The ongoing anxiety, stress and uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on children, especially teenagers. According to a UNICEF Australia Survey conducted in 2020 that interviewed 1000 young people between the ages of 13 and 17, 70% responded that lack of social interaction was negatively impacting them. The same survey also found that just under half of those interviewed said that COVID-19 had negatively impacted their levels of stress and anxiety.
The importance of mental resilience strategies for teenagers has never been so relevant in a post COVID-19 world. Here are two simple exercises to help teenagers boost their mental resilience.
1. Focus on Gratitude
A simple, daily two-minute exercise, where teenagers focus on areas in their lives that they are grateful for, will enable increased levels of positivity and joy. The repetition of this exercise leads to reduction of anxiety and fear.
2. Journaling negative and positive thoughts
Humans have over 60,000 thoughts a day! At the end of the day, your teenager could jot down a summary of positive and negative thoughts and associate situations that gave rise to these thoughts. Over a period of week, patterns can be identified, and strategies could be put in place to minimise situations that drove negative thoughts. Conversely, teenagers can focus more on those activities that generated negative thoughts.
Sustained anxiety, fears and worries in teenagers lead to increased stress which inhibits both the emotional and physical quality of life. Parents or Carers should proactively monitor the emotional wellbeing of teenagers and should seek professional help if there is cause for concern. Headspace (headspace.org.au) also helps young Australians with Mental Health concerns.