Did you know that 1 in 3 teens will meet the diagnosis criteria for Anxiety by the age of 18?
Many teens are faced with trying to balance school expectations, get into college, deal with pressures from family and friends, and plan for who they want to become as adults. Often times they are managing hormones, a changing body, relationships, and very intense feelings. It can be hard for teens to even recognize when they are struggling and even harder as a parent to identify if your teen’s behaviors are normal or could become potentially problematic.
The adolescent brain is still developing until the age of 25. In a way, this is good because they are able to learn new things and be excited about their achievements. However, it can be challenging since adolescent brains are susceptible to risky and dangerous behaviors. If you have spent any time talking with teens you can easily see their brains are still figuring out to manage impulses and emotional reactions. Add stress and anxiety to the equation and the likelihood of not making great choices increases. It is so important to help arm our teens with more efficient ways of managing stress while their brains are developing to help set them up with better copings skills for a more productive and positive future. Teens that are better able to handle stress while in high school will be able to incorporate these techniques in college and even in their future careers. Teaching teens stress reduction techniques is helpful for these reasons:
- Increase concentration
- Reduce nervousness and self-doubt
- Stay focused on the here and now
- Reduce negative thinking
- Increase physical health and immunity
- Increase empathy and regard for others
Stress management can be done through basic Mindfulness techniques. If you are interested in getting your teen engaged in mental health support to address their stress and anxiety, the trick is to make the expectations for therapy as positive as possible. Normalizing the process, reducing the stigma and encouraging engagement are all attributed to better outcomes in therapy. Angie Harris, MA, MSW, is a therapist with Insight Into Action Therapy. She specializes in helping adolescents manage the teen years. She is certified in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and incorporates this technique in her work. If you are interested in seeking services, give her a call at (703) 646-7664 ext 10 or visit www.insightactiontherapy.com.