Just Say 'No'

When the pressure from peers simply get too strong, asking advice from your parents and well-meaning people who truly care for you can guide you in the right direction.

A CONSTANT source of pressure on teenagers and young adults are their peers. To fit the roles dictated by one's peers, some teenagers today find themselves in situations they don't realy want to be in. There are even cases where they end up doing things they won't really do if they were not pressures by friends to do so.

Peer pressure is the feeling of being influenced by friends, of their own age group, to make a choice whether good or bad. Worries can arise when the pressure leads to bad decisions. As technology invetably weaves itself to the generation's lifestyle, a survey conducted among social media networks found out that many Facebook users actually do not like Facebook, a social networking sit that has grown so rapdily up to 500 million users internationally. Fifty percent of Facebook users do not like Facebook but are pressured to subscribe to the site because many of one's friends and family are on it, according to MG Siegel of http://www.techcrunch.com/ a weblog dedicated to profiling various websites and companies. Likewise, according to http://www.pingdom.com/ a website monitoring service based in Sweden, almost 30 percent of the 500 million and counting Facebook users are aged 24 and below.

Social interaction
The importance of social interaction makes out-of-school youth face higher risks of getting impregnated at a young age. Likewise, youth in depressed communities lack parental counseling because the tendency for family heads is to focus more on earning a living than talking to their children about sensitive issues like sex. Returning to the basic importance and strong influence of friends upon a person;s growth and well-being, and the need to compensate support caused by such voids during adolescence, makes peer pressure an important factor of concern for the youth today.

Friends may influence peers into trying cigarettes, alcohol, or worse, illegal drugs. Peer pressure may lead to dangerous activities and irresponsible decisions. Adolescence is a stage of discovery of oneself and character.

When in doubt, stop. Seek help from your parents or a professional like your school counselor. Asking the question "should you or should you not" is better answered by people who truly care about you. Don't let your fear of isolation push you into actions you might regret in the end. Peer pressure is a battle worth fighting, and if you can, try to be the good influence for someone else while at it.

Don't lose yourself in the crowd
ZENHealth listed down some inspiring tracks to include in your playlist to help you say "No":

"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
"You are beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can't bring you down." Channel your inner beauty and let it show. This song is sure to remind you that you shouldn't let peer pressure take the best out of you.

"It's Only Life" by Kate Voegele
Find courage and inspiration from this song's catchy melody. Matched with Kate Voegele's powerful vocals, remind yourself of your strength and don't ever give up on yourself.

"Under Pressure" by David Bowie/Queen
Listen to this upbeat track and let the music whistle away those worries of isolation. Find comfort in knowing that everybody's a little bit pressures, but like you, things can be taken under control with the right decision.

as published on ZEN Health magazine, September-October 2010.


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