3 Ways to Go from Catastrophic to Coping: Yoga for Teens

A recent study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showed that 73 percent of teens report the number-one reason for using drugs is to deal with the pressures and stress of school. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of parents believe that teens might use drugs to cope with stress, showing parents severely underestimate the impact of stress on their teens’ decision to use drugs.

Teens are their own beings. And it’s tough being a teenager today!  Demands with parents, friends, school, sports and performing arts, and the impact of social media are more intense than ever on the adolescent body, brain, and heart.  The teenage brain experiences everything in extremes, and it’s normal. How can we help our teens shift from catastrophic to coping?

1. Relax the Body: Tension is held in the body and builds over time. Activity dramatically decreases for teens starting in middle school as many kids move away from competitive sports. Even teens who maintain active in sports need ways to release tension from everyday stress and few have these habits outside of organized activities. 

Simple as it seems, it’s challenging to practice The 1-2-3 to Calm in a moment of stress.

  1. Breathe in
  2. Breathe out
  3. Repeat until the body softens – notice any sensations in the body. 

2. Think and Find Evidence:
Once the body is calm, begin to think about why you are upset. Acknowledge fear; Name It to Tame It. Say it out loud. I’m afraid of….  Then look for evidence from your past to validate or invalidate the fear. What will happen if…I fail?

3.  Do Your Best: How can you really know if what you fear will be true?  We do not know what the future holds. We can only control the now.  Be present.

  • Make a plan - chunk out the big scary thing into smaller pieces
  • Schedule it and manage it
  • Track your progress
  • Make adjustments

Yoga teaches teens to be in their bodies, to focus on the present moment and to trust themselves. Connecting body, mind, and heart, teens can tap into their inner wisdom and guide them to make better choices in every part of life so they can cope with the many demands placed upon them.

Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!