Adolescence is a time of transitions, transitions in the body, the mind, the thought processes, in relationships with friends and parents, in goals, interests, hopes and dreams. Adolescents may experience anxiety due to a variety of reasons like low academic performance in school, peer pressure, family conflicts, etc.
Anxiety is a normal response of an individual to stress, however, in certain situations when it gets excessive, it can hamper many aspects of an adolescent's life. Hence, acquiring anxiety management skills becomes an imperative part of an adolescent's overall development, to enable them to face challenges in the wider world.
Adolescents experiencing excessive anxiety, exceeding their ability to manage it, often tend to show deterioration in performance in many domains. Anxiety may manifest in different forms like:
Disturbance in sleep
Difficulty to concentrate
Change in appetite
Excessive sweating in palms
Feeling tense and fidgety
Constantly worrying or having negative thoughts
Avoidance of new situations or facing new challenges
Parents are pillars of strength for the adolescents and can impact their life in a positive way. They may adopt a few techniques at their end to help the adolescent manage his/her anxiety better, such as:
1. Paying attention to the adolescent's feelings, moods and expressions.
2. Staying calm when the adolescent becomes anxious about a situation or an event.
3. Recognizing and praising small accomplishments without being critical of the mistakes or lack of progress.
4. Expressing positive but realistic expectations.
5. Modelling healthy ways of handling anxiety and stress.
6. Acknowledging the adolescent's fear - without dismissing or ignoring it. Letting the teenager know that he/she has the support of parents, is vital.
7. Making the adolescent aware of how their anxiety may affect them and have negative effects on their body and mind.
8. Practicing simple relaxation techniques with the adolescent, such as taking deep breaths, slow breaths, listening to music, etc.
9. Seeking help from trained professionals and experts to be aware of the techniques to manage and reduce anxiety and stress in adolescents.
"Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety." - Rose Kennedy