By the time teens reach adulthood, nearly one in three will experience the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. As their 18th year approaches, the stress of becoming an adult increases as the reality of responsibility sets in. In fact, at age 18, young adults have nearly twice the likelihood of developing a mood disorder than their younger teen counterparts.
Scientists believe that this proneness is caused by the continuously-developing brain. There are many ways to reduce these symptoms of anxiety, each unique to individual teens and their stressors. There are many common forms of alleviating anxiety during the formative teenage years:
One of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety as a young adult is creating an exercise routine. When the body is active, serotonin and norepinephrine are increased. These neurotransmitters are responsible for creating a sense of happiness and positivity in the mind. Running, hiking, or walking for even one hour each day can significantly improve mental clarity and physical health. Studies have also shown that exposure to fresh air and nature has a meditative and calming effect on the mind.
Exerting the body in a physical capacity (running, hiking, or attending a group fitness class) can also improve sleep quality. When the body maintains a healthy sleep cycle, both physical and mental health are kept in better standing. Sleep can be improved by participating in relaxation exercise techniques like yoga or meditative instructional. While the physical healing of stretching and lengthening are beneficial, the meditative side of yoga teaches the brain to relax through various breathing exercises.
Limiting Social Media
In the ever-growing world of social media and influencers, the pressure to both conform and stand out is immense. Young adults are encouraged to participate in the latest trends, while also pressured to do so in a way that sets them apart from the crowd. Becoming an influencer on a social media platform has become the new form of worshipping celebrities in today’s culture. This added pressure to be the same yet different is an obvious trigger for young adults dealing with anxiety.
Teens of this generation live in a world where their self-worth is incorrectly measured by “likes” and “shares”. The dependency on technology and constant connection to the online world increases self-conscious behaviors and fear of isolation. Every time a teen logs onto their various social platforms, they begin the comparison of their experiences, appearances, and invitations. The problem with this ideology is that most people post the “highlight reel” of their lives, leaving the nitty-gritty, relatable aspects behind closed doors. Finding a healthy balance of online presence and real-world relationships can significantly decrease anxiety as well as other mental disorders in teens and young adults.
One of the most beneficial resources available to teens is therapy. Attending counseling on a regular basis can aid young adults in locating the source of their stressors and forming healthy coping mechanisms.
Therapists for anxiety work with their patients on past, present, and future specific ideologies. Starting with past behaviors, they’ll work through early life events that may have caused the current symptoms and triggers. Once these have been established, they’ll create an inventory of situations that trigger anxious behaviors or thoughts on a regular basis. The final step to reducing these anxious tendencies is formulating a plan to confront them and work through them.
Attending therapy at a young age provides young adults with the building blocks to make logical decisions as they move into adulthood in calm, constructive manners. While there is often a stigma attached to mental health and therapy, the benefits are insurmountable and far outweigh any sense of embarrassment in asking for help.
Every teen is unique, and when it comes to the relief of their anxieties, their coping mechanisms are equally as individualized. What works for one may not always work for another. Through exploration of various methods — from exercise to meditation and even medical intervention — there’s a solution for every teen looking to reduce their anxiety.