It’s easy to let anxiety get the better of you. It’s especially easy when you have a lot of demands and there’s so much to think about! You’ve got your history exam and your geometry assignment and your college applications to complete, oh, and you’re going to the prom next weekend, and you still haven’t found a date!
There’s a lot to balance when you’re a teenager – school, social life, family responsibilities, and preparing for your future. It’s a minor miracle that you’re able to juggle every aspect of your life! It’s no wonder there’s some anxiety. In fact, it’s no wonder that there is anxiety among most of the American population!
In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychological illness. According to Moretza and Karen Khaleghi, authors of the book Anatomy of Addiction, 19.1 million adults suffer from anxiety, which translates to about 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, or about one in every seven adults. Also, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports that one in eight children and teens are affected by anxiety disorders.
And it makes sense: we are a society that likes to fill our daily plate with one responsibility after another. Who isn’t stressed, overworked, worried, or tense? The mind keeps going. It keeps thinking, worrying, analyzing, and planning. And once the mind is on a roll, once it’s thinking and running and carrying on and on, it’s hard to find reprieve. The mind can begin to invade your sleep and your periods of relaxation.
To rehabilitate your mind, to find a sense of ease from anxiety, there are many things you can do. However, first, it’s important to point out that anxiety can exist on a level within that is beyond conscious awareness. In other words, this sense of feeling anxious can hover throughout all moments of the day, and those who suffer from anxiety might have difficulty putting their finger on the source of anxiety, fear, or worry. Yet, their experience of anxiety is persistent and chronic. This is known as free-floating anxiety – when there is no known source of the anxiety. At times, the experience of anxiety can be tied to a past trauma or a social fear or the threat of having panic attacks.
Regardless of whether it has a known source or not, excessive anxiety can interfere with the ability to function and can be extreme, even for everyday matters. If there is anxiety that is excessive and when there is irrational worry for at least six months, it is considered to be psychological disorder. When symptoms impair the ability to function in daily life, a psychological illness is usually at hand. When life becomes overwhelming, that overwhelm may not be overt but reveal itself through psychological symptoms that eventually become pervasive enough to become a mental illness. With this comes the need for a diagnosis, and with a diagnosis, treatment can follow.
However, you can take measures to prevent psychological illness. The best way to prevent the symptoms of anxiety, such as fear, excessive worry, stress, panic attacks, etc, is to have a regular practice of relaxation. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can meditate, practice yoga, go on daily walks, listen to calming music, exercise, participate in guided imagery exercises, or simply have some quiet time to let go of thoughts in the mind. Of course, you can also participate in therapy to work through the ways that you manage that anxiety as well as learning to respond to life in new ways.
There are many tools to help rehabilitate the heart and to find your way out from under the tumultuousness of an anxious mind. Using those tools on a daily basis – not only when life gets intense – can be the way to stay calm through the storm of adolescence.