Anxiety is a killer, especially in young people. It takes over your life and leaves you a shivering, nervous wreck. When it comes to anxiety in teenage girls, it’s even harder. At such an early stage in your life, it can be a make or break moment with the way you deal with anxiety, so it’s always good to have some guidelines to help you along. Here’s how to tackle anxiety in teenage girls, whether you’re experiencing it yourself, or someone you know is struggling.

How to tackle anxiety in teenage girls: if you’re experiencing it yourself

Identify the source

Do you know why you’re feeling the way you are? Is something causing you to be anxious? Some people have social anxiety, meaning they struggle when interacting with new people, or when they’re the centre of attention. Others struggle with OCD, which is when they need everything in their life to be a certain way, or they’ll experience extreme stress. Anxiety comes in a lot of different forms, so you need to be able to put a label on what you’re feeling. If you’re not sure, you can speak to an adult about your feelings, and they’ll help you get to the root of the issue.

Learn coping strategies

Breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness are active ways to take on your anxiety. Doing something about your negative feelings can prevent you from getting worse, and can stop panic attacks before they even happen. It will also give you control over your anxiety, which is vital to learning how to get better.

Understand your physical symptoms as well as your emotional ones

Are you struggling to control your breathing? Are you sweating a lot? Do you feel dizzy? These can all be physical symptoms of a panic attack, related to anxiety. If you suddenly feel these symptoms, it can be easy to think they’re more serious than they are. Recognise that in particular, your breathing can be controlled, and it won’t lead to any more serious symptoms if you think you can’t breathe – it’s just a nasty symptom, and it will pass.

Ask an adult or a professional for help

You don’t have to face this alone, and you shouldn’t try to. Keeping this to yourself only allows the issue to get worse. Find a way to communicate your feelings to someone who can get you the assistance you need.

How to tackle anxiety in teenage girls: if someone you know is experiencing it

Offer unconditional support

When someone is suffering from anxiety, they need all the help they can get. A person with an anxious disposition is likely to believe that they’re alone in this world. But they’re not, and you need to make sure they’re aware of that, no matter how difficult it is to convince them.

Don’t tell them to ‘get over it’

If you don’t understand what they’re going through, that’s okay. Not everyone gets it, or has experienced it in their life. But telling a person with anxiety to grow up, or to get over it, is like telling someone with two broken legs to run. It’s impossible, and unhelpful. Now is not a time for tough love, so keep your opinions to yourself and offer your unconditional aid.

Do some research

If you don’t understand much about what’s happening to your friend or family member, it’s time you found out. Look on the internet for their symptoms, and try and figure out a diagnosis. However, make sure you don’t substitute this for a real doctor’s opinion. It is, at least, helpful to give you an idea of your next steps.

Get them the help they need

Sometimes, people with anxiety are reluctant to search for the support they need, for fear of getting in the way, or being judged. Make sure you’re there to lean on, and offer to go with them to see a councillor if necessary. It can even help just to let them unload on you, and then you can try and make a decision that’s best for them.