Monday, 9 May 2022

Simple But Effective Ways To Reduce Anxiety

Promoting positive mental health and looking at ways to reduce anxiety - both our own and  in children and young people - is something that sits highly on the priority list of many parents, and never more so than post-pandemic.

With so many young people having experienced frequent and prolonged periods of isolation from their peers, long gaps in their schooling and the general anxiety of living through a global pandemic - it's little wonder that research shows a doubling of in the prevalence of anxiety and depression, with one in five young people globally now experiencing elevated symptoms of anxiety.

So what can we do as parents and guardians to promote positive mental health and reduce the impact of anxiety on ourselves and our children in a post-pandemic world? I've been looking at some surprisingly simple techniques that could really help.


Journaling can be a very beneficial practice for most people, but one of its key benefits  is that it requires you to be present in the moment which means coming away from electronic devices and putting pen to paper.

Journaling has been proven to have a calming effect, relieve stress and it also helps young people to become more deeply self-aware and confident in who they are and how they feel. It can be a great way to release and process strong emotions - the act of getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper can be incredibly therapeutic.

As well as traditional free-form journaling, there are also many companies offering books with journal prompts designed to get teenagers to work through their anxiety in a positive and healthy way.


Did you know that the simple act of chewing gum has been shown to reduce stress and depression? A Japanese study found that anxiety and depression were significantly reduced in otherwise healthy young adults when they regularly chewed gum, and incredibly it has also been proven to have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure too.

It should really come as no surprise, since chewing gum has been used for health purposes for thousands of years - even the Mayans, Aztecs and Ancient Greeks chewed mastiche tree resin!

It's hard to believe that something as simple as regularly offering sugar-free chewing gum to your teen  could have such a positive impact on their mental health, but it's certainly something worth a try. It's also something I'll be introducing to my own routine, as the research clearly shows the health benefits are too good to ignore.

Breathing & Mindfulness Apps

The most important thing to do when anxiety strikes is to ensure that you're getting enough oxygen into your system and keeping your breathing as calm and steady as possible, which is why breathing exercises are so useful and important in managing the symptoms of anxiety.

There are many breathing techniques to help with anxiety which you can work through with your young person, but it's also really beneficial to equip them with the tools to manage their anxiety without you too - this will help them to feel confident about being able to cope with anxious feelings when at school or away from home. 

There are numerous apps which provide easy to follow meditations and techniques for anxiety management, many of which will appeal to young people as well as for yourself. Apps such as Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer are my personal go-to choices.

I hope that some of these suggestions are useful for yourself and your children. Of course the most important thing of all is to maintain an open conversation with your children and do your best to create an environment that allows them air their thoughts and feelings freely, offering support and reassurance to help them through these difficult moments without judgement or shame.

 I'd love to hear your own tried and tested recommendations for reducing anxiety..

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