One of the more common mental illnesses among teens is anxiety. When a teen is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety they experience often prevents functioning in school or having healthy relationships. Sure, it’s natural to feel nervous when taking an exam or going out on a first date. But anxiety that gets in the way of what a teen wants or needs to do may be considered a mental disorder.
There are a variety of anxiety disorders that teens can experience. These include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. The types of anxiety disorders may vary in what causes anxiety for a teen. For instance, a teen with Social Anxiety experiences anxiety when in social situations. However, regardless of the type, anxiety disorders are those that are rooted in fear.
If you’d like to support a teen with an anxiety disorder, you might encourage your teen to use one or more of the following tips:
Tip #1: Practice relaxation techniques every day
When your teen is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and panic, the body responds in an excited and heightened way. He or she will see physiological and emotional changes that reflect a body and mind that is stressed. If a teen is willing, he or she could engage in activities and practices that could relax the body and mind. Instead of relying on medication, you might try breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and meditation.
Tip #2: Take good care of the body
Because of the physiological reactions that take place when a person experiences fear, taking good care of the body can help a teen stay balanced and less reactive. When a teen is getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising on a regular basis, they can more likely manage the anxiety they experience.
Tip #3: Have a regular practice of deep breathing
Feeling fear is usually accompanied by shallow breathing. If an adolescent were to become conscious of his or her breathing right in the middle of feeling anxiety, making the breath long and deep, this could shift his or her physiological state. Over time, the fearful responses that certain places, people, or things trigger may lessen in intensity and eventually no longer have the effect they once did. Furthermore, your teen can practice this type of breathing anytime, whether anxiety is present or not. In this way, deep breathing could become a resource when panic strikes.
Tip #4: Connect with others
Teens who experience mental health symptoms need the support of others. When teens feel loved, accepted, and appreciated by others, they are more likely to feel strong and secure. They are more likely to face the challenges they experience with confidence.
Tip #5: Rely upon your spirituality
When teens are connecting with their higher power, they can access resources they may not have known they have. Relying upon your spirituality might mean spending time in prayer, meditation, or going to a church service. For other teens, it might also mean spending time in nature.
These are suggestions for teens who experience an anxiety disorder. With the right support, anxiety doesn’t have to get in the way of your teen’s life.