How to deal with teenage angst
Teenage angst is the phase in your life where you feel no one understands you, especially your parents. Depression, anxiety and mood swings often relate with this time, and it is not easy to deal with. We have created this article to show you and your parents how to deal with your teen angst.
Here is Teenage Angst: 5 Helpful Insights For Teens.
In this blog, I am going to go over whats like to be going through teenage angst from the viewpoint of a teenager.
I was a teen not too long ago and I remember the feelings, especially in my junior year, of uncertainty, anxiety, depression and overall thoughts that my parents just didn’t understand me.
Below, I will go over these topics.
Teenage years are filled with some of the absolute best and worst moments of your entire life. So if you’re here reading today’s blog and you feel like you’ve hit an all-time low, I want to validate your feelings of frustration, confusion, and stress and tell you that you aren’t alone.
I will also help you understand why you’re experiencing the kind of teenage angst that makes you want to curl up your fists and punch your pillow, play loud music, or snap at your best friend.
The anxiety, anger, confusion and mood swings you feel over the constant changes and what’s next for you can feel overwhelming. You’re so used to being told what to do, and now you’re beginning to question, why?
Why am I doing this?
And you absolutely should question it. You’re figuring out who you are and developing your sense of self.
But before you conclude that nothing is worth it, it won’t get better, or that you have to struggle, at least stick with me for the rest of this blog. I’m going to tell you just how common teenage angst is and how to cope with it.
'Teenage Angst' defined
While there is no medical definition for teenage angst, angst is a feeling of worry and anxiety. In terms of being a teenager and experiencing this angst, the term is derived from the existential anxiety one has over their existence.
Angsty is something a lot of teenagers tend to be at times. It generally involves the feeling of not being understood by anyone and feeling alone in the world, even though, in reality, about a million other teens are feeling the same.
What is teenage angst?
You’re just “figuring it all out.” At least, that seems to be what most people say in response to your angsty “Billie Eilish phase.” If teenage years are meant for figuring it all out, why does it feel like you haven’t figured out a thing?
You’re struggling with the pressure of deciding out what to do and who you want to be. You want to be excited and happy about becoming more independent, but the less you seem to figure out on your own, the more stress and anxiety it causes you. Not to mention being at the age where people still tell you or influence you to be like someone you’re not or don’t want to be.
So, these questions about everything from the purpose of your existence to the plan you’re supposed to have in place for it, now coupled with comparisons and not feeling good enough, make everything worse. Maybe at times, you also feel rejected or unwanted.
Your push for more independence typically leads to pushing boundaries, which is never an easy road to navigate. Merely realizing the clear path ahead and freedom you lack can cause emotional swings even if you don’t take action and bottle it up instead.
Your incessant worries are likely to lead to feelings of fear or depression, and the fact that your mind is undergoing its changes makes everything that much more difficult to cope with. By that, I mean the moodiness you experience with teenage angst would be much more manageable if your mental mechanisms and ability to control impulses were fully developed.
All that said, the feelings you experience as a teenager are intense and scary to maneuver. Here are a few more specific ways to understand teenage angst and how it manifests:
- Moodiness and emotional swings
- Feeling short-tempered
- Playing loud music
- Sleeping more
- Feeling need to spend more time with friends
- Feeling self-conscious in your relationships or amongst your school friends
- Physical pains
- Risky behavior
- Rudeness or misbehavior
- Fears of failure
- Fixation on social media
The causes of teenage angst
The causes of and experience of teenage angst can be different for everyone. Still, the reasons can largely be explained by the normal insecurity and stress that teens undergo due to profound biological changes.
These changes include shifts in your hormones that impact the development of your body, voice, and even your skin. In addition, as a teenager, you deal with quite a few changes that are also not as readily visible, such as the growth and rewiring of your brain.
Once you hit puberty, you experience a sudden increase in the activity of the nerves in your brain. You particularly experience a lot of connectivity in the part of your brain that is responsible for things like social behavior and relationships, and planning. When you can’t adequately process your own situation or read social situations, it can cause you to feel misunderstood or like life is unfair.
If you’re looking for a less biological reason you can better relate to, well, the cause of your teenage angst can be situational too. You know the stress you have been experiencing trying to keep up with school, homework, extracurriculars, and your pain-in-the-neck siblings?
That’s enough reason to make anyone feel angsty.
The Mental Health Connection to Teenage Angst
While depression is not the same thing as teen angst, teenage angst behaviors could be symptoms of depression.
Depression is a mental health condition that is potentially life-threatening, as depression increases a teenager’s risk for suicide 12 times.
In 2018, suicide was the leading cause of death among youth aged 15-19, and in 2019, it became the second leading cause of death among youth ages 13-19, making it the leading cause of death among 13-year-olds.
Seeing that 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses start by the age of 14, it is important not to take the symptoms of teenage angst lightly and seek help. It is also important to know that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not common or natural consequences of stress.
However, serious life stresses can cause these intense thoughts and feelings of sadness occasionally. There are also other mental health conditions and diagnoses to pay attention to related to teenage angst.
For example, the prevalence of teens ages 12-17 diagnosed with depression is 3.2%, which is lower than the prevalence of behavioral problems (7.4%) and anxiety (7.1%).
That said, 30% of teens with depression develop substance abuse problems, which can worsen their symptoms and increase the likelihood of suicide.
Getting Therapy Help for Teenage Angst
You are already dealing with intense levels of fear and uncertainty right now, so try not to get too overwhelmed by the statistics. After all, you still may not even be sure if you have teenage angst or something more serious.
My advice is to get help anyway because, formal diagnosis or not, the emotions and thoughts you’re experiencing are real. Your fears, uncertainties, questions, stress, doubts, frustrations, and sadness interfere with your ability to experience the best parts of being a teenager.
As with any mental health treatment, early intervention is always best. Therapy can help you work through your teenage angst before it evolves and becomes something more serious. When left untreated, teenage mental health issues can become adult mental health issues, such as depression, mood disorders, and substance use disorder.
If you’ve never attended therapy before I suggest you read this blog post “What To Talk About In Therapy.” The idea of sitting in a room with a stranger who wants to pry information about your personal life can be intimidating. Only, that’s not exactly how it works, and you get to decide what you talk about in therapy.
You might start with some basic things, like your relationships with your school friends. Or, you can also talk about some of the positive things that have happened to you over the past week.
No matter what you discuss, your therapist is someone you can trust not to share or judge anything you say. You will find in time that what once may have felt intimidating to you is very freeing.
Therapy is a place where you can go on your own and talk about all things you don’t feel comfortable talking about with your parents. There is nothing you can’t talk about in therapy and nothing your therapist cannot help you with on some level, even if at times it just feels like they are a sounding board to get some heavy feelings off your chest.
That said, it’s okay to tell your therapist if you don’t feel like what you’re doing so far isn’t helping. I’ve said it before, and I’ve never regretted it because it helped my therapist tailor their strategies more to my needs.
Day to Day Help for Teenage Angst
So much of what you are feeling right now can be managed and alleviated through your daily habits. Of course, you might not always see a direct connection between, say, healthy eating and eliminating your fears over the future, but believe me, everything has an impact.
And speaking of positive impacts, making the most significant one doesn’t have to involve major changes. For example, feeling less anxious and calmer sometimes boils down to a bit of exercise. Other times it will take spending more time with positive people or communicating with your best friend, so you don’t keep things bottled up.
My point is that sometimes feeling better means taking what you need, even if that’s different every day. The only trouble many people experience with that is, they don’t exactly know what they need when they need it, and that’s okay.
That’s why I’m always a supporter of turning these healthy actions into habits where possible because they all add up to help you lead a happier and more mentally stable life.
So once you’re done reading this, consider building a morning routine that starts your day off on a better note than it has lately. I like to start my day by not checking my phone or social media and making my bed instead.
See how simple you can make it?
If you need some more ideas to get started, I have plenty. Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog or shoot me a DM on Instagram, I’d be happy to help.
Parents Guide to Helping with Teenage Angst
It’s hard to relate with your teenager at this time in their lives. Even though you too went through your own period of teen angst growing up, it is in a different era. A helpful article on a better parent-teenager relationship from Therapy Route adds more value to this topic as well.
Social media and navigating the digital world are just a couple areas that have changed the day to day pressure teens have.
Help them get professional help
The first thing you can do if you notice your teen exhibit some of the signs of teenage angst is talk to their pediatrician or medical provider to first rule out potential medical causes.
When you talk to your teen to encourage therapy, they likely won’t want to hear you out, and this could be out of fear or anxiety over not knowing what to expect. Help normalize therapy for them. Let them know about a challenging time in your life when talking to a therapist or someone else helped you get through it. Let them make some of the decisions as you both search for the right therapist for them.
Consider your approach
Before you talk to your teen about therapy or anything else, consider how you likely come across to them. Have you been judgmental or giving them unwarranted advice?
Ask yourself, are you approachable?
Take some time to think about some of the things you can work on to establish a greater sense of trust and connection with your teen. This way, when you ask them directly how you can help, they will be more likely to tell you. Of course, most of the time, they will already know, and sometimes, they just need a hug.
That said, if they don’t bring up therapy and you feel like it’s needed, ask them if they think talking to someone other than you would benefit them.
Make time for them, but give them space
Make time for your teen and show them that you care by expressing interest in their interests, no matter what they may be.
If they are experiencing teenage angst, they are likely losing interest in some of the things they enjoy or are dealing with confusion over how best to spend their time. This is an opportunity to help reinforce what matters to them by letting them talk about it and see it for themselves.
As you can see, giving them space to figure things out on their own is essential. Think of your role as a guide rather than an enforcer. After all, the more space you give them, the more likely they are to come to you when they need you.
Teenage Angst Conclusion
Living through your teenage years will at times feel like it’s too much to handle, but in these times I want you to remember that every person earth either has gone through this or will soon enough.
You are not alone.
This is a good time to start focusing on YOU.
Start each day off with a morning routine, take time in your day to get away from things that add stress to your life and get outside and active.
Before you go, leave a comment below with one thing you are going to do today to help yourself ease this feeling of teenage angst.