Anxiety can become a concern for any one of us without discrimination. The reasons for struggling with anxiety may differ between individuals, but many of the same coping strategies will work across the board.
If your teen is struggling with anxiety, it’s essential to get him the correct type of treatment to know how to best manage the symptoms of what can be an overwhelming mental health concern.
Having a few strategies to help him cope with anxiety can also be beneficial. We’ve got nine great tips to get you started.
1. Validate their feeling
While it is important not to encourage negative mindsets, you should avoid using phrases that can invalidate what your teen is feeling.
Skip cliches and platitudes that include “Don’t stress, look on the bright side” or “This too shall pass, don’t stress.”
To your teenager, this is not only going to minimize how he feels, but it could potentially make him ashamed of feeling the way he is feeling.
Opt instead for phrases like, “I understand how you are feeling. How can I help?”
A simple phrase like this can help to open the door to additional conversations and communications with your teen. Sometimes just speaking about the things on his mind can help ease the anxious thoughts your teen is being consumed by.
2. Become an expert in unwinding and relaxation
Most of us think that we know how to unwind and relax. Unfortunately, sitting in front of the television or laptop may not offer true relaxation. Some of the content you’re watching with your teen may prove to cause stress. The same is true for drug and alcohol use. They may offer a temporary reprieve from the tension in your shoulders and chest, but they don’t provide long-lasting relaxation.
A better option is to pursue relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are just some of the methods that your teen can integrate into his daily routine. Deep breathing and mindfulness can positively impact your teen and how he feels physically and mentally. Take the time to learn all that you can about mindfulness and meditation practices. Work with your teen to help him learn how to reconnect his body and mind.
Mindfulness will allow your teen to reconnect with himself and his surroundings. It can be used daily to get into a routine, or your teen can engage in mindfulness practices as needed when faced with a stressful situation.
3. Establish and maintain a schedule
When someone feels anxiety, whether it comes and goes or sits with it constantly, having a schedule and routine can help. A routine can provide a sense of structure when nothing else appears to be making sense.
What that looks like for your family could differ greatly from another family. The goal is to ensure that your teen’s schedule allows him to feel secure while knowing what to expect.
4. Limit exposure to social media and the news
We live in uncertain times; this can’t be denied. If your teen spends a significant amount of time on social media or watching the news, their anxiety symptoms could be amplified. Take the initiative and limit the amount of time that your teen and other family members spend absorbing social media and news reports.
Instead of taking devices away from everyone, rather opt for other activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. Enjoy some board games or watch a fun family movie together.
5. Healthy body, well-rested body
You know how important mindfulness can be in your teen’s life. Ensuring that he has a well-rested body is another important factor to consider. If your teen is struggling with insomnia due to his anxiety, and mindfulness doesn’t seem to be benefitting him, you may want to consult with his doctor for another solution.
An important part of helping an anxious teen cope is to ensure that he has a healthy body. There are strong connections between good nutrition and improved mental wellness. You could get your teen involved in helping to prepare meals to encourage him to eat better.
6. Encourage connections with others
Anxiety can make you feel so very alone. Encouraging your teen to spend more time with family and friends can offer several benefits. He’ll be able to feel those connections he’s been missing, and he’ll also understand that he is supported and loved.
7. Get outdoors
There’s no doubt that spending time outdoors can offer great benefits for someone struggling with their mental health. This could be a stroll around a local park or a bike ride alongside the beach for your teen.
If your teen enjoys going for hikes or going camping, this might be a great option to help him to reset his thought patterns.
8. Connecting with the right resources
Your teen should be under the care of a therapist who can help him develop those valuable coping skills. It’s important to note that everyone in the family can likely benefit from therapy and other resources.
Not only will your teen be getting the right type of help, but if other family members have a better understanding of his anxiety, they can offer better help when your teen needs it the most.
9. Monitor their mental health
Your teen may not be in a good position to tell you when he feels anxious or when he feels himself slipping. Do your part to monitor his mental health so that you can recognize when he may need additional help. Teach him to recognize the signs of a mental health slip. Remind your teen that he can always speak to you and that you’ll keep an open and supportive mindset. Communication is such an important part of helping a teen cope with anxiety.
Your teen may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. A teen with an anxiety disorder should get the right type of care from healthcare and mental health professionals.