Living with stress is hard for anyone. But for teens, this might be the first time they’re learning how to manage and cope with their own stress. Therefore, it’s important to help them find easy, healthy ways to reduce or respond to stress in their lives. Here are a few effective methods worth trying.
1. Deep Breathing
We all breathe, so it’s it not uncommon for us to take this simple, yet vital practice for granted. In fact, deep breathing is a straightforward but effective way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Often when we’re tense, we tend to to take quick, shallow breaths. But slowing down and taking long, steady deep breaths actually allows us to slow down our heart rate and steady our “fight or flight” response system, enabling us to reduce feelings of stress.
2. Listen to Calming Music
Another great way for teens to relieve stress is by listening to music. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music reduces feelings of anxiety and stress, and that even in stressful situations, music helped to lessen emotional and physical responses of worry or anxiety. Therefore, encourage your teen to have some calming music on hand for when they are starting feeling particularly stressed or for when they know they’ll be entering a stressful situation.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is another way that teens can reduce feelings of stress. This concept might be abstract for them, but really it’s quite simple. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to a present moment. In other words, it’s taking the time to draw awareness to and then accept one’s feelings and thoughts in a moment. It does not pass judgement on or criticizes these thoughts or feelings, but instead simply acknowledges them just as they are. There are many tangible meditation, visualization or thought practices that your teen can try to get the hang of mindfulness.
4. Stay Organized
Reducing clutter in their life is another way that teens can manage their stress. Not only does this mean keeping a clean room and house to reduce anxiety, but it also means managing their schedule and building a routine. Put simply, this allows your teen to feel more in control of their day and decreases the amount of unpreparedness or number of surprises that they may experience.
Adding regular exercise into their routine is an extremely important way to promote both physical and mental health in your teen. In fact, it directly helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, according to one study, 32% of teens stated that they feel less stressed after exercising, but only 51% admit to doing a good job of exercising regularly. Therefore, encourage your teen to find a physical activity that they enjoy and can commit to regularly to help lower their feelings of stress.
6. Healthy Eating
Generally speaking, we are able to handle stress in our lives when we are feeling well physically. Therefore, help your teen to take care of their body by eating well. Avoid excessive caffeine as these products can heighten feelings of stress. Try to encourage your family to have relaxed meals with plenty of time to not feel rushed and to digest food well. Try to have as much whole food products (ie: not processed), fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible. At the end of the day, it’s important to not underestimate the extent that our bodies and our minds are interconnected.
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