a teen suffering with anxiety - how to help them?

How to Help a Teen with Anxiety?

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We are growing in a world which is full of stressful things and environment. As the boys and girls come into their teenage years, they face new challenges in their lives. In their teenage most of them found themselves in a shell which they can’t deal with; the major one is the anxiety issues.

Many researchers have found that anxiety issues are increasing in teenagers as they experience new challenges and opportunities in that phase of their life. Teenagers who have strong minds with good mental health can deal with these kinds of problems very quickly.

For others, anxiety doesn’t go away, and they get confused and can’t focus on their daily routine work. It gets tricky for those teenagers to deal with depression or anxiety at that young age.

Let’s learn how to help a teen with anxiety!

What makes teens and young adults anxious?

Anxiety is a normal response to some events and situations, but it’s not healthy to feel anxious all the time. As an adult, you might think about what teens have to be conscious about. They have no responsibility to put food on the table, raise children of their own, or pay the mortgage. Here we’re providing you with several different reasons due to which a child may feel anxious.

High Expectations

Today’s teenagers tend to place high expectations on themselves because they are under a lot of stress. Most teens try their best to score well in school and expect to go to well-reputed universities. Many of them participate in sports activities and keep themselves busy in part-time jobs. Today’s teens not only volunteer but also participate in community events and have chores at home. These expectations keep teens under pressure, making them feel stressed and leaving little time for decompressing and sleeping. And sleep deprivation is one of the significant causes of anxiety.

Parental Disapproval

Most often, teens want their parents’ approval, but they also want to do things that rebel against the parental society and authority. This is frustrating for both teens and parents. Teens feel stressed and anxious when they are met with parental disapproval. At the same time, they never stop doing actions that are not what their parents would have them do. This stage is necessary and natural, but it is stressful for the stakeholders.

Drinking and Drug Use

Many teens are using alcohol and, in some cases, drugs. They’re aware of the side effects and know that their parents will disapprove. Peer pressure might also be involved. All these factors are contributing to teenage anxiety. Some teens become addicted to these substances, which increases anxiety levels even higher.

Depression

The symptoms of depression and anxiety are almost the same, so sometimes it becomes difficult for parents to know which mental health concern is responsible for which symptoms. Today’s teens have depression, which can present at the same time as teenage anxiety.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair
  • Social isolation
  • Physical symptoms like stomach aches, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders
  • Trouble in making decisions
  • Irritability
  • In worst cases, suicidal ideation

Brain Development

Teenagers lack fully developed brains until they are in their early to mid-twenties or even later. They are expected to take on adult responsibilities, but they don’t have the necessary skills to care for themselves. Teens at this stage become frustrated, and frustration mixed with a lack of ability raises teenage anxiety levels.

How to help a teen with anxiety

If your teen has anxiety, there are things you can do over time to help them manage it and feel better. These strategies focus on helping your child to understand themselves and find out what works better for them. The more confident they feel about helping themselves, the more they will believe in their ability to cope.

  • Talk to them about how they feel. If your teenager becomes cautious of speaking at length during a conversation about school achievements or what events are planned into their daily routine, ask them what things make them feel that way. Inquire about their daily routine and ask them what they have enjoyed or not enjoyed during the day. This will provide you with a glimpse into how they feel about their relationships with peers and daily struggles.
  • Give them their own space. If you find out that your teenager has been keeping something important from you, or behaving poorly in school, avoid punishing them and try to respond calmly. It will benefit their well-being. Becoming angry won’t help you find the cause of their mental health; it will make your teen more anxious. Instead, respond compassionately to help build an understanding of what might be troubling them while giving your teen their own space.
  • Encourage them to get daily exercise. Studies revealed that exercise could reduce anxiety level. Both physical and mental health are interlinked. If your teen isn’t involved in a sport, try inviting them to run or walk with you before or after dinner. Besides sport, your child could try painting, drawing, writing in a journal, cooking and baking, and watching a favourite film. Such activities will help them reduce their anxiety.
  • Encourage your teen to eat healthy food. Poor eating habits such as using too much sugar, a high-fat diet can exacerbate anxiety. Try to keep their focus on eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and a lean protein source.
  • Help them in evaluating their schedule. Their tight schedule can make them more anxious. Ask them to drop some of the activities if their obligations stress them out. Exercise your time management skills and help your teen evaluate their schedule.
  • Talk with teens about their social media usage. Have a healthy discussion with your teenager about how social media affects our lives.
  • Spend quality time together. Even if it’s just for a little while, you can help your teen take their mind off their worries by having fun, laughing, and relaxing.

Final Thoughts

If your teen is struggling with anxiety, apply the strategies mentioned above. If they don’t help, then it’s time to see a mental health specialist. The most important thing is to spend time and be aware of your teen’s mental health, ask questions and ask for help.

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