies would probably lose their jobs. One way that companies are able to get by losing that much money is raising the prices for their items… Yep, that’s right. If you shoplift, shoppers will pay for what you stole by paying more for their items. That’s not cool, is it?
If you have a friend who you know shoplifts, don’t be afraid to confront them about it. It can be awkward, but really, it can save them a trip to jail and a criminal record in the long run. Tell them that you don’t think stealing is right, and you don’t feel comfortable being around them when they do it. Make sure they know that, yes, shoplifting IS a big deal and they CAN get arrested for it if they get caught. You should probably stop shopping with them, too… Because if you’re around while they get caught, you will get questioned and may even get in trouble for not stopping it.
Most things that people steal aren’t things that are necessary to survive… Seriously, you can live without that expensive shirt. Is it really worth it?