Teens, Stress, & Anxiety – Turning a Mess into a Masterpiece

Their cries are silent but visible.

According to a 2017 National Institute of Mental Health report, an anxiety disorder is present in 38% of female teens and 26.1% of male teens. Experienced infrequently, anxiety is a normal response to stress. The concern arises when feelings of anxiety occur more often than not throughout a six-month period. Psychologists refer to this as chronic stress. The constant presence of anxiety in teens alters the emotional and physical framework in which they previously thrived. Anxiety affects teens emotionally (irritability, outbursts), socially (isolating from peer group), physically (headaches, gastrointestinal problems, excessive fatigue, decreased immune function, obesity), sleep-wise (difficulty falling and staying asleep), academically (difficulty focusing and executing assignments), and can lead to symptoms of a panic attack (rapid heartbeats, sweating, dizziness).

Truth is, today’s teens often deal with more day-to-day stress than teens of any other generation. They struggle to find their place among cyber bullying and social media perfection. It takes one click of a mouse or tap of the finger for a negative comment to post and likewise, it’s easier than ever to manipulate photos and stories to create a false reality that leads others to feel an inferior existence.

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Lifestyle Strategies to Help Youth with Anxiety

Being a teenager means experiencing a wide range of physical, emotional and social changes, which can often make them vulnerable to anxiety. If you have a teen in your life who has experienced anxiety, you know how hard it can be to help them.

It is useful to acknowledge that anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to stress. 

Anxiety lets us know when we’re in danger, or when something important is happening so we can perform at our best. It can help youth deal with overwhelming situations like exams,

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Helping Teens Be Kind to Themselves

Shame is seen as a dark emotion, much like grief and anger. It makes you feel inferior, unworthy and not good enough. The society we live in is a pressure cooker for breeding shame in our youth.

Brené Brown’s work shows shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, eating disorders, violence, suicide, bullying and aggression. It shows itself when we close off from others and distance ourselves through a sense of not belonging.

Have you ever taken the time to think about the definition of shame?

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