Anxiety has become an increasingly common problem in teenagers. Here is what experts suggest to help manage mental health better.
As per the National Institutes of Health, approximately one-third of adolescents aged 13 to 18 are expected to encounter an anxiety disorder. Given that the teenage years are marked by numerous novel challenges, experiencing anxiety is a typical response to these situations. Anxiety, in moderation, can serve as a constructive force, motivating teenagers to perform at their best and prepare for demanding scenarios such as public speaking or sporting events. Speaking with india.com, Dr. Puja Kapoor: Paediatric Neurologist & Co-founder of Continua kids, said, “However, if not addressed attentively, unmanaged anxiety elevates the likelihood of developing psychiatric conditions like depression and thoughts of suicide. Effectively managing anxiety emerges as a crucial life skill to navigate these challenges.”
Here are a few tips to curb anxiety in teenagers :
- Push your limits: Gradually challenge yourself by engaging in activities that provoke anxiety, but avoid pushing into excessively challenging situations all at once. Establish attainable objectives to build confidence, creating a stepping-stone approach towards more intricate tasks. Consistent exposure to anxiety-inducing situations fosters adaptability and reduces the anxiety associated with those specific tasks over time.
- Choose something enjoyable: Prior to tackling nerve-wracking situations such as upcoming tests, presentations, or important meetings, take time to engage in enjoyable or interesting activities to alleviate anxiety. Connecting with a friend, watching a lighthearted video or comedy series, or listening to music can effectively reduce anxiety levels.
- Work out with a friend or in a group: Engaging in activities like a leisurely bike ride, yoga, dance class, or brisk walks either alone or with friends can effectively reduce anxiety and shift your focus away from stressors. Regular exercise contributes to building resilience against turbulent emotions. Research indicates that adolescents who maintain a high level of physical activity are less prone to developing anxiety symptoms compared to those with low physical activity levels.
- Discuss with the concerned person/friend: It is beneficial to talk about your problems or concerns with the right individual or a supportive friend who can assist in identifying solutions for the situation. Having a conversation with someone relevant not only alleviates emotions but also aids in managing anxiety.
- Know yourself: Engage in self-reflection by talking to yourself and documenting your strengths and weaknesses. Reinforcing your strengths contributes to building confidence, while recognizing weaknesses provides insight into potential areas for improvement. Clearly outlining negative aspects allows for targeted efforts towards self-improvement.
- Live a balanced life: Strive for a well-rounded lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Steer clear of alcohol and substance abuse, as these can diminish the ability to cope with stress and anxiety over an extended period.
- Do not hesitate in asking for help: If you sense that circumstances are becoming overwhelming and you require guidance from a professional, don’t hesitate to seek help. Mental health often takes a back seat in our society, where asking for assistance is sometimes considered taboo. Teenagers should recognize their boundaries and not hesitate to reach out for support. Recognizing and addressing disproportionate anxiety early is crucial, as it can be an initial sign of depression or other psychiatric issues.