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Children's Health

Personality Clues for Teenagers

Understand your personality traits and make amazing choices
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Are you a stress-sensitive teen?

If you identified with Scenario 1, you may be a responsive or stress-sensitive teen who reacts readily to the pressures of life. If someone upsets you, it may take you a longer time to recover than your more stress tolerant or resilient friend. Stress-sensitive teens get highly anxious when overloaded with commitments and then have great difficulty making decisions. They strongly react to challenges in life and may have physical symptoms such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, or stomachaches, because they internalize tension.

"Responsive teens often see their peers taking on many commitments at school and after school," Sundstrom explains. "While these sensitive teens want to compete and fit in with the crowd, they usually find the extra commitments far more challenging and have extreme difficulty when they overextend."

Sundstrom recommends that stress-sensitive or responsive teens spend time understanding themselves so they can develop the proper pacing and get the emotional support they need. "If responsive teens take on more than they can reasonably handle, they easily get stressed out, even ill. Once they're in overload, they are more prone to cope in unhealthy ways, with eating disorders, cigarette smoking or alcohol and drug use. Many responsive or stress-sensitive teens risk suffering depression, and even suicidal tendencies, when they are overwhelmed."

Are you a stress-tolerant teen?

If you identified with Scenario 2, you are probably more stress tolerant or resilient. Resilient teens deal with life's pressures in a calm manner. Nothing seems to throw them. They handle disappointments and frustrating situations just as they handle exciting times - with emotional balance. Resilient teens rarely get upset or nervous, and when they do, they snap back the next day, ready to take on more challenges.

Sundstrom points out that many choices in high school and college hinge on personality traits. "If you are the outgoing, resilient teen, you might want to live on campus and have a roommate. If you are the responsive, stress-sensitive teen, you might need a private room with no roommate, so you can close the door and be alone when you begin to feel stressed."

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