Relaxation Techniques to Help Teens DestressMar 02, 2023
As a teenager, you may face various forms of stress on a daily basis. From school, social life, family, and personal issues, it's important to find ways to cope with these stressors to prevent burnout and other health problems. One of the best ways we find this is by practicing relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques activate your body’s natural relaxation response, which puts the brakes on stress, slows your breathing and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and brings your body and mind back into balance.
Here are three of our favorite popular relaxation techniques to try:
- Deep Breathing: Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique that involves taking full, cleansing breaths. It's easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. You can even combine deep breathing with aromatherapy and music for additional relaxation.
How to practice deep breathing:
- Sit comfortably with your back straight
- Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
- Breathe in through your nose and let your stomach rise
- Exhale through your mouth while contracting your abdominal muscles
- Continue breathing in and out while focusing on your breaths
When I breathe in, I like to imagine positive energy filling up my body and with each exhale I imagine all the thoughts, and feelings that are causing me stress are leaving the body.
Imagine breathing in, positive vibes, exhaling negative energy that no longer serves you.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body. Regular practice gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of your body. This can help you notice and ease the body's reaction to the first signs of muscular tension that accompany stress. This technique has been great in assisting teens with bringing peace and calm before taking tests or exams.
How to practice progressive muscle relaxation:
- Start at your feet and work your way up to your face, tensing and relaxing each muscle group
- Take a few minutes to breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths
- Focus on each muscle group for about 10 seconds before relaxing
- Try not to tense muscles other than those intended
- Body Scan Meditation: Body scan meditation is a type of meditation that focuses your attention on various parts of your body. Like progressive muscle relaxation, you start with your feet and work your way up. But instead of tensing and relaxing muscles, you simply focus on the way each part of your body feels, without labeling the sensations as either “good” or “bad”.
This technique is one of my favorite ways to help teach kids to fall asleep faster. It works every time for my younger son who struggles with falling asleep and staying asleep. When he takes the time to scan the body he usually falls asleep before he makes it to his low back. Not to say that this technique is to put you to sleep, it's intention is to help you become more aware of your body and bring peace and calmness into the body-mind connection.
How to practice body scan meditation:
- Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes open or closed
- Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed
- Turn your focus to your toes and notice any sensations you feel while focusing on your breathing
- Move your focus up your body, paying close attention to any areas of pain or discomfort
- After completing the body scan, relax for a while in silence and stillness, noticing how your body feels
Remember, there is no single relaxation technique that works for everyone. The right technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind to elicit a relaxation response. That means it may require some trial and error to find the technique (or techniques) that work best for you. Just like everything, it's a practice.
Be sure to go easy on yourself. Once you do, regular practice can help reduce everyday stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your energy and mood, and improve your overall health and well-being.
Hope these suggestions help you to find your inner peace!
Written by: Elizabeth A. Sanchez, Holistic Life Coach & Reiki Master/ Teacher
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