In America, 25% of teens experience anxiety while 6% suffer from a “severe” anxiety disorder. It can feel extremely overwhelming at times, but anxiety can be managed by using at-home coping methods. If your teen often has anxiety, here are some solutions they can easily incorporate into their daily routine.
Ignore Negative Thoughts
We can use the excuse that it just came to mind, or it just popped into our heads, but we do have the power to harness positive thoughts. Notice when you’re thinking negatively and stop yourself. See if you can turn that thought into something optimistic; instead of thinking that something bad will happen, focus on what good can come of it. Otherwise, move on from the thought. You don’t need that negativity—it’s only going to make your anxiety worse.
Of course breathing is necessary—we have to do it in order to survive. But being mindful of our breathing is another thing. Think of a yogic breath, one that has a longer inhale and exhale. If you know you’re in a stressful situation or about to be in one, focus on your breath. Listen to each inhale and exhale to calm yourself down. Any time you feel that familiar sense of dread and fear creep in, take a moment to breathe deeply.
Moving your body is a great way to counter stress and prevent anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good, and can lower our stress levels. Make it a habit to do some form of physical activity every day, even if it’s just a light walk around the neighborhood or to and from school. Simply walking can help you clear your mind of anxious thoughts.
Cut Down Your Caffeine Intake
If you’re a regular coffee or soda drinker, it can help to reduce how much you consume of your favorite beverage. Too much caffeine can induce anxiety and even lead to panic attacks. It might be challenging at first, so start small by only having one coffee a day, and then over time, cut that down to one every other day. Before you know it, you’re only having a cup every few weeks, and you’ll feel much better.
Keep a Journal
Using a journal helps us to express emotions that we find difficult to deal with or talk about. If you’re not comfortable speaking to someone else about your anxiety, write about it—no one but you ever has to see your journal. Doing so can also help you process feelings and thoughts, and may make it easier for you to eventually take the next step to discussing your emotions out loud.
Take Up a Positive Hobby
Find a hobby that will let you relax. For some people, that might be taking a dance class; for others, it might be building a model plane. When you find a hobby that brings you pleasure, do it regularly and make sure you’ve set aside time for it—don’t try to do it when you’re rushed or have lots of other things to do. Let it be your special time to yourself.
Get Some Rest
Stress can interrupt your regular sleeping patterns, but getting enough rest will help you feel more relaxed throughout the day. To ensure you get the recommended eight hours of sleep, establish a regular bedtime and avoid your computer, phone or TV right before you go to bed. You’ll keep your mind clear, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Feature Image: Jordan McQueen