5 Ways to Help Your Teen Stress Less
I had planned to write the second blog post about revising for exams this week, BUT…
This week, I have been seeing overwhelm EVERYWHERE – from my children, my friends’ children, my students, my teacher friends.
Despite all that has happened over the past 18 months, we seem to be hell-bent on playing “catch up” at all costs and it’s taking its toll.
We need to stop. And Breathe.
If your teen is in a state of overwhelm, they will not be able to revise. To be productive, they need to be calm.
Here are 5 ways in which you can help your teen to reduce the overwhelm around study:
Tip 1 – Break the state
If your teen is in a state of overwhelm, their adrenaline levels will be high. If their adrenaline levels remain high for a long period of time, it will cause them to crash later and they will feel exhausted (like an adrenaline hangover).
They need to break this state before they will be able to think about anything else. Sometimes it can take up to two hours for their rational brain to “reconnect”, so if they need a break, it is important that they take it.
Encourage them to do some exercise to increase their oxygen supply to their brains.
Tip 2 – Use positive language
Words such as “pressure,” “stress” and “overwhelming” are less than helpful – they embed the negative state. Instead, use words such as “calm” “slowly” and “relaxed” as these words will help your teen to access these more resourceful states.
Tip 3 – Ask your teen what their priorities are.
Everyone involved in our teenagers’ lives will have different ideas about what our teen should be focusing their time on but what is important is what YOUR TEEN wants. They are far more likely to perform well by concentrating hard on a handful of things
Get your teen to visualise what they would like their life will be like when they are 25. What should they be focusing on now as part of this plan and what can they let go of?
Tip 4 – Help your teen to make the “problem” smaller
Our unconscious minds often code stress and overwhelm in an intriguing way. When we feel something is very important, it can feel physically big to us.
Your teen might feel the GCSEs are looming right in front of their face; they might even feel suffocated by the pressure. You can help them by getting them to recognise WHERE they feel the overwhelm. If it is inside them, get them to imagine slowly pulling it out. If it feels big, get them to imagine shrinking it to the size of a peanut and sending it to the moon. This can be HUGELY powerful. They will instantly feel lighter and gain a different perspective.
Tip 5 – Tell your teen that there is plenty of time
Regardless of how much time we actually have before an event, it can be so much better for our neurology to believe that we have plenty of time rather than a limited amount. If they focus on what they can do with the time they have got, rather than focusing on the time they have not got, they are likely to feel calmer and therefore be more productive.