Are You Concerned That Stress Or Anxiety Overwhelms Your Teen?
Do you wonder if your teen’s anxiety may be getting in the way of his or her ability to function at his or her optimal level? It may be that you’re beginning to suspect that your teenager’s moodiness, fear and/or anxiety is more than ordinary teenage angst. Are your attempts to reassure your teen that everything will work out just fine falling on deaf ears? It may be that your teen is a perfectionist. Does he or she have difficulty accepting less than perfect outcomes and/or regularly feel unhappy when things don’t turn out as planned? Does your teen have difficulty falling or staying asleep? Perhaps he or she feels exhausted during the day and easily agitated due to sleep deprivation. Even if your teen is telling you that he or she feels fine, do you sense that something is wrong?
While some teens are naturally equipped to manage anxiety, many are susceptible to feeling stressed, excessively worried and overwhelmed. It may be that your child suffers constant anxiety, or anxiety could be limited to certain situations, such as driving, socializing and/or public speaking. Perhaps your child has been bullied and is now afraid to go to school or make new friends. It may seem that your teen worries about everything, from grades to peers, getting into college and/or trying to please parents, teachers and friends. Or, it may be that your teen wants to make friends or be part of a team, but feels unable to reach out and get involved. Perhaps your teen’s anxiety is getting in the way of asking questions or raising his or her hand at school. Do you wish you could find ways to support your painfully anxious teen and help him or her feel more confident, secure, and relaxed?
Experiencing Overwhelm And Increased Anxiety During Teen Years Is Common
Adolescence is often a challenging time for young people as they explore who they are and what is important to them. Teenagers typically begin to think about their futures and how they want to make a difference in the world, which can often feel overwhelming. And, teens frequently have jam-packed schedules, making it unsurprising that many struggle with overwhelming anxiety. While it is quite normal for teenagers to experience “teenage angst” during this developmental period, many teens suffer with excessive amounts of stress and worry. And, teens will often keep their turmoil to themselves, which further increases anxiety. Significant anxiety and stress can overwhelm multiple aspects of a teen life, including home, school, social life, and a teen’s overall outlook on life.
Teens today are faced with a lot of pressure to succeed. Our society places so much importance on success and overachieving, which can sometimes cause teens to feel so anxious that they stop functioning optimally at school. Or, teens are so focused on being top of the class with the best grades and/or excelling at extracurricular activities that their lives lack balance and downtime. This pressure to succeed not only increases anxiety, but also increases the likelihood of physical complaints such as headaches, stomach upsets or aches and pains.
In addition, many teens are excessively connected to social media, which can increase teen anxiety. Teens often habitually check social media out of a fear of missing out (FOMO) and feel the need to immediately respond to text messages. Excessive social media use can result in sleep loss and decreased attention span, as well as increasing the likelihood of developing depression and anxiety. Studies even indicate that the more time teens spend on social media, the lower their self-esteem. And, unfortunately, many teens become victims of bullying through social media, while others compare themselves negatively to peers and/or strangers.
While certain levels of anxiety and stress are unavoidable, it is possible for your teen to learn how to better manage and cope with anxiety symptoms, so that they no longer limit his or her life. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist can help your teen reduce stress, let go of comparisons and worry, and learn effective skills, which can help improve sleep, well-being and overall quality of life.
Teen Anxiety Therapy Can Help Your Teen Manage Overwhelm And Stress
The good news is that your teen does not have to suffer with anxiety. By seeking professional help now, your teen can learn how to manage both internal and external stressors. And, as a parent, you can learn new ways to respond to your teen’s anxiety that can help your child feel better. While anxiety is a normal human experience that can’t be avoided, your teen can nevertheless learn to better manage and reduce anxiety so that it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying life and accomplishing goals and dreams.
Nobody wants to suffer with anxiety. Therefore, while teens may initially feel anxious about coming to therapy, most quickly realize how effective and fun anxiety therapy sessions can be, while helping them to achieve their goals. Since 2001, I have been helping teens learn to manage anxiety using a collaborative and solution-focused, strength-based approach. This means that I focus on the positives and will utilize your child’s unique strengths to help him or her feel better. I have a professional yet laid back approach, which is very helpful and effective when working with young people, as I am able to be “real” and use humor and other activities to engage teens in the therapy process. Teenagers typically appreciate my approach, as I do not treat them like “little kids.” In sessions, I incorporate empirically researched therapy models that have been proven to treat anxiety. Some of these models include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and mindfulness-based practices.
An important part of anxiety counseling is helping teens to understand the mind-body connection. As anxiety often has many physical symptoms, the effect of becoming aware of one’s body can be amazing to witness. And, learning how to calm down increased anxiety and physical symptoms can give your teen a valuable sense of power and control over his or her anxiety. In therapy, your teen will learn important, life-long skills that he or she can use now and to cope with future difficulties, as well as with relationships, school, work and day-to-day life.
Teen anxiety counseling can help your child learn to have a more positive outlook and to prevent his or her “critical voice” from negatively impacting self-worth. By learning how to respond to stress and anxiety in healthy ways, your teen will begin to feel better at home, school and socially. Teens who struggle with test anxiety often see an improvement in test scores and develop a more balanced outlook so that scores no longer determine self-worth. As your child’s anxiety lessens, he or she will be able to create a better life balance, whether that be learning to incorporate some “chill time,” or getting involved in extracurricular activities.
You may still have questions or concerns about treatment for teen anxiety…
My teen has always been a dedicated hard-worker and/or over-achiever
While being a high achiever is clearly not a bad thing, teenagers with perfectionist tendencies can be more vulnerable to increased anxiety and stress. If you suspect that your child is suffering with anxiety, it’s a good idea to reassure him or her that anxiety is very common and most people will experience symptoms at some point. However, it’s important to learn to manage anxiety so that your teen can live a balanced, fulfilling life, with adequate time for sleep, family, friends and relaxation. And, the goal of anxiety therapy is not for your child to stop performing well, but rather to learn how to celebrate and enjoy success, relax, manage stress and anxiety, have fun and enjoy being a teenager.
I’m not sure my teen can fit anxiety counseling into his or her busy schedule.
If you think your child is struggling with anxiety, it’s important to intervene as early as possible. And, anxiety therapy can often be short-term. Your teen’s very busy schedule might actually be one of the factors contributing to his or her anxiety. It may be that your over-achieving child is having trouble with life balance and could benefit from an hour that focuses on just that. Or, if you have a teen that tends to procrastinate on schoolwork, sessions can focus on helping him or her make better decisions with time. For many, simply committing to therapy and focusing on reducing anxiety can help them begin to feel empowered, supported and less stressed. And, after just a few sessions, most teens report anxiety therapy as being highly beneficial and rewarding.
I’m not sure if my teen’s stress and/or worry are enough to warrant therapy?
If you have found your way to this page, there’s a good chance that there is something telling you that your teen could benefit from anxiety counseling. The truth of the matter is that everyone could benefit from therapy. Anxiety therapy can provide your child with the tools to cope with and mange anxiety now, as well to prevent feeling overwhelmed in the future.
Your Child Can Have A Happier, More Relaxed Life
I invite you to call 972-489-2658 today for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I can answer any questions you have about working with an anxiety therapist and my practice.