Learning How to Be Resilient Can Help Teens Manage Emotional Distress

Depression and anxiety are common during adolescence. But a new study suggests that brain training can help manage emotional distress.

According to a recent study, teens who develop new skills, such as new emotion regulation strategies, can learn how to manage emotional distress such as anxiety and depression. This is especially helpful for adolescents during and after recovery.

Protecting Against Depression and Anxiety

While there’s no way to avoid negative emotions, we can learn how to manage them.

The study: Science News reports that researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois recently looked at 85 healthy college students to study how certain personality traits “can protect an individual’s brain against symptoms of emotional distress, namely depression and anxiety.”

The article explains that researchers found evidence that there are “common factors in brain structure and personality that can help provide adaptive behavior in order to avoid negative emotions.”

The goal of identifying these personality traits is to come up with techniques for individuals to learn how to manage their anxiety and depression.

One of the study’s authors and a research scientist in psychology, Sanda Dolcos, told Science News,”It means that we can work on developing new skills, for instance, new emotion regulation strategies that have a more positive approach, and can actually impact the brain.”

“This study gives us the coordinates of the brain regions that are important as well as some traits that are important,” said Matt Moore, a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow and co-author of the study.

“As the next step, we can then try and engage this plasticity at each of these levels and then train against a negative outcome,” he said.

New Skills Through Teen Mental Health Treatment

One of the keys to recovering from a mental health disorder is emotion regulation. Emotions are a normal part of life, but many teens experience strong negative emotions that feel overwhelming or out of control. It’s this out of control feeling that leads many to unhealthy behaviors because it’s the only way they know how to avoid or stop the emotions from hurting them.

Without the right tools or strategies, many teens turn to alcohol or substance abuse, self-injury, physical or verbal aggression, and excessive social media use. Others develop eating disorders.

Whether a teen is suffering from depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder, the right treatment program can provide them with the coping skills they need to regulate their emotions.

With healthy strategies, they can better manage and regulate strong emotions both during treatment and after recovery.

There are many healthy ways to cope with negative emotions. At Paradigm, we employ a wide range of emotion regulation strategies, ranging from therapeutic journaling to professional individual therapy.

Here are just some of the ways teens can learn how to cope with negative emotions:

  • Group talk therapy
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Exercise (Yoga, Running, Etc.)
  • Meditation
  • Writing/Journaling
  • Music
  • Art

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