A new study shows that being outdoors can contribute to reducing stress in teens. The psychological benefits of being around green spaces, in general, are receiving growing attention from scientists. Similarly, there is some evidence that exercising in natural environments, as opposed to indoors, improves mental well-being. As a parent you should encourage your teen to get outdoors to increase their mental well-being.
Forest bathing is a concept that refers to “staying in a forest, either walking or simply resting and watching it, and taking in its air for a specified amount of time.” Research concludes that this method cortisol levels were significantly lower in the forest group compared with the control or comparison group. The absence of urban environments contributes to the benefit of forest bathing. Stress can often come from these environments such as school, work, friendships, etc. When teens take time to separate from the chaos of their everyday life they can contribute to reducing their stress.
Stress Management Methods
There are specific ways you can implement stress management techniques with your teen at home. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Exercise and eat regularly.
- Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
- Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
- Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
- Develop assertiveness training skills. For example, state feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways: (“I feel angry when you yell at me.” “Please stop yelling.”)
- Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress. One example is taking a speech class if talking in front of a class makes you anxious.
- Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.
- Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts – with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. “My life will never get better” can be transformed into “I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”
- Learn to feel good about doing a competent or “good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
- Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.
- Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.
Trails Carolina can help
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that helps teens ages 10-17 who are struggling with behavioral and emotional issues. This program uses adventure-based therapy to help students gain a new sense of self-awareness, confidence, and independence. The skills they learn throughout the wilderness program offer long-term benefits towards their ability to successfully self-navigate in the real world. By removing teens from their fast-paced environment into a safe, nurturing, and peaceful environment, they are able to focus on improving and reflecting upon their behavior. Trails Carolina gives students the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!
Contact us @ 800-975-7303