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Feel Like A Kid Again… Literally

Being a student can be extremely stressful whether you are in middle school, high school or college. There is so much pressure to be a good student and achieve good marks while also trying to make friends, succeed in extracurricular activities, have a job to make money and somehow find time in there to sleep. I have seen so many of my friends struggle with anxiety when they are facing so much pressure from either themselves or their families. There has to be some way to feel better, but where do you even begin?

Think back to when you were just a kid, long before you even knew what the word anxiety meant. Remember all of the silly things you did that were an absolute blast and made you feel fantastic? Go back to that! Seriously, who is stopping you from acting like a kid again other than yourself? Have a snowball fight (especially if you live in Minnesota like I do), buy a couple of coloring books and a box of crayons and color outside the lines, build a fort out of blankets or boxes, log roll down a really big hill, prank call someone or  make up your own code language. I’ve done just about all of these over the past few years and nothing makes you feel better.

Kids are often seen as the ones who have so much to learn, but it seems that we can learn just as much from them.  If they have the key to happiness and avoiding anxiety, perhaps we should take their lead. Now, if you will excuse me I think I’m going to make a Lego village.

By: Christine Skopec

New Year, New You?!

Every single January we set our resolutions to change, develop and grow.  We want to implement our goals, dreams, ambitions, and hopes so that we may be happier, healthier, and wiser.   They become our realities for most of January, even  our strive for perfection and stream of determination.  Often, we want to lose weight, maintain better relationships receive better grades, or even save our money.  Every new year presents itself with an opportunity to change something.

If you are conflicted about what your new year’s resolution should be this year I’ve got some tips on where to start.  Since these resolutions can often times be stressful to obtain and hard to reach it’s important to set realistic yet challenging goals for yourself.  Keep in mind that we aren’t superhumans with the ability to lose 20 pounds in one month, or receive all A’s in one semester.  Learning a new skill takes time.  You have to be determined.  You don’t necessarily see change starting, but once you feel the power it gives you, then you’ll know you’ve reached your goal.

Here are my Top 10 New Year Resolution suggestions to try:

1.     Make resolutions that will benefit you such as getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  Studies have shown that people who get more sleep have less stress and are more productive.

2.     Take up a hobby that you haven’t had before.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to try ice-skating.  Or perhaps painting.  Maybe it’s joining a group at school that you are interested in.  You never know what you can be great at until you try.

3.     Be friendlier. Take the time to really show your interest in other individual’s activities or passions.  Friendships develop all the time from underlying similarities.  Reach outside of your normal social circle and say hello to someone on the bus or at school.  Put on a smile! Being friendly never hurt.

4.     Expand your music horizon.  Music therapy can be great for anyone who has anxiety.  Listen to the lyrics of songs, take note in what you like and try to interpret their meaning.  Music has the capability of reducing stress yet also providing energy.  Different beats, genres, and lyrics can set the mood for almost anything.  Try it!

5.     Clean out that closet once and for all!  …Or your room, car, etc.  Being unorganized can be stressful.  You can’t find the things you are looking for, you get caught up in all of the chaos of the clutter.  So take a little bit of time to get organized.  Being in a clean space can help your mind relax and unwind.

6.     Make your favorite childhood meal once a month.  Meals or smells that have a positive and comforting meaning associated with them can reduce stress.  I always like to have a bagel with peanut butter on it because my Mom always made that when I was younger.  It takes me back to happiness in those little bites of heaven.

7.     Incorporate a life long stress relieving practice.  This could be yoga, or drinking tea.  Really it can be anything that helps your feel better.  Maybe it’s reading every night before bed, or perhaps it’s going for a walk once a week by yourself.  Everyone needs a little reflection time; it’s good for your soul.  Try it!

8.     Be more positive.  Optimism is a powerful thing, even if you don’t know it.  It can lead to a happier, energetic outlook on daily activities.  Your attitude can shift.  It can change everything.  Even putting a smile on can help you feel better.  So try and smile more, say thank you, have positive thoughts, and don’t self-depreciate.  You are an important person with dreams, goals and ambitions.  You can do anything!

9.     Reduce your job or school stress level.  Don’t let yourself become so overwhelmed that it consumes you.  Make it a point to stay on top of your work.  Sometimes to-do lists help, or planners.  If you are stressed at work or school, it’s likely that will impact other aspects of your life and most importantly your happiness.  Examine what areas you need to improve on and what changes you can make to make a positive impact on your life.  If you aren’t happy in your job, it’s time to seek out what you are capable of and where your passions are.  If you don’t like school… well, that’s tough!  School can be horrible, annoying, positive, and a useful tool all at the same time.  You’ll make it through it though, and eventually find what you are meant to do.

10.     Make some future goals.  What is one thing you want to accomplish in the next 5 or 10 years?  Write down everything that makes you happy or that you enjoy doing.  This list can lead to an idea or even a path for you.  How are your finances?  Relationships? Goals? Personal development?   These are all things to think about when documenting your future goals.

If you find that day-to day stress and anxiety are overwhelming your focus, take a deep breath and reanalyze where you are.   These helpful New Year’s resolutions tips should allow you to set some productive goals for yourself, even if they are small.  We all have dreams, ambitions, and passions, but some of us also have obstacles.  First we have to get over these hurdles before we can reach our destination.

I hope these new years resolutions tips are useful to you and help you reflect on your personal goals.

To a healthier, happier you!  Happy New Year!

Now smile!

By: Monique Volz

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Anxiety In the Wild: Wilderness Therapy

Do you feel as though you have run out of all resources for treating anxiety, trying medication, therapy, relaxation?

Well here is another technique that sounds like an amazing experience! The Aspen Achievement Academy is offering a Wilderness therapy program. In the wilderness, you will focus both on preventing anxiety attacks with a blend of therapeutic technique and hands-on learning and intervening when a student’s anxiety attack becomes overwhelming. In order to prevent anxiety from taking control, the staff and therapists at Aspen Achievement Academy teach teens many techniques including relaxation techniques, coping skills, mindfulness skills, emotional regulation and expression, and cognitive restructuring. At Aspen, you will receive help on learning to identify unhealthy coping mechanism and learning new coping skills. You will also keep your mind and body positively and closely connected through activities such as hiking, yoga, tai chi, and quiet meditation time.

While out in the wilderness, you may be faced with many fears and challenges; however, therapy happens on an ongoing basis through this program. When fears and worries arise, you are surrounded 24 hours a day by caring, supportive field staff and therapists who are there to help you practice new coping skills. The ability to overcome the fears builds up your self-esteem and gives you a sense of control in your life with better managing anxiety. Nature is sometime the best teacher. At the Wilderness Academy, there are no televisions, games, computers, or ipods; this allows you to face fears and use coping skills rather than escaping through technology. Nature is non-judgemental and allows you to learn through natural consequences. Teens at the academy will learn that while some things are in their control, others are not. So one can learn the skills for living in the moment rather than future thinking which is one of the main causes of anxiety.

For teens suffering from anxiety, prevention is helpful but not enough, intervention is critical in developing healthy skills to manage anxiety and symptoms. The Wilderness therapy program is an awesome opportunity to learn, build, and practice all of the skills taught and developed.  Check it out: http://www.aspenacademy.com/

By: Annyetta Keefe

NEW Anxiety In Teens Blog!

Welcome to the Brand NEW Anxiety In Teens blog!!! We have decided to switch bloggin platforms for better archiving and ease of use for our users! New, interesting and insightful posts will be coming soon your way!

-The Anxiety in Teens Team

Anxiety In Teens