Note to Readers: Teen stress is not always easy to detect, but we know teens are under enormous amounts of stress. Teens and their families can all benefit by learning to balance their stress filled lives with stress management techniques. Thanks to Annie for sharing these steps to introduce your teen to the powerful effective technique of breathing. Focused breathing can help help breathe teen stress away.
by Annie Fox, M.Ed
It’s totally normal for teens and everyone else to get stressed at times. Stress knocks people off-balance. Getting “back in balance” or re-centering reduces stress. It’s that simple. There’s a special kind of BREATHING called re-centering breathing. It can help you when things get rough. When you do it, it can help you stop a stress-response before you lose control and end up doing stuff that you “don’t want to do.” This kind of breathing isn’t hard to do, but it takes practice. The trick is to remember to do it while you’re feeling stressed.
Try these relaxation techniques :
1. RE-CENTER. Sit and get comfortable. Put your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs. Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe normally through your nose, but with one difference…pay attention and visualize the air coming in. Then visualize the air going out. BREATHE IN SLOWLY… THEN LET IT OUT SLOWLY. (Continue with this special kind of breathing for 20 seconds)
2. ASK YOURSELF: What did I notice? Some kids say: “Things slowed down.” “I felt calmer.” “I feel more relaxed.” Some say that their thoughts got quieter. Some say, “Nothing happened.” or “I almost fell asleep!” There are no wrong answers. It’s all good.
3. TRY IT AGAIN. Close your eyes. Relax. This time INHALE SLOWLY and evenly through your nose. Then EXHALE SLOWLY and evenly through your open mouth. When you inhale think “Breathing IN” when you exhale think “Breathing OUT.” Quiet all other thoughts. Follow your breathing. (Continue for 30 seconds)
4. ASK YOURSELF: What did I notice? What was different?
Learning to focus only on your breathing, without letting other thoughts distract you, can be very challenging. It takes practice. If you can’t focus on your breath for more than a second without thinking of other things, don’t get mad at yourself. (That’ll stress you out!) As soon as you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back to your breathing.
5. TRY IT ONCE MORE, breathing at your own pace. (Continue for 45 seconds)
6. ASK YOURSELF: What happened that time?
Re-centering breathing is a great way to calm down so you can THINK more clearly and figure out what to do in stressful situations.
Try it for today. Try to remember to breathe every time you start to feel stressed about… anything.
Author of Too Stressed to Think?
A Teen Guide to Staying Sane When Life Makes You CRAZY
Teen stress can be reduced with additional techniques to manage stress, anxiety and create a peaceful night’s sleep all available on the Indigo Teen Dreams CD and Indigo Dreams: Teen Relaxation Music CD.