WHERE ARE YOU:
STAGES OF CHANGE
All pictures courtesy of Wix.com
The first step in feeling less anxious is acknowledging your anxiety. What are you doing about it? Do you avoid situations or people? Do you often feel scared? Do you want to change?
Identifying where you are in the stages of change will help you understand whether you are ready to take action against the anxiety.
Mindfulness is the practice of observing and accepting your anxiety in the moment. Being curious and open to accepting uncomfortable internal experiences can help you to change your thoughts about the situation causing you anxiety (Schleider & Weisz, 2018; Crowley et al., 2017).
Eating well can help you feel better! Studies have shown links between diet and mood, specifically that prebiotic (full of fiber like bananas and almonds) and probiotic (fermented foods like yoghurt and kombucha) foods reduce depression and anxiety symptoms (Taylor & Holscher, 2018).
You're not ready to change and don't think you need to.
You can identify problem behaviours and are thinking about changing them but are weighing the pros and cons of change.
You are ready to change! Now you are thinking about what sort of steps you need to take to make change happen.
You've made some positive changes and you're ready to focus on creating healthier habits and behaviours.
When you don't get enough sleep, it's more difficult to regulate your emotions and you might feel easily irritated, angry, or emotional. Teens need roughly 10 hours of sleep a night to feel well rested, anything less than that is shown to affect your mood (Baum et al., 2014).
Exercise helps to decrease anxiety (Kliziene, Klizas, Cizauskas, & Sipaviciene, 2018). Whether you enjoy extra-curricular sports or just getting outside for walks with friends, it's important to be active if anxiety is something you struggle with.
You've changed! Now you are working at keeping that positive change and not falling back into problem behaviours.
HOW TO COPE
Finding a professional to help you learn the tools you need to cope with anxiety is an important step to getting control over the anxiety. A counsellor, therapist, or psychologist can help explore the anxiety, help you figure out the triggers, and give you concrete strategies to help decrease it.
FIND YOUR JOY
Social media has been shown to increase adolescent anxiety (Muzaffar et al., 2018; Calancie, Ewing, Narducci, Horgan, & Khalid-Khan, 2017). Instead expecting Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to help with your anxiety, try finding joy in other ways. Studies have also shown that expressing gratitude and the act of savouring positive experiences have the ability to decrease anxiety and depression symptoms (Stone & Parks, 2018).
You might fall back into old patterns, actions, and behaviours. Each relapse comes with new insight and knowledge that helps lessen the frequency of setbacks.
(Miller, Christenson, Gluntz, & Cobb, 2016)