What are some ways for teenagers to calm down when upset?
Teenagers, like individuals of any age, can experience a range of emotions and may benefit from specific strategies to calm down when they’re upset. Here are some effective ways for teenagers to manage their emotions and find calm:
- Deep Breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Teach teenagers deep breathing exercises, similar to what was suggested for younger children. Additionally, guide them through progressive muscle relaxation, where they tense and then relax different muscle groups in their body, promoting relaxation and reducing tension.
- Journaling and Writing: Encourage teenagers to express their feelings by writing in a journal or diary. This can provide an outlet for their emotions, help them gain clarity, and serve as a form of self-reflection. They can write about what is bothering them, how it makes them feel, and possible solutions or coping strategies.
- Engage in Physical Activity: Physical activity is a powerful way to release tension and boost mood. Encourage teenagers to participate in activities they enjoy, such as running, dancing, playing a sport, or stretching. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which can improve their emotional state.
- Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Introduce teenagers to mindfulness and meditation techniques, which can help them cultivate awareness, reduce stress, and regulate their emotions. Encourage them to engage in mindfulness exercises, such as focusing on their breath, body scan meditations, or guided meditation apps.
- Seek Supportive Relationships: Encourage teenagers to reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mentors who can provide a listening ear and emotional support. Sometimes talking about their concerns and receiving validation can help alleviate distress.
- Listen to Music: Music has the power to influence mood and provide a calming effect. Encourage teenagers to listen to soothing or uplifting music that resonates with them. They can create playlists of songs that help them relax or express their emotions.
- Engage in Creative Outlets: Encourage teenagers to engage in creative activities that help them express themselves, such as painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or writing poetry. These outlets can provide a means of emotional expression and serve as a form of self-soothing.
- Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care: Encourage teenagers to take breaks and engage in self-care activities when they feel overwhelmed or upset. This might involve taking a walk outdoors, practicing self-compassion, engaging in hobbies they enjoy, or engaging in activities that promote relaxation, such as taking a warm bath or practicing self-massage.
- Cognitive Strategies: Help teenagers reframe their thoughts and challenge negative thinking patterns. Teach them cognitive strategies like identifying and replacing negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. This can help them gain perspective and reduce emotional distress.
It’s important to remember that each teenager is unique, and different strategies may work better for some than others. Encourage open communication, validate their feelings, and support them in finding healthy coping mechanisms that work best for their individual needs. If their distress persists or significantly affects their well-being, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a mental health provider.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you are a parent or carer of a teenaged child who needs assistance with learning to manage their emotions, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.