Stress & Anxiety Management
“According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 13 people globally suffer from anxiety. Stress and anxiety can be prevalent among both adults as well as children and teens. Education and management tools are imperative when you or someone you love is suffering from stress and anxiety.”
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is produced from psychological and biological reaction to stress in the environment. A certain amount of stress is normal. We all experience stress. However, when worry becomes excessive, and interferes with daily life, anxiety is the ending result. Somatic signs of anxiety include the following – sweating palms, dizziness, shortness of breath, muscle aches, insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, difficulty concentrating, and tachycardia.
- Situational Anxiety is anxiety that results from specific events.
- Generalized Anxiety is anxiety that is less likely to be triggered by consistent situations/environments. The Source of anxiety is more likely to fluctuate over time. As a result, generalized anxiety may be more difficult to treat.
- Panic Attacks are anxiety that occurs with a sudden burst of intensity, which usually persist for ten minutes or less. Includes at least four of the following symptoms- Palpitations/pounding heart/accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling/shaking, sensations of shortness of breath/smothering, feelings of choking, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or abdominal stress, feeling dizzy or faint, chills or heat sensations, paresthesia (numbness or tingling), derealization (feelings of unreality), fear of losing control or dying.
- Situational Anxiety
- Exposure – Gradually creating more exposure to situations/environments that cause stress. Avoidance of anxiety provoking events are more likely to reinforce fear.
- Breathing techniques and guided imagery
- Generalized Anxiety
- Worry awareness training – Everyone experiences stress, it is important to assess the degree in which it interferes with daily life. Excessive stress and worrying is categorized as anxiety.
- Explore the “cycle of worry” – Recording episodes of worry, defining the safety-seeking behaviors, exposure to stressful situations, address problem solving and orientation, and deep breathing exercises/guided imagery.
- Panic Attacks
- Challenge the perception of panic attacks as dangerous or unbearable
- Identify triggers and create situational exposure.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Grounding techniques to divert the mind away from stressful, anxiety-provoking thoughts.
“Micromanagement and the intention of parenting the “Perfect Child” are common causes of stress and anxiety in children. It is important as a parent to actively listen and spend quality time with your child to help minimize stress.”
- Address situational anxiety. Do not “protect” them from it.
- Challenge the fear
- Have honest conversations about their anxiety.
- Model good stress management for your child.
- Have technology free time. Social media is a common cause of stress in children.
Focusing on the Relationship Instead of Control
- Let your child learn from their mistakes.
- Allow your child to open up to you. Don’t “freak out” if they share information that you disagree with. (Example: Someone brings beer to a party, but your child did not drink). Praise your child for not giving in to peer pressure. Try to talk about these situations in advance before they happen. Trying to control this situation will result in your child “shutting down.”
- Make a safety contract. In the event they use it, adhere to your word. (Example: Call me if you ever need a ride, don’t get in the car with someone who’s been drinking.) If and when the scenario occurs, do not yell at your teen for calling you.
- Remind teens they have their own path to follow. Grades are only one component of their academic career. Hobbies and outside interests are important. Who are they? Respect them as individuals.