Teens and Anxiety
By Heath Achatz, LLMSW
Being worried about the past and the future is not something only adults deal with. Today many teens are dealing with anxiety in many aspects of their lives. In 2020, we are dealing with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and how to handle it concerning school and public life. Teens have nearly unlimited options to unhealthily compare themselves and their lifestyle to others on social media. Teens have access to a plethora of information on social media and web news sites at a substantial rate. Additionally, this information can be hard to process correctly, especially when much of it is traumatic and disheartening.
Here are some simple steps teens can take to help lower stress before it becomes anxiety, and a simple activity to help deal with anxiety.
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night
- Do some form of exercise daily
- Take a few controlled deep breaths daily
- Eat healthy
- Engage in less screen time
Activity: Pick a piece of food; it can be anything: a banana, a sandwich, a jolly rancher, or a raisin. Look at it with your eyes; notice the color, shape, size, the different angles of it. Listen to it as you squeeze it, drop it, and touch it. Feel the different textures on it; smooth, porous, hard. Smell it; sweet, sour, fresh, or something else. Finally taste it. Notice the levels of flavor it has. Now, while chewing, use your senses to engage in eating it. Look at where you bit a piece off. Listen to the chewing sounds. Feel the food inside your mouth with your tongue. Smell any changes after chewing it. Taste the levels of flavor after you have swallowed it.
This activity is something that you can engage in daily and only takes a few moments. It will, however, get you away from worrying about the past, worrying about the future, and get you focused on the present moment.
Heath Achatz, LLMSW, works with Community First Health Centers’ Behavioral Health Program. His is available to see patients at our Algonac Medical Center, at 555 St. Clair River Dr., Algonac. For more information about our Behavioral Health Program, contact us today: 586-749-5197 ext. 285