Anxiety and stress are often parts of an adolescent’s experience. Some teens might be very vulnerable to anxiety and even develop a mental illness, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). However, whether your teen has a mental illness or not, the following tools can help ease their experience of stress and reduce anxiety not only during adolescence but throughout their life.
Encourage Your Teen to Use Relaxation Techniques on a Regular Basis
You might help your child learn relaxation techniques. And you might even practice those techniques with your teen, especially if you want to encourage a regular routine of relaxation. For example, a few relaxation tools which can be included into your daily schedule are:
- Yoga – Yoga is a practice, a form of exercise, which invites an integrated experience of body and mind. Its effects can be experienced immediately as well as over time.
- Meditation – Meditation is also a very calming practice that can also produce healing experiences. Although meditation might be difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards.
- Deep Breathing – Deep breathing can be an essential tool, especially when your teen needs to relax right in the middle of a stressful moment. Helping your child develop the habit of deep breathing can help prevent them from choosing another tool to escape or avoid emotions, such as substance use, risky behavior, or self-harm.
Encourage Your Teen to Journal
Journaling is a great way to examine thoughts, beliefs, and patterns. For instance, journaling can help your teenager examine his or her self-talk, which in turn can help them become more aware of thoughts that create anxiety. Often, if not always, thoughts and the inner dialogue create anxious feelings. The thoughts that take place in response to the stress of school, peer pressure, and other forms of psychological tension is worthy of exploration. In their journal, a teen can write down their thoughts and feelings about a particular past event and explore what happened. To encourage this sort of exploration, you might purchase a journal or sketchpad for them to use.
Remind Your Teen to do Activities They Enjoy
If your teen is really feeling weighed down by anxiety, they may begin to pull away from friends or social activities. However, those activities may bring them a sense of pleasure and relaxation. They might feed them in ways that help reduce anxiety. Even if your teen didn’t want to spend time with friends one afternoon, you might encourage them to paint, dance, or write poetry. Be creatively expressive is a great outlet for emotional pain.
Work With a Therapist
If necessary, have your teen work with a mental health provider. Individual therapy for your adolescent is an excellent way to provide professional mental health support. Having another adult your teen trusts can be the key to facilitating an easier transition to adulthood. Since your teenager might be breaking away from you as the parent in order to establish his or her independence and sense of self, a therapist can be a role model and even mentor. Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly, therapeutic sessions can explore the underlying causes for the anxiety as well as any other intense feelings that tend to lead to problems in a teen’s life.
These are suggestions caregivers can pass on to their teens to help reduce anxiety.