How Peer Pressure Affects Mental Health

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Teenagers enjoying each others company and making memories

Elise Banks , Staff Writer

During the span of a person’s teenage years, trends of all types have come and gone… and come again. From silly bands to the renegade, teenagers have participated in many trends that have affected them individually or in their own community. Popular culture for each generation affects them and their mindsets, and those thoughts and opinions have a huge impact on their community and their outlook on life.

Peer pressure has long since been an issue. Peer pressure is when someone is influenced by another person to do something. Most commonly, it is seen in a high school atmosphere and more times than not, affects teenagers in a negative light. Oftentimes, peer pressure can lend a hand to trends, whether that’s with reinforcing them or spinning them in a negative direction.

Sophomore Rahma Hamed seems a bit more open minded to how some trends came to be. “I believe trends are formed by a combination of social norms and our current desires. When something that is desired is now socially acceptable, it forms the trends that we see daily. Also, more often than not, outdated trends are re-popularized and sometimes even modernized.” and we’ve seen this repeatedly through history with mom jeans, scrunchies and many other popular trends.

Peer pressure through trends can be recognized in small and big communities. Some examples are pressure to choose what political sides you’re on or to buy a certain pair of shoes. But peer pressure is not just assigned to just one age group. Most adults experience peer pressure in their workplace just as much as students do in school.

Although it is hard to voice your own opinion, and fight through peer pressure, allowing your voice to be heard means you are giving other people hope and courage to change their community for the better. “When someone chooses not to follow a trend, they are breaking past the societal walls set up. It is often because they simply do not want to or are not comfortable participating in said trend. This can be both a good and bad thing because trends can have both good and bad effects,” Sophomore Isabella Stark, states. Sometimes society tends to pick on and bully an individual who decides not to participate in certain trends which can lead to things like cancel culture.

Good or bad, peer pressure to do certain trends can leave a person mentally drained and exhausted. It can lower confidence and can allow for distancing from family and friends. This can lead to mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Pressuring others to do something they don’t necessarily want to do can have more side effects than originally anticipated so it’s best to not attempt to persuade people to do things.

Society has gotten better as a whole to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, but it can be overwhelming sometimes to have your own voice heard while so many people are shoving their own opinion down your throat. Starting off small, such as a post on Instagram or telling your friends and family can spark change to fight against societal norms. By having the courage to speak up, you are starting something that could change many lives.