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Blowing it out of PROPORTION

Teen emotions cause blow ups

LIam Wilcox, Feature Page Editor

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For many people, the teenage years are a time of self-discovery and experimentation.

These years can be an incredible time in a young person’s life, and yet there are some problems with this time as well; for example, teenagers tend to overreact.

Everyone has heard the stereotype of the teenage girl who was totally devastated by the end of a two-week relationship or the straight-A student who got one B on a test, once, and was brought to tears in the middle of class, but there may be good reason for this behavior.

According to NPR, over the past 10 years, researchers have determined that around 12 years old, massive development in the prefrontal cortex begins.

This is the part of the brain associated with calm, logical thinking, and so because of this, teens’ minds are often largely dominated by their emotions rather than logic.

Psychology teacher Heather Hall confirmed this when asked why teens tend to overreact, saying, “The frontal lobe is not completely developed yet, and the prefrontal cortex which is where complex thinking takes place is not developed. Teenagers often don’t have the fully developed ability to rationally think through their reactions. They also have less experience with interactions and reactions to different events.”

Perhaps, insight into the real reasons for these feelings can aid teens in combating them.

If teens see their reactions as a symptom of their developing minds instead of as a fair response, it could lead to them rationalizing instead of overreacting, making everyone happier in the long run.

Hall said practicing mindfulness and self awareness is the key to curbing this self destructive behavior.

“The brain is just like any muscle, the more we work it the stronger it gets, so the more we practice the quieting of the mind, the easier it gets,” she said.

Regardless, it can at least be comforting to know that some of our imperfections are a result of forces beyond our control, and even more comforting, perhaps, to know that they will get better with time.

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