High expectations to succeed, pressure from peers to conform or influences from social media- whatever the cause there is no denying the fact that anxiety in teens is on the increase. It is now thought that as many as 1 in 3 13-18 year olds will suffer from anxiety disorder.
So what can we do? Unfortunately there is always going to be the stress of exams and the world we live in is becoming more and more engrossed in celebrity culture and social media so there is not going to be an overnight cure for every teens anxiety. However there are definitely ways to help a friend or family member (or even yourself) if you find yourself facing the daily struggle of an anxiety disorder.
Recognise the signs. If it is yourself or someone close to you battling with anxiety something as simple as recognising the signs of the disorder can be one step in the right direction for controlling, and so conquering, the vicious cycle. The symptoms can be scary for someone feeling them and so can often be blown out of proportion- sufferers of anxiety often feel like they might be about to die or have a heart attack. Common symptoms include-
- Racing heart.
- Tightening in the chest
- Tense muscles.
- Shaking hands.
- Feeling as though you’re going to vomit.
- Dizzy or light-headed.
Allow time. This is so important- whether it is yourself or someone you know suffering with anxiety! Make some ‘you time’ for exercise, mediation, a nap or even just writing thoughts and feelings down in a diary. Just some time out to process thoughts and feelings without feeling the pressures of everything around you needing your time and attention. Not only does this make time for a quick self check in but also allows perspective to be given to any troubling thoughts.
Talk. Talking about worries with a friend or a professional counsellor can also help to put anxiety into perspective and allow you to see what needs to be worried about and what can wait for another day, or even not be worried over at all! It is amazing how we as humans are capable of making the biggest mountain out of the smallest mole hill and for someone with anxiety disorders it is often hard to see the clear picture. Sometimes a second perspective on a problem can help to show it in it’s true light and make it a lot easier to manage.
No matter what it is important to recognise that suffering with anxiety is normal and becoming increasingly common in today's society. There is no need to suffer alone- it’s ok to not be ok!