Last Updated on March 14, 2023
Anxiety is a common issue among teenagers and can be challenging to manage. Parents need to understand how their teenager is feeling and why they are experiencing anxiety to help them cope.
Motivating a teenager with anxiety requires patience, understanding, and consistency from the parent or guardian.
It may seem like an impossible task at first. Still, by providing support during challenging times and creating positive experiences for your teen, you can help them stay motivated despite their anxieties.
This guide will provide tips on how to motivate a teenager with anxiety so that they can lead more productive lives.
- How To Motivate A Teenager With Anxiety?
- Watch this video to Help Your Teen Navigate Anxiety
- How A Pre-Teen And Teenager Can Manage Anxiety?
- When Should You Be Concerned About Anxiety?
- When To Seek Help For Anxiety And Depression?
- Things You Should Never Say To Teens With Anxiety Disorders
- What Are The Common Causes Of Low Motivation Among Teens?
- How Can Anxiety Impact Your Child's Ability To Self-Motivate?
- Wrapping Up
How To Motivate A Teenager With Anxiety?
If you have a teenager with anxiety, it is crucial to help them find ways to manage it. There are a few strategies that can help you motivate a teen with anxiety.
Recognize that Anxiety is Real
It is essential to recognize that anxiety is a real disorder and can affect your teenager’s mood, behaviors, and reactions. Talk to your teen about their anxiety and let them know you understand what they are going through.
Help Create a Support System
Encourage your teen to create a support system for family members, friends, counselors, or even peers experiencing similar emotions. This can help them feel comfortable discussing their issues with someone they trust and provide an outlet for them to express themselves in a safe space.
Make Time for Self-Care
Remind your teen to take time out of each day for self-care. Encourage them to practice daily relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, or even just take a few minutes each day to do something they enjoy, like reading or listening to music. By making sure your teen takes the time to relax and unwind, it can help reduce their anxiety levels.
Encourage Positive Thinking
Help your teen understand that thoughts can be changed and positive thinking can replace negative ones. Show them how to identify any negative thoughts they may have and then challenge those thoughts with more realistic, positive ones. This way, they can focus on the good instead of the bad and start feeling more confident in themselves.
Create a Reasonable Schedule
Plan out a schedule for your teenager that will help them stay organized and on track. Set realistic goals for them to achieve and prioritize tasks that need to be completed each day. This will help them stay focused and allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment when they accomplish those goals.
Encourage Social Interaction
Help your teen find ways to interact with other teens who may also be dealing with anxiety or stress. Invite friends over, join an after-school club, or attend social events where they can talk and connect with others in a relaxed setting. Allowing your teenager to have positive connections with their peers can help ease any anxious feelings they may have.
Get Professional Help When Needed
If your teen’s anxiety continues to interfere with their daily life, it is crucial to seek out professional help. A psychologist or therapist can provide your teenager with the tools and support they need to cope with their anxiety. They can also be a great source of advice for you as a parent when it comes to helping your teen manage their emotions.
By understanding, recognizing, and addressing the underlying causes of your teenager’s anxiety, you can help them build coping strategies that will allow them to lead happier and healthier lives. Taking the time to understand how stress affects your teen and supporting them is key in helping them manage their anxious feelings.
With patience, understanding, and consistency, you can help motivate your teen to take control of their anxiety and live life without fear or worry.
Also read: My 10 year old daughter has mood swings
Watch this video to Help Your Teen Navigate Anxiety
How A Pre-Teen And Teenager Can Manage Anxiety?
Pre-teens and teenagers can manage anxiety by taking time to relax, talking to someone they trust, exercising or doing something creative, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.
Taking breaks from stressful situations can help too. It’s important to find activities that make them feel relaxed and calm such as reading a book or listening to music.
Talking with someone they trust about their worries can also help lessen anxiety. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress levels as it releases endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals.
Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also helps with mood regulation by providing our bodies with the necessary vitamins and minerals for good mental health.
On top of this, getting enough restful sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being so try not to stay up late if possible!
When Should You Be Concerned About Anxiety?
If your teen often feels worried, scared or overwhelmed for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of anxiety. Suppose these feelings start to interfere with their daily life and relationships. In that case, it’s essential to talk to an adult about how they are feeling, says Kristy Burns Scarlett, Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Los Alamitos, California.
You should be concerned about your anxious teen when you see something unusual regularly, such as-
– Less extracurricular activities
– Panic attacks
– Lack of motivation for doing daily life things
– No social life or social anxiety
– School refusal
– Less to no social activities, everyday activities, family activities, and physical activity.
– All-time feeling of worry
– Panic disorder
– Maintaining a poor diet
These can be a few basic signs of anxiety in your pre-teens or teenagers.
When To Seek Help For Anxiety And Depression?
When it comes to mental health, it is crucial to understand when it is best to seek help for anxiety and depression. It can be difficult to tell the difference between regular sadness and depression or normal stress versus an anxiety disorder.
“Many people are ashamed or embarrassed to seek help for their mental health issues, but seeking professional help can make a huge difference in managing these conditions”, Kristi added.
If a teenager feels overwhelmed by emotions day after day, they may have an anxiety disorder or depression. Symptoms of anxiety include difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, obsessing over worries and fears, irritability and restlessness.
Depression symptoms include sadness that doesn’t go away, lack of appetite or overeating, fatigue and low energy levels, hopelessness or worthlessness.
“Other signs of both conditions may include social isolation, avoidance of activities once enjoyed, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide or death”, she explained.
If the teenager is experiencing any of these symptoms regularly for more than two weeks, then it’s important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, Kristi suggested.
They will be able to provide therapy specifically tailored to their individual situation and needs. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy often used for treating depression and anxiety disorders; this type focuses on changing unhealthy thought patterns so that they no longer trigger negative emotions such as fear or worry.
Other therapies may focus on relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation or exercise, which can reduce stress levels and improve moods.
Tips from experts for teenagers with anxiety are-
- It’s also important to take care of yourself even if you decide not to see a therapist immediately – take time out for yourself every day to do something that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
- Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, joining groups with similar interests, and practicing self-care activities like reading books that lift your spirits.
- Talking with friends who understand what you’re going through, writing down negative thoughts to challenge them, creating art projects that give you an outlet for expression, and visiting supportive websites devoted to helping those struggling with mental health issues.
- Take deep breaths when feeling anxious or stressed, and set realistic goals for yourself each day to gain control over your life again.
Anxiety and depression can be daunting, but there is hope – seeking help from a mental health professional who understands your particular situation is the best way forward to get back on the road towards emotional wellness again.
Be sure to seek out qualified professionals and take good care of yourself, too until then!
Things You Should Never Say To Teens With Anxiety Disorders
It’s important to be mindful when talking to teens with anxiety disorders, as saying the wrong thing can have a lasting emotional impact.
Here are some of the most common things that you should never say to a teenager with anxiety disorder:
1. “Just try to relax” – It may seem like an innocuous comment, but this statement invalidates the feelings of someone facing an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is not just a feeling that can be “switched off”; telling someone to do so will only make them feel more overwhelmed and frustrated.
2. “Everything will work out in the end” – While this statement may come from a good place, it doesn’t address the present situation or how difficult it feels in the moment for the person with an anxiety disorder. Instead of offering platitudes, offer your support and understanding.
3. “There’s nothing to worry about” – This statement ignores their feelings and experiences entirely instead of validating them or trying to find ways to help them cope with their anxious thoughts and fears.
4. “Are you sure that’s necessary?” – Asking this question implies that the person has exaggerated or overstated their need for help or assistance, which can be quite damaging.
Remember that everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to managing anxiety, so try not to invalidate those needs by questioning them too much.
5. “You must be making this up”– This statement is hurtful and could lead someone with an anxiety disorder down a path of self-doubt and rumination, which would ultimately aggravate their anxious thoughts even more.
6. “Why don’t you just get over it?”– Anxiety cannot simply be dismissed or forgotten; it takes time, effort and dedication on both ends (yours and theirs) to manage anxious thoughts effectively. Offering this type of advice won’t help at all; instead, encourage your loved one on their journey towards feeling better by showing your support in any way possible!
What Are The Common Causes Of Low Motivation Among Teens?
Low motivation among teens is a common problem that parents and educators struggle to address. It can have a wide range of causes, from physical ailments to psychological issues.
Below are some of the most common reasons for low motivation in teenagers:
Teenagers who feel bored or unfulfilled in their activities may lack the motivation to continue with them.
This can happen if they don’t have enough engaging challenges or if the types of activities they’re doing are not stimulating enough for them. This type of boredom often shows up as apathy and disinterest in their school work and other tasks.
Stress can be a major factor in causing low motivation among teens. In addition to feeling overwhelmed by their coursework and extracurriculars, students also face social pressures like fitting in or meeting expectations set by peer pressure and adults.
Pressure from family members to succeed academically can add further stress on teens, leading them to become unmotivated and withdrawn from their responsibilities.
Lack of sleep
Not getting enough sleep is another common cause of low motivation among teens due to its adverse effects on concentration, focus, energy levels, and moods.
Sleep deprivation impairs the ability to think clearly and process information quickly, making it difficult for teens to stay motivated enough to complete tasks efficiently or persist with activities over time.
Teens who feel unacknowledged or unheard may suffer from feelings of worthlessness, affecting their desire to participate in activities or strive for academic success.
When teens feel misunderstood by adults, they may become unmotivated because they don’t believe their efforts will be appreciated or rewarded no matter how hard they try.
Low self-esteem can also cause teenagers to shy away from opportunities out of fear of failure or humiliation, further reducing their chances for success.
How Can Anxiety Impact Your Child’s Ability To Self-Motivate?
Anxiety can make it harder for your child to stay motivated and do things on their own. They might feel overwhelmed and not want to try something new or take on a challenge.
But you can teach or help them tackle anxiety for teens to stay motivated.
These include providing teens with engaging activities that will challenge them mentally as well as helping them manage their stress levels by teaching them effective coping strategies such as mindfulness techniques or physical exercise.
Additionally, creating an environment where teenagers feel heard and respected could help increase their sense of worthiness which is essential for staying motivated over time.
Finally, helping teens build healthy relationships with peers may boost their confidence levels, motivating them to pursue academic success.
The 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety is a technique that helps to alleviate anxiety by grounding the individual in the present moment. It involves naming three objects you can see, three sounds you can hear, and then moving three parts of your body. This technique helps to focus attention away from anxious thoughts and onto the physical environment.
By focusing on the sights, sounds, and sensations around us, we can become more aware of our surroundings and less focused on anxious thoughts. The 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety also encourages deep breathing, which can help to reduce stress levels.
Anxiety is a common mental health issue that can be managed with the right lifestyle changes. Eating certain foods can help reduce anxiety symptoms, as they contain nutrients that promote brain health and reduce stress hormones. Here are some of the best foods to eat if you’re looking to ease your anxiety:
Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, salmon helps improve brain function and reduce inflammation.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, and other legumes are packed with fiber and B vitamins which help regulate moods.
Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat contains flavonoids which have been linked to reducing stress hormones.
Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants which help protect the body from free radicals that can cause damage.
Spinach: Spinach is a great source of magnesium which helps relax muscles and calm nerves.
Eggs: High in protein, eggs also contain choline which helps improve memory and cognitive function.
Turkey: A good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin – a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and relaxation.
Almonds: Almonds are full of healthy fats that help keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.
Yogurt: Yogurt is high in probiotics which can help boost gut health and reduce inflammation.
Kale or Arugula: These leafy greens are packed with folate, an important nutrient for mental health.
Avocado: Avocados are full of healthy fats that help reduce cortisol levels – a hormone linked to stress and anxiety.
By incorporating these foods into the diet, you may be able to manage the anxiety symptoms better naturally.
Motivating a teenager with anxiety can be difficult, but it is possible. By providing them with the right resources and education to help them manage their anxiety and showing your support in whatever way you can, you can create an environment where they feel safe and supported.
It’s also important to remember that everyone responds differently to different types of motivation, so make sure to tailor your approach accordingly.
With patience and understanding, motivating a teen with anxiety doesn’t have to be impossible; instead, it could become one of the most rewarding experiences for both parties involved!
Sharing Is Caring!
Dr. Leah Alexander is a board-certiﬁed general pediatrician and has been practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000. Since 2005, she has been working as an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey. She also enjoys cooking outside of the medical profession. Read more