10 stress remedies for teens
January 26, 2015 0 Comments
Adolescence is a stressful time, with hormonal changes mounting to existing academic and social pressures. Stress is the predominant reason that adolescents initially try drugs and develop a habit with them. Luckily, there are a multitude of preventative measures that can be employed to avoid stress, and potentially the development of an addiction. In order to avoid putting oneself at risk of substance abuse as well as a host of other complications, here are 10 natural ways to reduce stress.
- Eating healthy – Processed foods carry high amounts of LDL cholesterol (low density lipo-protein), known to lead to weight gain as well as anxiety issues. Lean meats (fish, white meats, etc.) are not only high in HDL cholesterol (the good kind) but carry the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, precursors to serotonin and dopamine (neurochemicals that are associated with stress reduction and feelings of wellbeing).
- Get more sleep – Sleep is crucial to replenishing levels of neurotransmitters as well as processing memories and emotions incurred during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep; although the reasons why they need more sleep is still being researched, a popular theory posits that it is due to the relatively higher number of emotions that need to be processed due to their hormonal changes/emotional sensitivity. Although taking short naps throughout the day can give you a short boost of energy, anything under six hours is not enough time to reach stage five sleep (REM), when most of the emotional filing is done.
- Be active – “Exercise anxiety” is the number one reason why people feel compelled to claim that they are too busy to ever exercise. Studies have shown that only two hours of exercise a week can improve academic performance in teenagers; setting aside half an hour every other day to run or hike is not only physically beneficial for obvious reasons, but allows the mind a reprieve from its ordinary thoughts.
- Get some space – Getting some personal time can go a long way in reducing negative rumination and stress. Many of our thoughts that we obsess over do not even directly concern us; taking a break from the excess emotional baggage will free up time to do things we actually enjoy.
- Friend time – It becomes easier each year to tell ourselves that we are too busy for our friends. Although spending times with friends can seem very unproductive, it does serve a purpose. Without an emotional support network, we are forced to climb the mountain of stress and anxiety alone.
- Find balance – Organizing the various tasks we have can be an effective means of anxiety and stress reduction. Much of our stress stems from viewing all our tasks in one giant anxiety-inducing clump; taking baby steps makes it much more manageable, not only reducing stress but the time it takes to complete them as well.
- Go outside – Studies have shown that sunlight and vitamin D can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as providing a means of distraction. A few extra minutes a day spent outside can clear the mind and give oneself a break from anxious thoughts.
- Use humor – Humor can be a powerful tool as far as turning something negative into a positive. Comedy also provides us with alternative ways of viewing a situation, offering potential solutions to problems that we otherwise would not have seen. Laughter has also been shown to boost the immune system (which is normally suppressed by stress), giving it physical as well as psychological benefits.
- Take a deep breath – When we are anxious, we breathe from our chests instead of the abdomen, leading to lower oxygen levels and even more anxiety. Inhaling and then exhaling deeply is an effective means of clearing one’s mind.
- Meditate – Although sitting still and thinking about a single thought or nothing sounds like the last thing that an anxious person would want to do, even minimal amounts of meditation can have a positive effect on stress and anxiety.