According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 32% of U.S. adolescents had an anxiety disorder. To reduce anxiety among teens, mental health experts have come up with a wide array of techniques.
But before we can discuss ways to reduce anxiety, let’s take a closer look at what goes on in an anxious person’s mind.
In a recent post by psychcentral.com, Annabella Hagen (clinical director at Mindset Family Therapy) explains how the very thinking patterns that we hold as valid and reasonable can sabotage us; and offers two exercises that can help teens keep their anxiety in check.
In time, the thinking patterns specific to anxiety can lead to avoidance and other behaviors that supposedly keep us safe and ‘comfy.’ Unfortunately, because of this vicious circle, we miss out on valuable opportunities.
For teens, anxiety can be problematic especially because they’re at an age when emotional control is still under development. To help them overcome this issue, we must first teach them how to develop awareness (and self-awareness).
Reduce anxiety with this simple exercise
One easy way to help teens develop self-awareness is through a simple practice called ‘thought-automobile watching.’
Here’s how you do it:
- Sit on a bench facing the street and notice the moving cars.
- Whenever a car passes by, place a though on it and watch it disappear in the distance.
- Do the same mental exercise with the next car, and the next one.
- If you get distracted, you can always wait for the next car to pass by and place your thought on it.
By performing this exercise regularly, your teen will learn that thoughts – no matter how intrusive and unpleasant – come and go. They don’t have to act on every worry-filled thought that crosses their mind.
Help them reduce anxiety by encouraging them to develop a mindful attitude towards themselves.
To learn more about anxiety, click here.