Seven Tools for Managing Teenage Anxiety
Thirty percent of all teenage girls suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental health. Experts expect that number to grow as teenagers spend more time on electronic devices, invest less in family relationships, and experience an increasing number of social and academic pressures.
The truth is, it’s impossible to avoid anxiety. But you can teach your daughter effective tools to deal with it. Here are seven strategies parents can use to help reduce the anxiety of their teenage daughters.
Let your daughter now she’s not alone. Listen to her. Make sure to explain that everyone experiences anxiety. If you’re comfortable doing so, share your own personal experiences with stress. Many teenagers feel tremendous pressure from their parents to succeed—so tell her you’re proud of her and you’ll love her no matter what. Give her the opportunity to vent. Most of all, create a way for her to have open, honest, and empathetic conversation with her parents.
Identify Anxiety Triggers
For many teenagers, anxiety is triggered by certain situations, interactions, or emotions. Help your daughter identify her anxiety triggers. What causes her undue stress? Then, find way to either avoid or mitigate those situations. With this understanding, your daughter can prevent her anxiety from being triggered before it grows stronger.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins and other chemicals that have been linked to lower rates of depression and higher emotional well being. Exercise can also provide a positive social benefit.
Good sleep is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that your teen is receiving seven hours of sleep per night, and try to promote a regular sleep schedule. Limit screen time before bed, as the usage of electronic devices in the last half hour before falling asleep has been shown to lead to lower quality sleep.
Create Unscheduled Time
It’s easy to overschedule. Teenagers who participate in a variety of school pursuits and extracurriculars may feel increasing pressure as their commitments mount. It’s important to provide an outlet for your daughter’s stress. Make sure that she has time without obligations or activities—time where it’s clear nothing is expected of her.
Learn Relaxation Strategies
Teach your daughter relaxation strategies like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or personal journaling. Encourage her to find what works for her. These kinds of activities have been shown to reduce stress and lessen its physiological effect on the body. With information, understanding, and familiar coping mechanisms, your daughter will feel empowered to confront and manage her anxiety.