When Nerves Attack: How to Tame Teenage Angst

No one likes anxiety, but everyone gets it.

For teens, it can be particularly distressing because they don’t know how to manage this uncomfortable emotion.

“Anxiety and worry can very much be a normal reaction to everyday life stressors, and it can be useful as it helps us to increase our focus as well as be prepared,” said Michael Grove, LIMHP, CHI Health licensed mental health practitioner.

Learning to deal with nerves is part of growing up, but kids often struggle in silence.

A little empathy goes a long way.

“I encourage patients and their families to start an open dialogue regarding anxiety at a young age,” Grove said. “Talking about anxiety, fears and worries with someone who loves and supports you can be one of the most helpful things you can do.”

For typical anxiety-provoking situations, it’s important to know that nervous feelings are normal. The trick is managing these emotions. Lifestyle tools that can help:

  • Mindfulness techniques teach the brain to stay in the moment.
  • Exercise boosts neurochemicals that calm the brain.
  • Breathing relaxes the body and mind.
  • Healthy eating has been found to improve mental health.
  • One more thing: “Never underestimate the impact of sleep on mood and ability to cope with anxiety,” Grove said.

With good habits and practice, everyday nerves can be calmed. But if anxiety persists or escalates into panic, seek professional help.

There’s an app for that. Some helpful anxiety tools:

  • Relax & Rest Meditations
  • Headspace
  • Stop Panic & Anxiety Self Help
  • Self-help for Anxiety Management