WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In our transforming world, many adolescents face a major struggle that affects them every single day. This struggle, known as anxiety, which is an intense feeling of stress and discomfort, can make life difficult and discourage many teenagers. The issue of anxiety affects so many teenagers that the National Institute of Health concludes that 1 in every 3 teenagers face some sort of anxiety disorder in their adolescence (Anxiety in Teens is Rising). High numbers of anxiety are problematic because unlike other emotions, anxiety sticks, and it does not go away over time (Anxiety in Teenagers). Numerous aspects of our modern world contribute to the high levels of anxiety, such as different pressures and expectations, social media, and rapid change, which constantly happens all around us.
Tremendous risks arise, when teenagers avoid their anxiety, instead of facing it upfront. Avoidance is an unhealthy coping mechanism that does not result in progressive change. Many teenagers use avoidance strategies because they are too busy and have a deep fear of facing their anxiety. Avoidance is dangerous because it is a form of negative reinforcement (Selby). Negative reinforcement means that an action, feeling, or behavior is emphasized when we stop or avoid (Cherry). In this situation of avoiding anxiety, when we run away from our anxiety, we allow the issue to control us, which negatively reinforces anxiety (Selby). Falling into a cycle of this is dangerous, therefore, using avoidance as a coping strategy is not efficient and can ultimately lead to more harm (Selby). There is a choice to make. As teenagers, we can either let our anxiety control us, or we can take action steps to suppress the anxiety and refocus our energy on something beneficial, such as mindfulness.
MY RESPONSE: WHAT CAN WE DO?
As opposed to avoiding our anxiety, there are multiple steps that we can take to control our mind. This is not an easy journey, but it can be accomplished with dedication, persistence, and willingness to change our habits. Let’s take small steps that will impact us positively.
STEP ONE: We must acknowledge that we fall into a path of avoiding our anxiety. Next time you feel overwhelmed and experience anxiety, notice if you tend to avoid or ignore your feelings.
STEP TWO: Tell yourself no. Do not continue the path of avoidance as it feeds negative reinforcement.
STEP THREE: Take action! Mindfulness is a great tool, and it can be extremely helpful on your path. Simply stated, mindfulness is awareness. It is “…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment” (What is Mindfulness? ). Based on my research, and my personal experiences with mindfulness, I have created videos of some quick and effective mindfulness activities that can help get you started! Since many of you are very busy, the goals of these videos are to teach mindfulness activities that are quick and fit into your lives. While you are on this page, try a few! See if they impact you or spark ideas for other mindfulness activities. As a beginner to mindfulness, again, it is very important to start small and build your way up. Beginning exercises usually contain a lot of breathing and focusing on your senses.
STEP FOUR: Finally, keep practicing. Mindfulness is a learned skill! Once you feel like you have mastered some of the beginners’ techniques, continue on the path! Use a strategy whenever you are feeling anxious, as it is a better mechanism than avoidance. Even if you do not consider yourself an anxious person, share some of these ideas with peers who you think would find it helpful! I was extremely motivated to complete this project, because for years, I have watched so many students at my school struggle with anxiety. I noticed they always ignored it, and it only got worse. I hope to relay information I learned with my peers, and I hope that this helps you and them healthily cope with struggles of anxiety. Remember to keep your head up, and you are not alone on this journey!
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS VIDEOS
HOW WILL YOU GET INVOLVED?
In the comment section below, share your opinions!
- Even if you are someone who does not have anxiety, will you consider adding mindfulness into your life?
- Please let me know if you tried the mindfulness videos! Did they work for you? What do you think would improve them?
- Lastly, how can you encourage others to break the cycle of avoiding anxiety? How can you help them apply healthy coping mechanisms into their lives?
Thank you for visiting my page, and I hope you were able to have a positive takeaway!