4 Teens’ Options for Dealing with Anxiety
The feeling of stress is one aspect of life that almost everyone can relate to. We all experience stress from feeling under pressure as a result of a situation at some point. Once the “stressor,” as it is commonly known, is gone, we typically feel relieved and our stress has subsided.
The physical and mental health of those who are constantly stressed out can suffer from a variety of issues. There is no doubt that if you Google “stress reduction,” you will find solutions like using coping mechanisms, eating a healthy diet, and getting lots of rest and exercise. Anxiety is very different from stress, even though both can be managed in our daily lives. Because anxiety is a feeling we experience when we are unable to predict how a situation will turn out and are afraid of what might occur or the unknown, it is a little more difficult to understand. In contrast to stress, which disappears once a pressure-producing situation has passed, anxiety tends to linger even in the absence of a stressful circumstance. The fact that we can experience anxiety without even being aware of the source of our anxiety makes things even more perplexing!
There are numerous ways that anxiety can manifest itself in a teen’s life. Teenagers I’ve worked with have spoken of a startling feeling of dread, as if something terrible was about to occur, but they were unsure of what. Some teenagers experience anxiety at home when they must talk to their parents about issues at school, such as grades and conflicts with their peers. According to recent studies, 8% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Teens who experience anxiety may become vulnerably self-conscious and believe they are inferior to others. Imagine for a moment that you are constantly thinking that no one likes you, that you will fail your upcoming test, and that nothing will ever improve. Wow, can you even begin to comprehend what it would be like to worry all the time? Teenagers experience anxiety all too frequently, but what is more concerning is that data indicates that only about 18% of teens receive any kind of counseling or mental health services to address it. Teenagers can numb their unspoken anxiety by using marijuana or self-harm as self-medication. Teenagers frequently use self-medication as their only form of anxiety management because they are unaware of any other options.
Parents can discuss four key topics with their teenagers to help lessen the severity of anxiety.
1. Snooze for more rest!
Teenagers who struggle with anxiety may have trouble falling asleep or may not get enough sleep, which worsens the situation. I frequently observe teenagers (as well as adults) chugging energy drinks to get through the day. Teenagers need up to 10 hours of sleep per night, according to recent sleep studies by the National Sleep foundation. What a coincidence that the same percentage of adolescents who report having anxiety also report getting enough sleep. Making a routine that allows them to unwind, relax, and fall asleep at a time that will give them 8–10 hours before they need to wake up for school can help a teen get a good night’s sleep. Encourage your teen to perform a service for themselves that they will appreciate when they have to get up in the morning.
2. You are what you eat
If you notice that your teen mostly eats potato chips, soda, or anything else in a wrapper as a snack, you may want to substitute fruit and vegetable snacks in their place. The way a developing teen’s body responds to stress and anxiety as well as how their mind and body process junk food and skipping meals can be greatly impacted by poor eating habits.
3. Get up and get moving
Teenagers must engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, which they might not be doing at school. Teens can exercise without participating in after-school sports; whether they skateboard, bike, or walk the dog, what matters is that their bodies are producing endorphins. The body’s natural stress relievers, endorphins, can also improve our moods.
4. Talk it out instead of holding it in.
Many teenagers don’t talk about their anxiety because they think nobody will understand them or can’t do anything to help. Teenagers may be reluctant to discuss their concerns with their parents if there is a dispute that is making them feel stressed or anxious. The thoughts, beliefs, and underlying causes of the anxiety can be discovered by talking to a therapist about it. Teens who want to overcome their anxiety must first recognize it. A therapist can assist teenagers in developing new perspectives on their emotions as well as specific coping mechanisms to help them relax when they’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Parents can support their children in addition to the four key areas by promoting healthy behaviors and establishing routines at home to lessen stress. Above all, get them talking about what they find stressful and if they have a tendency to worry a lot. Tell your teen that feeling stressed or anxious is normal and that you can manage it.