Helping an Anxious Teen Stay Calm
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental disorder present within the general population. As a teen, having control over your emotions can be difficult, especially if you are an anxious teen. Typical symptoms of an anxious teen include increased worrying, tension, tiredness, and fear.
These symptoms in teens often prevent them from living normal lives and keeping up with their everyday routines. It can be detrimental to their success in school and on their relationships with their peers.
Trying to stay calm is usually a helpful tactic for an anxious teen, but it is often easier said than done. A recent article by Psychology Today suggests tips on how to help anxious teens remain calm.
Three Tips on Helping an Anxious Teen
1. Mindfulness. Be aware of one’s thoughts and sensations is an effective tool for handing the emotional rollercoaster linked to anxious teens. Arnie Kozak, Ph.D., states:
“With mindfulness, introverts with social anxiety can learn to observe their experience without reacting to it in a way that makes it worse…They can feel the arising of heat, pressure, and tension in the body and bring their attention to rest in the body and on their breath. This helps to take attention away from maladaptive thoughts about how they are going to be embarrassed, and so forth.”
2. Breath regulation. Breath regulation is believed to be a powerful tool for an anxious teen. By concentrating on your breath, it helps you become centered in the present moment, as well as providing a host of benefits for both the mind and body. Slowing and deepening the breath activates the nervous system’s relaxation response, which ultimately slows heart rate and increases oxygen intake and circulation. This, in turn, increases calmness and clarity.
3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered the treatment of choice for an anxious teen. The advantage of CBT is its ability to prompt people with anxiety to notice and challenge the difficult thought that arise in such situations.
Michel Mennesson, M.D., states:
“When a teenager has distorted self-perception, such as perceiving themselves as being unlikable or unlovable, or having significant body image issues,”—which are causes linked to anxious teens— “CBT can be used to address these distorted beliefs.”
If your teen is still suffering from anxiety, there are programs available that can help.