G. Stanley Hall was the first psychologist who began to explore the period of adolescence in the early part of the twentieth century. He saw this stage of life consisting of emotional storms, a time that is turbulent, unruly, and challenging. Since then, that image of the teenage years as being incredibly difficult has stayed in the minds of parents and caregivers.
However, adolescence doesn’t have to be this way. Although adolescence may come with turmoil, there are ways to support yourself through its challenges. Because of this it’s important to have tools you can use to make your way through the wilderness of your adolescent years. With the right coping tools you can avoid getting into arguments with your parents, friends, and teachers. You can also avoid getting into conflicts with yourself. For instance, you might struggle with depression but feel the stigma of mental illness among friends. Or you might not how your parents feel about drug use and want to avoid it but feel the pressure of drugs and drinking among your friends.
The typical feelings of adolescence, such as discouragement, not fitting in, uncertainty about the future, an inability to meet the demands of parents and teachers, can be reduced when you have the right amount of support. In fact, those who have support from friends or family members can move through this stage of life without significant emotional turmoil. There are challenges that come with the transition from childhood to adulthood, and most teens can get through this change without significant behavioral issues or disturbance, particularly if they have the support and the right coping tools.
A few ways of facing the challenges of adolescence include:
Writing out your feelings. When you’re feeling troubled, you can turn to an empty notebook. The notebook is a great resource because it’s not going to grimace or get angry at what you write. It will accept you totally and completely. You can be entirely open and honest when you’re journaling everything out. The only obstacle is you – some teens might feel shame about what they write and this feeling might keep them from admitting it to themselves.
Painting out your experiences. Another way to dive into your experiences as a teen is to paint or draw. You might do this on your own, or you might engage the help of a therapist. There are many therapists who are trained in using art as a means for healing and deepening the inner relationship. Art therapy is a form of treatment that uses creativity as a means to express feelings and thoughts. Expressing yourself creatively can allow what might be difficult to say or experience. Expressing yourself through art activates a different part of the brain that speaks a different language. Plus, as teens are navigating the terrain of adolescence, art therapy can be particularly useful as their brain continues to develop.
Dancing out your feelings. Although this might not apply to all the male adolescents reading this article, dancing can be a wonderful way of expressing yourself. If you’re angry, frustrated, joyful, excited, or bored, dancing it out can lift your mood almost every time. Because dancing is a physical experience, it can raise your heart rate, release dopamine, and immediately lift your spirits.
Adolescence does not have to include storms and turbulence. However, when there are periods of adolescence that are challenging, you can turn to creativity. By writing, drawing or dancing, you can explore your inner world and test the limitations of your thoughts and beliefs. You can uncover the limiting ways you think you need to behave or live your life. However, with creativity, you can partner with imagination and uncover new ways to see your life and perhaps blaze a new trail for yourself.