In a world of go-go-go, societal pressures, family demands, work, and being constantly bombarded by information (both good and tragic), it’s no surprise that about 18% of the American adult population suffers from some form of anxiety disorder. However, even more troubling, is that anxiety disorders affect around 25% of American children ages 13-18 years old, too.
Some of the anxiety kids experience could undoubtedly be from the emotional cues they pick up on from the adults around them. They do tend to notice everything we do! However, it’s also just tough to be a kid. With the pressures of school, extracurricular activities, navigating their futures, friendships and relationships, there’s a lot for our teens to be stressed about, too. Then pair all of that with a growing maturity and consciousness of the world around them, it’s easy to see how they can become confused and overwhelmed.
If you or your girl are dealing with serious anxiety or depression, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help and it is crucial that you do so. If you are unsure of where to turn, you can start by reaching out to your girl’s school guidance counselor for assistance with local resources. However, if you experience only occasional stress and anxiety, and would like some ways to help you better cope when it strikes, here are a few things you and your girl can practice together to give you both some peace of mind.
Exercise releases endorphins, which help us feel happy. By working up a sweat, you will not only help to relieve some of your stress, but you will strengthen your bodies and your bond!
Take a Breather
Deep breathing and meditation help your brain to slow down and release serotonin, a chemical that helps to elevate your mood and get you nice and relaxed. The great thing is not only will this start helping you immediately, but you can put this into practice literally everywhere and anywhere since you don’t need any special equipment.
Do Something Familiar
Studies have shown that by watching a TV show or movie we have already seen or reading a book we have already read can help calm our minds and help us to destress. This is because we can predict the storyline and don’t need to worry about what is going to happen next. Plus, watching or reading about familiar characters is kind of like a visit with old friends!
Eat Your Veggies and Go to Bed
It’s easy to be tempted to snack on your favorite comfort foods when stressed. They taste so good in the moment. However, all that sugar and salt can leave you feeling even more jittery. Also, losing sleep can increase levels of anxiety and fear and lead to irritability. Put your focus on eating nutritious foods and getting to bed at a decent time.
Nature has a special way of calming us down and spending time outside has been linked to increased levels of overall happiness. It has even been shown that young people who spend more time outside are better at handling stressful situations. There’s also a lot of natural aromatherapy outside – from pine to jasmine and more, these scents can help to induce relaxation.
Studies have shown that spending just 45 minutes doing a creative activity such as coloring, crafting, drawing, etc. can reduce stress hormone levels in your body. If you’re not the artistic type, you can also practice things like creative writing or journaling to get the same calming effect.
Use Your Words
Acknowledging your feelings of stress and anxiety and then sharing how you feel with someone you trust can help when feeling overwhelmed. Keeping things to yourself and letting negative feelings fester will only make things worse. You will often find that when you share what you are going through with those close to you, that they have experienced the same things and will understand where you are coming from, which can help you feel better.
Content based off of this original blog post by GSUSA.