Struggling with anxiety? You’re not alone. Let’s be honest: everyone feels stressed, overwhelmed, worried or anxious from time to time. Whether you’re an adolescent or teenager living with long-term anxiety, or a parent looking for information on how to help your child, you might feel desperate for answers.
Anxiety can make you feel out of control or frightened. You might not feel like yourself. There can be physical manifestations, such as sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, dizziness or nausea. There can also be feelings of hopelessness, worry, or inability to concentrate.
Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s very common. Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Chronic (or long-term) anxiety disorders are thought to affect an estimated 1 in 5 youths today – and that number is growing.
The good news is that there are many techniques out there that can help children, adolescents and teenagers (and their families) cope with anxiety. Even better: anxiety disorders are extremely easy to treat and typically respond well to proper treatment methods.
Although every person is different, here is a list of common and time-tested techniques that can help relieve anxiety amongst children and teenagers of all ages:
Counting to 10
We typically think of “counting to 10” as something we do when we are angry. Did you know this trick works for anxiety, too? The reason it works is because it is a mental distraction technique. In other words, it tricks the brain into thinking about something other than what is causing the anxiety. This allows the brain to stop wasting energy thinking about upsetting situations, and instead returns the mind to a sense of calm.
Stress Reduction and Relaxation Techniques
Anxiety can be a response to stress. Stress and anxiety both can manifest differently for each unique child or adolescent. Learning some techniques for stress reduction and relaxation can be very beneficial in reducing (and even preventing) stress and anxiety. Some techniques might include yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and more.
Go for a Walk (or Run)
Have you ever heard the phrase “go take a walk to clear your mind”? As it turns out, there might be some truth to this old saying after all. Scientists have recently discovered that taking a stroll through nature can soothe the brain of worries, stresses, and – yes – anxieties. The same neurons are activated in our brains whether we are walking, jogging or running. The most important thing is to get up and get moving – especially in nature.
Ask for Help
Have you already tried all the techniques listed above? If so and you still find yourself struggling to overcome your anxiety, it might be time to take the next step. Anxiety can lead to depression, or even addiction, so getting the help you need is crucial. Ask for help from an experienced professional adult. This trusted professional could be a guidance counselor, a teacher, a therapist, or a pediatrician. If you aren’t sure where to turn for help, you could try calling a free anxiety hotline. Chances are high that they’ll be able to point you in the proper direction for further healing. Good luck!