Tiny Ways to Help Teens With too Much Anxiety

anxiety attacks, panic attacks, anxious teens, stress, stressed teens, nervousMonique is a seventeen year old girl living in Louisiana. She is a writer, dancer, and actress who enjoys playing video games and learning about others. Her favorite subjects are English, History, and Science; she plans to attend college and get a PhD in a related field.
Anxiety is very normal and everyone goes through it. However, constant anxiety is unhealthy and can happen in many situations, whether it be alone or socially. People need to learn how to deal with their anxiety, but it’s not a walk in the park for many. This is not a problem your child can face alone and you’re probably their most valuable tool to overcoming it. If the problem is not extremely bad there are simple things you can do to help make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Here are six small tips to help your child deal with their anxiety:

1. Show Compassion
Sometimes all your teen needs is a little love and compassion to get them through the day. If they begin to stress and worry about
anything, simply being there for them can help ease the stress. Make sure they know that you’re a resource they can and should utilize when their anxiety gets to be too much. However, as a parent you can’t judge them when they come to you. Talk to them with an accepting mindset. Listen to them and try to relate. Just be there for them. However, please let me stress that you cannot be compassionate and yell at the same time. You need to be a calm and trustful person your child can confide in. Screaming at your nervous, anxious child will not bring them any sort of comfort.
2. Get Rid of Negative Thinking

If your child dwells too much on the past or the future, snap them out of that. Try and help them understand that you can’t change
what you’ve already done in life, nor can you prevent anything from happening. While planning ahead is a good thing, make sure your child knows that ‘going with the flow’ is okay and healthy some times. Help your child focus on all the great things they’ve accomplished and all the good things in life instead of the bad. This is a little step that can go a long way.
3. Make sure they’re sleeping and eating correctly

Simple changes in eating and sleeping patterns can make all the difference to kids with anxiety problems. Haven’t you had a day where you didn’t sleep enough and things stressed you out more than usual? Well, take that feeling and double it with constant anxiety that is always there with or without enough sleep. The same goes for eating. Going long periods of time without eating will not only make you cranky, but also make you nervous. So it’s essential that you make sure your child gets enough of both.
4. Find Relaxation Techniques
Sometimes anxiety can be solved by simple relaxation techniques. Suggest your child takes up something that they can release their
troubles on. Athletics, art, writing, journaling, Yoga, and nature walks are a few examples of ways your child can relax. Try out
different types and find out what works best for your child. Make sure they keep at this activity as much as possible to ensure a calm state of mind.
5. Talk It Out
While saying, “Everything will be okay,” is great sometimes, it’s not always going to help. Your child may need help getting to the roots of their problems. Talk to them about it in a nonjudgmental way about the possible causes of their anxiety and how you could help them through it. Don’t cover up the fact that they have a problem, help them fix it.

6. Get Help

If your child’s anxiety gets increasingly worse there is no shame in seeking help from a professional. They may come up with ways
to help that you never thought of. Therapy and counseling are also not bad ideas. Having an unbiased person to talk to about your life can always be a great help, especially is this person is specifically trained to help you solve problems.

If your child has a problem with anxiety and this could very well lead to an anxiety attack.

Signs of an anxiety attack:
-Hyperventilating
-Overwhelming panic
-Chills/hot flashes
-Shaking
-Nausea
-Feeling “unreal”
-Losing control
-Chest pains
-Feeling like you’re going to pass out
-Choking sensation

In the occasion that one occurs, here are some helpful tips for getting through it with your child:

1. Be a Source of Stability
When you’re in that scary moment and your mind is bouncing all over the place and you can’t seem to calm down the very last thing you need is someone panicking. Talk in a regular, normal, soothing voice. Pretend like everything is normal. Smile. Be a source of happiness. Give off the vibe that, “Everything is okay.”   On my first very serious anxiety attack, I remember my friend was there and he’d talk to me in a silly voice almost like you would to a baby. He’d ask me silly questions and talk about things to get my mind off the situation. He was pretending to be happy because he knew that if he kept panicking himself, I would get
worse, and it helped. You child needs to see some sort of stability outside their mind to help them focus on calming down and away from the problem.

 2. Stabilize Their Breathing

Usually with anxiety attacks comes hyperventilating and other weird breathing patterns. The first thing you want to do is establish a normal breathing pattern again. This will help them focus better on returning to normal as well as prevent other things. Have your child inhale and exhale very slowly and have them hold each breath for a few seconds.

3. Once you have established that it’s an anxiety attack avoid any
sort of question that deals with, “What’s Wrong?”
These attacks are fueled by focusing on the cause of anxiety. So, quite simply, you need to avoid the topic at all costs. In fact, don’t
even talk about the attack. Saying things like, “It’s okay” or “calm down” in a soothing voice is usually okay. However, constantly and repeatedly asking ‘what’s wrong?’ or ‘what’s happening?’ is only going to make them focus more on the situation, especially if they don’t know what’s going on. Keep in mind that your only job in these situations is to calm them down. You can talk later.

4. Touching is Usually Okay
When the person experiencing the attack is able to identify you as a trusting figure, your touch can help them calm down. Don’t embrace or do anything dramatic. Hold their hand, massage certain parts of their body (putting gentle pressure and then releasing it usually helps people dealing with an anxiety attack to calm down), gently drape your arm over them. Just let them know you’re there.

5. Have Them Slowly Walk Around or Move
  

Usually, when someone is going through an anxiety attack they’re forcing themselves to sit still, which ultimately causes their adrenaline to build up, which makes everything worse. Have them get up and move around to avoid that. This will also give them a change of focus.

6. Give Them Recuperation Time
After the attack let them sleep it out or relax. Don’t jump right into talking about it. Wait a while then gently ease back into it. If
they show any signs of panicking again just stop and try again when they’re okay.

Honestly, all you can do in these situations is calm them down and make sure they’re safe. If these attacks are frequent seek medical attention.

Photo Credit: Alaina Abplanalp Photography

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