Being a teenager is stressful! How to handle school, work, and other activities and still have a social life can be a daunting task.
If your teen is more irritable than normal, more withdrawn, or is experiencing changes in their eating or sleeping habits, they may be experiencing extra stress. This is tough on your teen’s body and can cause physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, and problems sleeping.
The trick is to create ways to manage those stressful feelings that are natural and fun. Here are five unique coping strategies that can reduce your teen’s stress and anxiety and lift their spirits. Bonus: They work for adults too.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
It’s important to take the time to acknowledge and be grateful for the things we have. One way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. You can record the highlights of your day, make a list of the things you are grateful for, or keep track of quotes that inspire you.
The Law of Attraction says that whatever you focus on grows stronger. By making it a habit to focus on the positive, you are helping yourself live a happy life. In addition, research has shown many impressive benefits – including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness and more happiness.
- Make a Worry Box
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take all your worries, put them in a box and just leave them there? All you have to do is make a worry box. Find an old tissue or shoe box and label it “Worry Box”.
On a piece of paper, write or draw what you’re worried about and then drop your worry into the box. Just leave your worry behind – the box will hold it for you. You can take your worry back or discard it when you are ready.
- Track Your Mood
When you’re aware of what you feel and you know what’s driving your emotions, it’s easier to get a grip on your worries. Tracking your moods can help you figure out why you’re feeling a certain way. For instance, you might realise that you’re extra grumpy on the days you haven’t slept well. Or you might find a link between your happy mood and your workout days.
- Adult Colouring Books
Colouring isn’t just for kids anymore! Adult colouring books can be found in bookstores and online. There are even themed books like Harry Potter, zoo animals, or mandalas. Colouring is therapeutic because it helps spark creativity, helps you relax and “get away”, and makes you feel like a kid again.
- Pay it Forward
Simple acts of kindness to others can increase your own happiness. Doing acts of service, even small ones such as paying for the next person’s cup of coffee or feeding an expired parking metre, are effective stress relievers because it shows you how even your smallest deeds can make a big difference.
Natalie is a school psychologist and an academic life coach for teenagers. She and her team of coaches help tweens and teens build their confidence, get grades that they are proud of, and reduce their stress. Visit her website Life Success for Teens