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, presentations, or going out on a first date. It’s something that everyone experiences occasionally. It’s critical to our survival. But what happens when there isn’t any actual danger?
A good formula to remember is that anxiety equals an overestimation of the danger, plus an underestimation of your coping skills, plus intolerance for uncertainty, unpredictability and feeling uncomfortable.
Helping youth cope with anxiety involves encouraging realistic estimates of danger, boosting their confidence through coping skills, and building their tolerance for uncertainty, unpredictability and discomfort.
Sleep is a non-negotiable foundation of managing anxiety. A dark, cool bedroom and avoiding screen time an hour before bed can be helpful to encourage your teen’s natural ability to sleep.