Recognizing the Impact of Stress on Girls

In this ever changing society no girl is immune to stress. Studies from Yale Children’s Hospital and Case Western Reserve University confirm what mental health professionals are seeing in their practices; Stress is now occurring at much younger ages and it is vital to teach coping skills before stress escalates into more serious mental health issues.

Most Common Factors Related to Stress in Girls at Each Grade Level

Elementary School

Middle School

High School

Sibling rivalary

Moving from elementary

Getting into college

Friendship struggles

Increased friend drama

Parent discord

Any changes in family

Academic pressure increases

Sleep deprivation

Death or Loss of Pet

Developmental changes

Over scheduled

Academic pressures

Choosing between sleep and grades


Lack of sleep/nutrition

Trying out for different activties

Pressure to succeed


Strategies for Reducing Stress in Girls?
  • Practice deep breathing, think of a relaxing color and breath in, think of the color of stress and breath out
  • Connect with someone, call a friend, research shows when you reach out to someone and connect your stress hormone cortisol will decrease, this does not work with a text
  • Exercise, take a walk, run, yoga, practice sport, dance to your favorite “happy” song
  • Write in a journal, if you’re feeling down say 5 things that you are thankful for
  • Put yourself first, do your nails, take a hot bath and escape for 30 minutes and gain perspective on what’s really important, ask yourself? In a week is this really going to matter?
  • Listen to music, set your alarm/phone to play some fun music when waking up
  • Art projects: be creative, try something new, painting, drawing, collages
  • Move, roll your shoulders, flex and release fingers, tighten and release arms and legs, roll your neck, wiggle your toes
  • Nourish your brain and the rest of your body by eating breakfast, drink water, eat a banana, limit sugar, never skip breakfast
  • Get at least nine hours of sleep, create a schedule for yourself that maximizes your down time and rest.
What parents and teachers can do to Reduce Stress?

Normalize situation: Say “I remember when I was stressed about….”

Display empathy toward their concerns: Practice active listening and summarizing

Examine if you are contributing to stress, regulate sleeping and eating habits and restrict technology late at night

Don’t expect perfection, just progress, sometimes the lesson is how not to give up

Advocate for your daughter and communicate with teachers and schools that homework expectations are overwhelming, implement a no homework night at your school

Download the Girls & Stress Handout