Saturday, September 16, 2023

How To Manage Teenage Stress

I Danced/rapped/drew It Out

Stress Management Tips for Kids and Teens!

Creative expression comes from deep within. Some things are created simply to be enjoyed. Creations can represent something of clear or hidden meaning. Sometimes brilliance is found in words, other times through the body: hands , voice , or bodies . Find a way to express yourself that makes you feel good.

Getting Help Managing Your Teenagers Stress

Stress is a pretty normal part of adolescence and life in general. But sometimes its a little more serious than that. It can become chronic or lead to emotional problems if not addressed soon enough. If youre concerned about your teenagers emotional or physical well-being, you can get help immediately from a professional such as your pediatrician or a counselor. You can also get free confidential, non-medical counseling through Military OneSource or military and family life counselors:

  • Contact military and family life counselors. Find them through your installations Military and Family Support Center.
  • Get support by talking with your units chaplain. Find contact information locally through your Military and Family Support Center.
  • If you feel as though your teen is in crisis, you can contact the Military Crisis Line 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255 and Press 1. You can also start a conversation via online chat or text 838255.

You cant protect your kids from stress or manage it for them, but you can help them learn ways to handle it. Your teenager needs your help identifying sources of stress and figuring out how to reduce it. If you learn to develop a subtle, nonjudgmental and genuine approach, you can be one of your teens most important stress-management resources.

When To Call A Healthcare Provider

Some teens are unable to verbalize why they are stressed or recognize that they need help. Instead, you will need to watch for changes in their behavior in order to determine if they need assistance beyond what you can provide.

Generally, if symptoms last two weeks or longer that could be a sign that your teen needs professional assistance or has an underlying mental health issue. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns. They can offer a treatment plan and refer you to a mental health professional.

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Inability To Manage Their Thoughts

When it comes to their thoughts, most teens do not know how to effectively manage them. So, they may engage in negative self-talk where they think negative things about themselves. Or, they may dwell on something that happened. Both situations can increase stress levels.

“Along with self-regulating their emotions, most teens have also not learned to manage their thoughts,” says Kaufman Rees. “Stress largely comes from how we talk to ourselves about the things that are happening in our lives.”

Allison Gilbert: In Your New Book Goodbye Anxiety: A Guided Journal For Overcoming Worry You Offer Numerous Strategies For Helping Teens Manage Stress What Are Your Top Three Recommendations

Stress Management for Teens

Terri Bacow: Number one is breathing. This is a tried and true strategy. The best thing about focusing on breathing is that you always have this tool with you, and you cant leave it at home.

Heres how you do it:

Stop what youre doing. Breathe in through your nose. Pause. And then exhale slowly. You can do each part for a count of four, but it really doesnt matter. Pick a number or length of time that works best for you. Breathing instantly makes you feel calmer. I suggest taking a breathing break whenever anxious-thinking begins to feel overwhelming.

My second strategy is to identify when and why youre feeling anxious. Can you name the specific worry or concern? Labeling our feelings is helpful because it allows us to look at them from a distance. By identifying whats bothering us, whats making us feel anxious, we can try to consider our challenges as if theyre happening to a friend, and not us. A great question to ask yourself when youre feeling anxious is, What would I tell a friend to do in this exact situation?

Third is self-compassion. We are very quick to criticize ourselves, and this releases stress hormones. In contrast, when we take care of our emotions, when we offer ourselves a bit of self-compassion, we release endorphins , and that makes us feel better.

TB: May I add a fourth?

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Recognize And Prepare For Stressful Periods

If you make sure to reflect on your mood and your progress, you should be able to recognize when a stressful period is approaching. Even without tracking your mood, increased schoolwork or a potential row with a friend are sure signs you will be going through more stress than usual.

When you feel the first signs of a stressful period, take immediate action. Brace yourself emotionally for anything that may be coming your way. Do activities that relax you, eat healthy foods, and spend time with someone that lifts your mood.

You cant be stress-free every single day of your life, but the trick is to accept it and actively work toward managing stress.

Learn What Works For You

Just because something is not listed here does not mean it wouldnt work. If it works for you, it works. Learn to express emotions on a regular basis so that stress does not build up inside. Let feelings out a little bit at a time. Most importantly, identify and own what is inside. Dont fear it or bottle it up. Releasing feelings in an intentional way is an important strategy to cope with and manage stress.

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Stress Management For Pre

Stress management is important for pre-teen and teenage mental health and wellbeing. You can help your child learn to manage their stress.

Acknowledge your childs stress If you notice that your child is stressed, let them know that youve noticed and that youre there to support them. Responding to your child with warmth and compassion can help your child be kinder to themselves. When teenagers treat themselves with self-compassion, it can reduce the effects of stress and help your child bounce back during or after difficult times.

Work out whats causing the stress If your child knows whats causing the stress, it can be easier for them to deal with it. You can help by getting your child to write down all the things theyre doing. Then they can think about how they feel about these things. For example, do some of them make your child feel tense or stop them from sleeping?

Remember that good things can be stressful too, and stress can also come from having too much to do.

Work out how to handle stressful things You could start by helping your child prioritise which things need attention first, and which can wait.

Some stressful things can be changed. For example, if your child gets stressed because theyre always running late in the morning, they might be able to reduce the stress by getting ready the night before or waking up earlier.

Create A Support Network

Recognizing and Managing Teen Stress

Multiple studies have shown that social relationships improve mental and physical health. The more support we have, the more resilient we are against stress.

Young people can build a support network to guard against teen stress, made up of people they trust who will listen closely to them and empathize with what theyre going through. A teens support network can include family, peers, guidance counselors, and mentors. A mental health professional can also provide support.

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Dance With Yourselflike The Idol That You Are

Credit: SIM Graphic Design

In his 1980s hit, Billy Idol sings about dancing with himself because he cant get the girl, but you can dance alone to relieve your stressbecause its fun.

Play your favorite fast tracks and get crazy like no-ones watchingbecause nobody is watching. If you have a pet, they dont count, and they may even join and contribute to the stress-relieving effects of dancing.

You can make a playlist for when you are feeling stressed and want to jump around in your room. The physical motion helps shake off any negative energy thats cooped up inside.

Get Back To Basics And Develop An Agreeable Routine

There is a possibility that your teen may have been stressed for longer periods of time than you are aware of and as a result, has developed some poor lifestyle habits. Develop a routine with your teen which is consistent for example sleep routine , reducing time on their mobile phones and social media exposure, eating regular healthy meals and snacks throughout the day and exercise for 30 minutes every day. These healthy lifestyles can have an impact on your teens ability to manage stress more effectively.

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Journal About Your Daily Trials And Tribulations

Writing is an amazing way to relieve stress. The trick is that you need to do it regularly.

Whether you prefer laptops or notebooks, take your writing tools and set aside a specific time for journaling at least several times a week. Pour all your thoughts into a string of sentences that dont need to make any sense or be grammatically flawless. Youll benefit from writing about your days because:

  • Acknowledging your stress is enough to make a majority of it go away
  • Transforming your emotions into words has the same positive effects as pouring your heart out to a real person
  • Reflecting on your struggles helps you realize why you are struggling and how to prevent it next time

You should also take care to note any positive occurrences in your life. Whether you write about a delicious coffee you had or your crush returning your text messages, including happy moments helps you:

  • Realize you always have something to look forward to
  • Be grateful for positive aspects of life
  • Acknowledge what brings a smile to your face and seek that out actively

A bonus advantage of journaling is that you practice your writing skills so you can write better school papers, internship cover letters, and personal statements for college.

Good Stress Versus Bad Stress

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We all experience both good stress and bad stress.

Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work. Good stress encourages us to develop effective coping strategies to deal with our challenges, which ultimately contributes to our resilience.

Bad stress occurs when our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the stress and we do not function at our best. The same event can affect children and adults in very individual waysone person may see a carnival ride as thrilling and another may see it as a major stressor. Stress can become distress when we are unable to cope or when we believe that we do not have the ability to meet the challenge. The solution is to adapt, change, and find methods to turn that bad stress into good stress.

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Develop And Stick To Healthy Habits

Exercising often, keeping a steady sleep schedule, and sticking to a healthy diet are crucial for alleviating the stress that comes with your daily woes and responsibilities. Combined, the three habits:

  • Help keep you energized
  • Have lasting positive effects on your mood
  • Keep you physically healthy
  • Boost motivation and productivity

All three habits influence each other. For example, when you exercise regularly, you naturally feel sleepy when you should go to sleep. Eating healthy makes you strong and gives you the energy you need to stick to your workouts.

Simple Stress Relief Techniques For Teens

Todays teenagers are under a lot of stress: Between school, extracurricular activities, after-school jobs, volunteer opportunities, and family obligations, adolescents can find their daily lives to be stressful. Thats not counting the normal stress of navigating the journey from childhood to adulthood, which is often filled with friendship dramas, dating issues, and boundary-pushing as they try to separate themselves from the authority of their parents. If you are a teen or the parent of a teen, take a look at these seven simple stress relief techniques that can help.

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Name And Express Thoughts And Feelings

Its ok to put emotions into a safe container. Sometimes it leads to the highest level of functioning. Other times its not possible to fully experience emotions at that moment. But they must be processed at some other point. Otherwise, they may come out in odd and inappropriate ways. For example, if breaking a cell phone leads to a breakdown or if getting cut off in traffic results in an explosion of nasty words.

Learn to name each experience and create a space just for it. Naming feelings brings clarity and a sense of control. Emotions feel less chaotic. It becomes possible to figure out ways to deal with problems. Dont be afraid to say it out loud. Im feeling confused, frustrated, sad, angry, hurt, jealous about ________. Whatever it is. Name it.

Then the really hard work begins. Processing emotions is not as simple as naming them. But there are strategies to help handle emotions with confidence. It is often better to process emotions in the company of loved ones or trusted friends. There is no coping strategy as effective as reaching out to and connecting with others.

Set Up Uplifting Night And Morning Routines

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How you begin and end your day is crucial for your overall mood.

When you wake up grumpy and start performing your responsibilities while you are in that sour mood, its hard to shift your perspective later. Your day is likely to become more and more stressful as it progresses.

The same goes for going to bed. Stressed people tend to overthink before falling asleep. They analyze each little occurrence or conversation and anticipate all kinds of uncomfortable situations for the future.

Falling asleep after a session of negative self-talk affects your first thoughts the following day and the general mood in which you will wake up. It is indeed a vicious cycle.

Enter positive night and morning routines. Give yourself a head start and wake up half an hour before you start your daily responsibilities. Devote that extra time to something that makes you happy. Whether its walking your dog while listening to a podcast or sipping coffee while reading an engaging novel, make sure to spend the first hour of your day doing what you love.

In the evening, take a break from ranting about your daywhether to a friend or in your headand empty your mind for sleep. Its the perfect time to do meditation, but anything else goes too. As youre lying in your bed, visualize your perfect day or play soothing sounds from the Relax Melodies app.

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Take Stress Tests And Seek Professional Help

Credit: Annie Spratt

Consistent self-growth means you are willing to reflect on your progress. Do stress tests to determine how frequent or severe your stress symptoms are.

You can find free stress tests on the internet and complete them in under ten minutes. The results should tell you whether your stress levels are mild, moderate, or severe. If you find that you are overly stressed, dont hesitate to seek expert help. Talking with a mental health professional about your thoughts, emotions, and stress and anxiety symptoms can shed light on what really is the issue and prove to be the help you need.

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    Release Emotions To Manage Stress

    Emotions are a natural and essential part of being human. They can bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Sure, its preferred to experience emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy. But there are also times that sadness, frustration or grief will be experienced. As teens, its not uncommon to feel as though emotions are out of our control. But there are healthy ways to manage and release emotions. Its one important strategy for effectively managing stress.

    Weve all heard that we should, Live life to the fullest. It sounds simple but it can be hard to do in real life. Really living requires being comfortable experiencing the full range of emotions. All emotions offer something. Dont run away from pain or sadness. Youll risk losing the emotional depth that reinforces your ability to care for others. These feelings build strong relationships. Experiencing tough situations and all of the feelings that go along with them builds strength and resilience the ability to bounce back after hardship.

    Make The Right Choices

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    Some of the best and most positive strategies to address stress may take work or practice. On the other hand, some negative coping strategies offer near instant relief, making them attractive. A number of these quick fixes include drinking, drug use, self-mutilation, sexual behaviors, thrill-seeking, and unhealthy eating patterns to name a few. They may offer fleeting relief but they can be dangerous. They can lead to lower self-esteem, conflict in relationships, and poor performance in school. And this just adds to the stress, creating more need to escape.

    Its important to remember there are choices. Healthy choices offer the ability to gain control and resolve issues.

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