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Anxiety in Teens - A common Problem

May 23, 2018

 

One of the most common problems I encounter within teens is anxiety. Over the last 12 months I have seen a growing number of teens in my workshops and private sessions. Although they come to me for different reasons, the number one reason they come to se e me is because of stress and anxiety.  Of course, not everyone who comes to see me has an anxiety disorder.  There are many who just display normal anxiety symptoms, and then there are some who need more help than others.

 

Here is the thing though most teens do not even know they are dealing with anxiety, or what it even means to be anxious. And therefor they don’t know how to deal with the symptoms they face

 

Here are some types of anxiety I see in the teens I work with –

 

Anxiety from school Stress

Social Anxiety

Panic Attacks

Most likely to occur – anxiety from their relationships

 

In my sessions, most often teenagers report having conflicts with their parents and their friends. These conflicts can lead to significant distress when they come to school or even when they are with their friends. They are anxious when they must go to school, or they feel anxiety when they must speak to their parents about something, afraid it will lead to a “showdown”.

 

Relationships are difficult for adults and even more difficult for teens as they are at an age where they are trying to create more independence, while still needing the support and the comfort of their parents. This internal struggle is one of the causes of their external struggles.

 

There are tools to learn for both moms and teens whereby conflicts and anxiety can be reduced.

 

Growing up, I had major anxiety from relationships with my friends. I wish I knew back then that it was okay to be who I wanted to be. I also wish I was told how to calm my anxiety, because if normal anxiety symptoms are not tended to, then they can turn into an anxiety disorder.

 

A tolerance for letting the emotions you feel in your body, pass through you is a great way to destress. Tell yourself that anxiety is a feeling, it cannot make you or break you. Acknowledge that you are experiencing the most uncomfortable symptoms and know that you can sit through them until they will pass.  COPING (not eliminating) with anxiety is the goal.

 

Breathing exercises are very helpful in calming our nerves. The best way to do this is to take a deep breath on 3 counts, hold for 4 counts and exhale for 7. Find the number that suits you, and know that  the trick is to exhale longer than you would inhale.Breathing exercises are very helpful in calming our nerves. Breathing exercises are very helpful in calming our nerves. The best way to do this is to take a deep breath on 3 counts, hold for 4 know and exhale for 7. Find the number that suits you, and know that the trick is to exhale longer than you would inhale.

 

Communication skills are so important, yet not taught enough.  The She Speaks Series workshops addresses this gap, by teaching teens how to broach difficult conversations.  When conflicts can be resolved, and anxiety can be reduced because of that, why not try communicating?  Remember the tip here is to use non-judgmental and non-accusation language. Instead of “You did this”, try to focus what you are saying on how “I felt”.

 

If you are a teen and struggle with anxiety, please know that there are ways to reduce your symptoms, and do reach out for help. I do in-person and Skype sessions as well.

 

 

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