Children experience a range of feelings from happiness to sadness, from anger to anguish. By the time your children are teenagers, they become sensitive to their surroundings and also experience increased pressure to focus on their lives and careers. It is likely to lead to stress and anxiety.
Your teenager might not express their emotions, but they show obvious signs of being emotionally overwrought. However, while most of us talk about feelings to our children, we hardly ever talk about how to cope with them. When left unaddressed, negative emotions can damage the psyche of a child. Issues like anger management or low self-esteem may result from bottled-up emotions. If you want to make a person resilient in adulthood, the sooner you start, the better.
We have made a list of 35 coping skills for teens. These skills will help your teenager manage their emotions in a better way.
Types Of Coping Strategies
There are many types of coping strategies that can be used as per an individual’s requirement (1). However, they can be broadly classified into the following strategies.
In this strategy, the person changes the way they think by changing their values or goals.
2. Adaptive behavior
This strategy is used to deal with the cause of the problem instead of the problem itself.
This strategy includes methods that will help a person manage their emotions by using diversionary or calming methods.
4. Reactivity or proactivity
This strategy involves a person reacting to a problem by solving it or planning for it proactively before it occurs.
This method includes seeking social support from others as a coping mechanism.
It is used to look upon problems in a humorous light, hence being able to remain positive in the worst times.
35 Coping Skills For Teens
Children who learn to manage their feelings are more likely to lead a healthy and well-balanced life in adulthood (2). It may also reduce the teen’s chances of relying on pernicious coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse and unlawful activities.
1. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way to remove the excess negative energies from your body and fill your body with the feel-good hormones called endorphins. A run or a brisk walk when upset clears the mind and reduces stress.
2. Have a good diet
A good diet consisting of all the nutrients and calories you need to get through the day will ensure that you do not get stressed too much. When you are hungry or if you eat junk food a lot, your body is unable to cope with stress.
3. Reduce caffeine
Caffeine is a strong stimulant (3). Excess caffeine could increase anxiety and restlessness, interfering with our sleep patterns. Teens must keep their caffeine intake minimal or avoid it if they easily become anxious due to a stressful situation.
4. Have a social network
However busy you might be with studies and assignments, it is necessary to have a friend circle to support you through rough times. Even if you are an introvert, having a couple of close friends helps.
5. Avoid alcohol
There is a reason why the legal age for consuming alcohol is 21 (4). However, many teens are pushed into drinking by their peers; refusing might lead to social ostracization. Teens must avoid alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco or narcotics to cope with stress since these habits harm both physically and mentally.
6. Name the emotions
Many teenagers struggle with their emotions because they simply do not know what those emotions are. Naming these emotions can remove the unknown factor from the emotions, and your teens will be able to deal with them better.
7. Learn breathing techniques
Breathing exercises are one of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety and stress. Taking deep breaths and focusing on the breath can help your teen relax their minds.
8. Create art
Be it drawing, painting, or making new craftwork, art is always useful in making the mind concentrate on something positive. You can invest in simple paints, brushes, and other art supplies to help your teen vent out their emotions through art.
Reading a book is the ultimate escape from reality. A teenager who is encouraged to read can escape into a story that will help focus their minds and offer a distraction from anxiety.
10. Play games
Games can take your mind right off almost any trouble or stressful situation. Be it video games or an old-fashioned board game, your mind can relax and forget anxiety when facing other challenges ahead.
11. Practice yoga
Yoga is one of the best ways to relax your mind and bring balance to your body. There are many online yoga courses, and you can select one based on your convenience and skill level.
12. Listen to music
Even for adults, music is therapeutic. Calming music is known to bring peace to your mind. You can listen to the music of your choice or even create a tune of your own if you can make music to calm your anxiety.
13. Watch funny videos
The internet is full of funny videos of dogs, cats, babies, and people making humorous mistakes. Pick your choice and watch these videos until you feel calm enough.
14. Learn relaxation exercises
While breathing exercises are a form of relaxation exercises, other exercises can also help you relax. Abdominal breathing and muscle-relaxing are some amazing exercises that can help reduce stress.
15. Increase positive self-talk
We become what we think. Our innermost thoughts unconsciously influence us. You have to make an effort to track your thoughts and change negative thoughts into positive ones.
16. Spend time with a pet
Pets have a positive calming effect on their owners (5). Most pets can understand their owners’ moods and will actively try to reduce their anxiety levels in some way or another.
Many times, doing something selfless for someone can lift you out of depression and anxiety. Look out for a nearby soup kitchen or an animal shelter and offer to volunteer for a day.
Take one day to organize your space. If your room is a mess with your books and clothes lying all around, take some time to organize them well. A clean space creates a calming environment.
This strategy goes hand-in-hand with organizing your space. Decluttering your space of unwanted things can be very helpful in clearing your mind. In general, you can get rid of broken or damaged things and those you haven’t used in a year.
20. Start the day with positive affirmations
Saying positive affirmations to yourself in the morning is one of the best ways to overcome stress. Look at yourself in the mirror and say things like, “Today is a good day,” or “Today I will overcome this problem.”
21. Go outside
Stepping outside the house can go a long way in reducing anxiety. You can take a leisurely walk in a nearby park or even stroll around your plants on the balcony. Spending time with nature settles your senses and brings peace.
Make sure you devote at least ten minutes of your day to meditation. You can download a meditation or mindfulness app on your phones and use them daily.
23. Make a list of mood boosters
There are some things you do when you are happy. These are usually the same things you do to cheer yourself when your mood is low. Make a list of these activities, such as dancing, singing, or writing poems, and display it at a place where you can see it. Adopt one mood booster each time you feel low.
24. Make a calming kit
Every teen has certain sensations that help them calm down. Some of them can be visual, others could be related to the sense of smell, hearing, or touch. Make a kit that contains the things that make you happy. You can use the kit to calm yourself when you are distressed.
25. Ask for help
We usually feel lonely when we are stressed or depressed. Overcome this issue by asking for help whenever possible. Parents can apply this strategy by encouraging their teens to talk to them.
26. Visualize a happy place
This strategy needs some thinking, practice, and concentration. But once you get the hang of it, you can easily close your eyes and imagine yourself in a happy place and provide yourself with a temporary distraction. It can even fill you with positive emotions to tackle the problem at hand.
27. Drink tea
The very act of making tea acts as a stress reliever. But tea also contains chemicals that help in reducing stress levels in your body (6). Drinking a hot cup of tea can make a lot of difference in your mental state.
28. Compliment someone
As contradictory as it sounds, complimenting others when you are anxious makes you feel better. You are making an effort to make another person feel better, and it automatically reflects on your mental state as well.
29. Write in your diary
Writing is a form of exercise that allows you to remove all your thoughts and put them on paper. In fact, once you write it all down, you can look at your anxieties and feelings with a new perspective and they might even seem trivial.
30. Knit or sew
Just like drawing and coloring, knitting and sewing are incredibly calming activities. The simple act of following patterns and moving the needles in a certain repetitive motion helps calm your mind.
Swimming is not only a great exercise, but it can also double up as a coping method for teens. It can help eliminate anxiety and tension and fill your mind with calmness.
32. Make a gratitude list
In your happier moods, make a gratitude list and put it somewhere you can see it easily. Take a look at the list whenever you feel low, so that you have something positive to appreciate.
33. Count in reverse from 100
Counting in reverse from 100 is easier said than done. You will have to concentrate on the numbers to get them right. It is a great way to divert your focus from negative thoughts and calm your mind.
34. Splash cool water on your face
Whenever you are feeling anxious, splashing cold water on your face helps a lot. It can reduce anxiety, make you feel refreshed, and may even reduce your heart rate due to stress.
35. Call a friend or close relative
Have a friend or a relative you can call anytime to speak your heart out without worrying about being judged. It could be your best friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, or even a favorite uncle.
These strategies are tried and tested ways to bring down your stress levels. All of them distract a teen’s mind and help them look at their problems from a different perspective. These coping skills for teens are helpful not only in their formative years but also in later stages of life.
2. Damon Jones, Mark Greenberg, and Max Crowley, Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health; American Public Health Association
3. The buzz about caffeine and health, Harvard Medical School
4. Minimum legal drinking age of 21 saves lives, CDC
5. The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets, HelpGuide
6. Andrew Steptoe et al., The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery; U.S. National Library of Medicine
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