Melissa is a 15-year old from Rochester, NY. She enjoys volunteering and singing. Her favorite subject is English language arts because she wants to be a journalist. Melissa is one of our teen writers and also has her own fabulous advice site for teen girls at: http://girlslife143.webs.com, see more advice for girls at her site!
A teen’s life naturally includes a lot of stress. School work, relationships, drama, competition, home life, and peer pressure all create this stress. With all these pressures in a teen’s life, it’s no wonder some are turning towards religion.
Dealing with stress can really take a toll on teens. As teen’s lives become tougher, normal fears can escalate and become anxiety. Medication and/or counseling is often needed. In fact, noted in the Guest Editorial at http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/104454603321666126, over the past two to three years there has been an immense increase in the prescription of psychotropic medication for teens as well as adults.
In addition to these negative mental states, teens may find themselves relying on drugs and alcohol to solve their problems. Where this may seem to help rid stress temporarily, the result is almost always negative. There can be damage to the body, addiction or depression from the empty feeling that comes along when they’re not high.
Being constantly surrounded by bad influences can be scary for a teen. Sometimes it seems like everyone around you is making bad choices. Teens hear about parties and the events that happen there. The media might confuse a teen by exposing young celebrity pregnancies and drug and alcohol abuse. Religion is a life choice that gives teens the power to restrain from certain pressures, and not to focus so much on the worldly desires around them.
MTV survey shows that young people who consider spirituality the most important thing in their lives are happier than those who don’t. (http://chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/mtv-survey-says-spiritual-teens-are-happier/). It shows that 44% of teens consider spirituality to be the most important thing in there lives. 80% of those teens admit to being happy, but in comparison 60% who don’t believe in that are happy.
Most teens don’t have it very easy. Some are even alone in their struggle with parents who don’t have the time or the willingness to be involved, making the situation even worse. More teens have been reaching out to God when there is no one left. Some are teens that don’t want to give up just yet, and are looking for hope. Religion gives them some way to move forward.
One of my friends from camp grew up in several different abusive homes. She was a foster child, and probably lived in 10 different places throughout her life. When I met her at camp, she told me how she eventually turned to God in her time of need, and she has found a home with people who love her finally. She is a fun loving happy girl, even after everything she has been through. It just proves what a transformation can occur when religion is in teens lives.
Not always will teens label their beliefs as “religion” but instead as a friendship with God. Having someone there helps rid of the high feeling of loneliness or hopelessness they go through each day. It could be like the perfect friend for them. Having a higher power in there lives gives them that feeling that there is a point in life, and that we are worth more than we think of ourselves to be. Not only is it positive for the happiness of the individual, but it also makes them an all around well teen for the most part.
Religion gives teen’s morals, and “mental rules” to follow. This leads them on a positive path not falling into the wrong crowds. In the eyes of God, everyone is accepted and loved. Knowing this, it increases teen’s self esteem as well.
Maybe it’s been in your life all along but you haven’t really noticed it too much. Being involved in your religion is a great opportunity to meet new people as well who share the same interests.
If you’re a teen and want to discover what all this is about, or don’t know what to do yet, here are some ideas. You can join a bible study club in school, join a youth group in your church, or if you feel like making a difference you can volunteer at a soup kitchen! There are so many possibilities to change your life when you feel like there is nothing left.
With all this said, we can conclude that religion and teens is a positive mix. It should be easy to believe that there is something out there for us in our hardest times, if we are willing to find it.