These tips on self help for teenage anxiety consider how a teen can face high levels of academic stress, bullying, loneliness, and sleep deprivation in their everyday life.
Anxiety in teens can be a normal reaction to a range of stressful situations. But just because something is “normal” doesn’t it should be ignored. Anxious children and teens could need some guidance for how to cope with their anxiety.
In every case of teenage anxiety, teens often struggle with frustration, sadness, and worry. And for the teenagers suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or anxiety from a social situation, these struggles can be more prominent.
Statistically, the teenage mental health situation is distressing. According to the American College Health Association Fall 2018 National College Health Assessment, 63% of college students in the US faced anxiety and distress. Another study found that that 3 out of 4 students faced anxiety in 2018 alone.
And what’s more? The recent global pandemic has caused teenagers to deal with even more symptoms of anxiety from stressful situations.
To help our teens cope with such situations, it’s important to accept that anxiety among teens is a very real obstacle to their livelihood and growth.
So let’s dive right in…
10 Free Self-Help Worksheets For Teenage Anxiety
Whether you’re looking for anxiety-specific journals, instant relief strategies, free worksheets, or toys, I spent 3 hours collecting some of the best ones – and they’re listed here! I hope something here helps relieve your anxiety symptoms!
- This free How to Tolerate Uncertainty worksheet. This worksheet is really helpful for young adults who worry about things going wrong or feel like they have to know as many details as possible to function properly. Not only will it validate your worries, it’ll also guide you through a healthier mindset. Get it here!
- This free How To Solve Daily Problems worksheet. If you’re struggling with anxious thoughts around many daily activities in your life, this worksheet could be great for you. It gives you 6 clear steps on how to solve your daily problems while minimizing the amount of anxiety you’ll experience in the process of doing so. Get it here!
- This free Social Anxiety Safety Behaviors worksheet that teaches the basics of avoidance, teaches how safety behaviors can be just as helpful, AND helps you identify what you already do to avoid anxiety-producing situations. It’s available in English and Spanish. Get it here!
- This free Worry Exploration Questions worksheet that helps you consider your worries versus your reality. It asks gentle questions that encourage you focus less on the worst imaginable possibilities and instead helps you explore the most likely outcomes. This anxiety worksheet is especially helpful when you’re finding it challenging to go through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment. It’s available in English and Spanish. Get it here!
- This free 5-step plan for how to deal with your test anxiety. This is a great booklet for beginners and also teens who are still looking for new strategies to overcome their testing anxiety. It comes with 17-pages of very realistic and practical tips that were specifically designed for teenagers and young adults. Get it here!
- This free study cheatsheet for test anxiety and ADHD. Going through this cheatsheet can help you make a plan for studying that suits your needs and concerns about learning and test-taking. It’s best for absolute beginners because it introduces research-based tips and techniques to improve how you could study and prepare for tests. It’s available in English and Spanish. Get it here!
- This free Grounding Techniques worksheet. This worksheet has 4 essential techniques that can teach you how to focus attention on the present moment and bring attention back to reality. The techniques here are especially helpful for teenagers who have experienced a trauma and continue to have symptoms of dissociation. It might be best to try these grounding techniques with a qualified health professional. It’s available in English and Spanish. Get it here!
- This free STOP plan worksheet. If you want a quick and therapist-recommended way of making an anxiety plan, try this worksheet! It asks a few gentle questions and encourages you to practice using them when you’re facing high levels of anxiety. If you want, you can even try to print a few copies so that you can make different plans of different situations. Get it here!
- This free 9-page handbook on self-help strategies for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Not only does this handy workbook introduce you to what GAD is, it also gives you tools and self-help strategies that you can use right away! You could definitely try to download it on your phone or print it out so that you can refer to it whenever you need it. Get it here!
- This free How To Overcome Perfectionism booklet. This booklet is one of the best science-based resources on coping with perfectionism I’ve found. It guides you through identifying when you’re being a perfectionist to giving you many tools to overcome perfectionism. My favorite part is how it gives tips on how to stay realistic about your progress. Get it here!
FAQ About Self-Help For Teenage Anxiety
What Are Common Causes of Anxiety In Teenagers?
Whether you’re struggling with general anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorder, or insomnia from persistent worry, it’s important to understand what can cause and trigger these reactions. Here are just a few of the most common causes of anxiety in teens:
- Prolonged loneliness causes the teenagers to believe that they are not good enough, and as a result, they feel discouraged from socializing. It becomes a negative feedback cycle. You might become afraid of public settings, active discussions, and social gatherings. If consistent periods of loneliness is ignored for an extended period of time, you could experience intense symptoms of social anxiety and even depression.
Pro Tip: There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. You can be alone with your dog and not feel lonely at all. On the other hand, you could be around your friends and family while feeling extremely lonely – as if you are too isolated or can’t be yourself in their presence. A mental health professional can help you differentiate these feelings and give you tools to grow from them.
- Peer pressure or academic stress often causes high levels of stress and result in difficulty sleepy and depression. When it comes to peer pressure, parents and friends play a huge role in triggering or preventing possible stressors. For example, if you consistently compare yourself or your teen with others, it can worsen teenage anxiety. The same could happen if you consistently ignore the red flags of when your teenager tries to communicate any fears or worries may lead to them developing teenage anxiety.
- Staying awake for too long due to academic pressure could trigger anxiety. A healthy sleep cycle is essential for teenagers to lead a healthy life and succeed academically. Without a healthy sleep schedule, you may feel more anxious in an uncomfortable situation or even be more prone to getting into anxiety-provoking situations.
5 Practical Tips On Self-Help For Teenage Anxiety
Self-help for teenage anxiety can consist of a lot of things – ranging from using anxiety journals, using YouTube meditations, and learning about anxiety coping mechanisms on social media.
When you’re trying to figure out your own self-help routine, keep these tips in mind.
(Keep scrolling for some really helpful self-help resources made for teens)
1. Ask for help
Good people are always looking to help you. You never know who is willing to offer you genuine help. So please speak up about whatever it is that you’re concerned about.
It might feel uncomfortable, but telling your trusted friends and family members about your signs of anxiety and anxiety battles can help them be better friends to you.
Sometimes anxiety in teens can seem too confusing or overwhelming to process on your own. In that case, it could be beneficial to process it with a health professional.
Think of them as a sports coach but for your mental health! A mental health professional can help you identify and cope with different types of anxiety, your signs of anxiety, and even your physical symptoms.
Pro Tip: When seeking help from a health care professional, it can be hard to tell if it’s a right match or if you feel comfortable/trusting of the professional. Remember that you’re worth the best care. If someone consistently makes your anxiety worse, it’s not a good match.
2. Schedule time for self-care
Yep – that means writing it into your daily or weekly schedule! Make sure you (or your teen) dedicates regular time to a good self-care regime. Ideally, this means that a portion of every single day would be devoted to doing things that calm your feelings of anxiety or give you a mental reset.
Pro Tip: Yeah, sleep helps…BUT your small everyday activities can have an equal or bigger impact on your level of anxiety.
So what can you do? For me, I always buy a boba bubble tea drink 1-2 times per week. This way, I have something to look forward to as well as time to myself to completely destress in my own space.
You could also go by your own schedule by listening to your body and its needs in-the-moment. For example, you could go buy your favorite chocolate bar after you feel that your anxiety gets worse in a tense situation.
It’s all about you and sprinkling in enough things that you enjoy so that your body can re-regulate itself and its anxiety level. This could be scheduling in simple walks, running, watching your comfort shows, doing Zumba on YouTube, painting with Bob Ross, or just about anything!
3. Use anxiety-friendly exercises to channel out your anxious feelings
Using your anxious energy to get in some physical exercise or calming meditation can be very helpful in regulating anxiety in teens. What’s more, these activities could make you feel like some of your anxiety has left your body which can help you feel more positive for the rest of the day.
Try putting in 15-30 minutes every day towards exerting physical energy in any way you’d like – exercise videos, yoga classes, playing with your dog, or even having consensual sex.
4. Make small changes to your diet
It might not be right for everyone, but depending on how you eat right now, a small diet change could make a huge difference in how your body can handle anxious times. How? Well, giving your body what it needs can help it prepare and regulate everyday anxiety better.
Maintaining a healthy dietary regimen is considered a general strategy in reducing anxiety in teens. This is because food choices can influence mental and physical symptoms of anxiety – especially through hormone changes.
For example, when eating lots of process foods, stress hormones are released. This can make it more likely to enter a cycle of anxiety when a stressful situation occurs. In order to keep anxiety at bay, you could try adding more vegetables and fruits to your processed foods or replacing some meals with healthier ones
5. Try different types of therapy
A combination of therapies can sometimes be the biggest help for everyday anxiety – especially if you’ve been struggling with it for a long time without any help. Adolescents with anxiety are capable of learning about self-help tools from trained therapists who specialize in treating anxiety in teens.
The therapist may start with cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy so that you can identify any unhealthy patterns and swap them with the healthy ones.
On top of this, your therapist might teach you coping techniques like deep belly breathing, guided imagery, art therapy techniques, and meditation so that you can tackle your anxiety on your own!
Especially as a young adult, you could take this opportunity to learn about what your body reacts positively and negatively to. That way, you can prevent yourself from getting into severe anxiety situations and also know how to handle your high levels of anxiety.
Yep – anxiety in teenagers is a reality for thousands of teens right now and it’s becoming even more common every year. But it’s possible to grow and lead a “normal” happy lifestyle. These self-help worksheets and tips could be a great starting point for that!
Which worksheet here was the most helpful for you? Do you have more worksheet suggestions? Let me know!