Anxiety and Teens
Start Your Own Relaxation Program
To reduce normal levels of anxiety, set aside a period of about 20 minutes each day to devote to relaxation. Remove distractions as much as possible. Turn off the sound on your computer and the ringer on your cell phone.
During the 20-minute period, remain as still as you can. Focus your thoughts on the immediate moment, and eliminate any outside thoughts that compete for your attention. Try to notice which parts of your body feel relaxed, and which feel tense.
As you go through these steps, try to imagine that every muscle in your body is becoming relaxed and free of tension. Picture all the muscles in your body beginning to go loose and limp.
Concentrate on making your breathing slow and even. Each time you exhale, picture your muscles becoming even more relaxed, as if with each breath you breathe the tension away.
At the end of 20 minutes, take a few moments to focus on the feelings and sensations you have been able to achieve. Notice whether areas that felt tense now feel looser, and whether any areas of tightness remain.
Some people find that chanting (even a single word) or singing, praying, or focusing their vision on an object or flickering light source (like a candle or fireplace) also helps them achieve a more relaxed state of mind.
Don't be surprised if the relaxed feeling begins to fade once you get up and return to your normal activities. Many teens find that it is only after several weeks of daily, consistent practice that they are able to maintain the relaxed feeling beyond the practice session.
When Should Teens Get Help for Anxiety?
If you have high levels of anxiety as mentioned above, it's important to seek treatment. About 13% of teenagers have high enough anxiety to need medical or psychotherapeutic treatment.