Teens go through a large number of rapid life changes. They are experiencing changes in their body due to puberty and questioning their identity. They have school, work, and family responsibilities to attend to, as well as extracurricular activities. Social media continuously puts pressure on them to be perfect and popular. Add to this the fast pace of modern life, and it’s no wonder adolescents are stressed. Sometimes it may seem that lashing out or shutting down may be the only way for them to cope. Teens have much of the intellectual understanding of stress that adults have but lack the coping skills.
Suppose you have noticed that your teen is struggling with stress and developing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. In that case, a cognitive-behavioral therapy program may help them find a way through it. Adolescents can excel at dealing with stress as their brains quickly adapt and absorb information. With the proper support from a licensed mental health counselor, they can develop mental and emotional resilience against stress. The appropriate coping mechanisms will serve them into adulthood. At Imagine Fort Collins, we offer a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral therapy program and experienced staff members to administer treatments. Contact us today at 970.680.5887 to learn how we can help.
Signs That a Teen Needs Healthy Coping Mechanisms
A lack of healthy coping mechanisms can lead to everyday stress turning into much more severe mental health conditions. Without proper management and tools, stress can lead to reckless behavior, poor academic performance, and strained personal relationships. That isn’t to say that teens have no coping mechanisms. It’s more likely that they turn to harmful coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol because these provide immediate relief, despite the long-term consequences.
Some of the common signs that your teen may need more healthy coping mechanisms include:
- Procrastination or avoidance of responsibilities
- Mood swings
- Disturbed sleep cycles
- Cognitive difficulty
- Substance use disorder
- Digestive trouble
Unsurprisingly, many of these symptoms are related to mental health disorders common among teens, such as anxiety or depression.
Types of Healthy Coping Mechanisms
The most effective and productive coping mechanisms help a teen handle rather than avoid the source of stress. In general, there are two types of coping mechanisms. There are problem-focused coping mechanisms that work best when facing a specific problem that has a solution. There are also emotion-focused coping mechanisms, which help address a teen’s feelings that may be present no matter the outside circumstances.
Some examples of problem-focused coping mechanisms include:
- Creating a to-do list
- Asking for support from parents, teachers, or mentors
- Developing better time management skills
- Setting up healthy boundaries
In contrast, suitable emotion-focused coping mechanisms will include:
- Taking up a sport or exercise
- Practicing mindfulness
- Relaxation strategies
However, it’s important to remember that these coping mechanisms may not be enough help if a teen is struggling with a mental health disorder. They are effective for promoting long-term resilience but are not a substitute for proper treatment, such as in a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program.
What Is Involved in a Teen CBT Program?
A cognitive-behavioral therapy program is designed with several core principles, the first one being that mental health disorders stem from unhelpful or unhealthy ways of thinking. These negative thoughts lead to equally negative emotions and behaviors that cause stress and result in mental health disorders. CBT tries to change these thoughts, giving teens better ways to cope with negative thought patterns. One of the most significant benefits of CBT is that it has been shown to have quick results, with many teens proficiently learning techniques within 15 sessions.
Learn How to Deal with Teen Stress at Imagine Fort Collins
Dealing with stress is a crucial life skill that will serve any person well, regardless of background or upbringing. Teens who develop the resilience to handle anything life throws at them have a better chance of success. If you’ve noticed that your teen has been struggling with the pressures of school, relationships, or even family life, then we at Imagine Fort Collins are ready to help. Contact us at 970.680.5887 to learn more about what we can do to support your teen.