Living with anxiety and coping with stress is a constant challenge for anyone, much fewer teenagers. It can weigh on you, wear you down, and change your perspective in ways that aren’t always the most positive.
Outside of therapy and medication, there are various ways to minimize stress and anxiety, especially among teens and young adults.
Learning how to mitigate stress and anxiety without medication is a good life skill to develop, as there will be times in our lives when things are overwhelming. Developing positive coping mechanisms early in life builds the foundation for healthy living throughout.
Exercise has many benefits: appetite control and weight management, stronger muscles and bones, improved cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and enhanced moods.
Exercise can also improve sleep regularity and quality, which helps reduce stress in our bodies even more, further assisting with mitigating anxiety and panic attacks.
Regular exercise can entail a multitude of things. The key is to do something often enough that you’re challenging your body, heart, muscles, and lungs daily. The CDC recommends at least 30-minutes of vigorous to 60-minutes of strenuous activity daily for teenagers.
Exercise helps strengthen the cardiovascular system, muscles, and bones, improves respiratory function, aids digestion, appetite control, and weight management, boosts energy levels, enhances moods, and improves cognitive functions. Additionally, regular strenuous exercise helps the body sleep more effectively, adding quality of sleep as well.
Running, hiking, climbing, biking, swimming, weight lifting, and walking are exemplary forms of exercise that help alleviate anxiety. Team sports are another great way to help relieve anxiety and stress while getting enough exercise and having fun.
Shout it out
A cathartic outlet such as shouting into a pillow is an excellent way to release the negative energy contributing to anxiety.
With anxiety, the more you try to fight it, the stronger it becomes. So instead, if exercise is not possible at that time, then a catharsis like screaming into a pillow can help reduce your anxiety and stress. Just be sure there aren’t little ones around that may become startled or alarmed by your screaming.
Being mindful means living in the moment, taking each second as it comes. Depression stems from regrets of the past, and anxiety stems from fears of the future, so learning to be present and in the moment is a soothing position to be in mentally.
It’s an active process that takes time and practice to master, but in essence, you want to find a small space where you can sit or lie down alone. Focus on your breathing, listening to the sounds of inhaling and slowly exhaling. The soft sound and rhythm of your breathing relax the mind and body, allowing you to be in the moment.
Create a regular sleep pattern
Sleep helps the brain and body regulate hormones and neurochemicals that control appetite, emotion, and other central functions. Getting enough regular sleep is crucial to the body maintaining chemical balance, so it’s essential to set a pattern of regular bedtime and wake-up time.
The brain has an internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, that helps it understand when to release neurochemicals. Any disruption to that clock disrupts the distribution of those hormones.
Sleep is crucial for developing bodies. So it’s recommended that 8–10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night is the target for teens.
Avoid coffee and caffeine
Part of creating a regular sleep pattern is to avoid stimulants within four hours of sleep. That nighttime cup of coffee? Forget about it. Stimulants, in general, heighten the adrenal gland, which is a primary driver of anxiety in the brain, so avoiding caffeine and coffee altogether is ideal.
Don’t skip meals
When we don’t eat, our body releases a powerful stress-inducing drug called cortisol. So by skipping meals, we’re asking our bodies to release more cortisol, which, if we were in an already stressful situation, we just made it worse.
Even though anxiety may induce nausea, it’s crucial to continue to eat regularly.
Keeping your blood sugars even helps with behavioral and mood swings, so eating a balanced diet and being on a schedule is the best way to keep your stress levels in check.
Creating healthy coping mechanisms is a great way to minimize stress and anxiety.
However, in some cases, it may be necessary to consult professionals out of the area. To find a treatment center for you and your teen, you can ask for referrals or conduct a search online.
When conducting your online search, use keywords that are broad such as will produce results that may or may not answer your needs.
- Top-rated mental health clinics near me
- Mental health clinics near me
- Local behavioral treatment options
- Clinics for mental and behavioral health
On the other hand, you may want to remove yourself and your teen from the triggers that helped start the concerns and find an immersive program that is inpatient and out-of-the-area. Again, a simple Google search can yield a harvest of valuable options:
- California mental health clinics
- Sonoma County mental health centers
- Los Angeles behavioral clinics
- San Diego in-patient treatment centers
- Phoenix mental health clinics
Regardless of your needs, there are treatment options available to help. The goal is to find the right treatment option when coping mechanisms just aren’t enough.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.