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5 Actions Your Teen Can Take To Deal With Anger

5 Actions Your Teen Can Take To Deal With Anger
Mood swings are normal for teens going through hormonal changes.
It can lead to sudden outbursts, shouting matches, or other aggressive acts (i.e. throwing a book, hitting a wall, angry crying). 
What’s difficult about handling mood swings is, deep anger and sadness can manifest themselves without a clear explanation, so it can be hard for teens to identify a solution. 

If your teen doesn't have an outlet for their emotions or the resources to adequately and honestly address how they feel, they could be at risk of depression, substance abuse, and erratic behavior. This is why it's important to have a few coping mechanisms at the ready so that your team can have a number of options to explore when they experience distress. 

1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Exercising is a great starter for teens experiencing aggression. It's easy for them to go for a quick jog around the block, do some push-ups, pick up a basketball, or even concentrate on some stretches for an hour. Physical activity works in several ways to defuse any tension: 

First, it diverts negative feelings into a non-violent repetitive action. This puts the mind and body to task until their heightened energy is spent. When they’re done exercising, their feelings of unhappiness might still linger, but they’ll be greatly reduced because the energy fueling those emotions will dissipate. 

Second, when we exercise, endorphins are released that reduce pain and trigger positive feelings in the body. If your teen has an exercise that they can easily return to, when they notice their temper rising, they can use it on a lunchbreak, to take a break from studying, or to interrupt negative intentions. 

2. JOURNALING

Journaling is another Outlet for teens to express there negative emotions. When teens are tasked with writing down how they feel, they are forced to observe their mental state and put it into words. The creative aspect of documenting emotions can also shift your child’s mindset from an immediate release to thinking and searching for ways to describe what's going on; changing a mindset from upset to thinking about being upset. 
The act of mindfulness that goes into naming how we feel is cathartic in and of itself.As a smaller physical activity, journaling pulls focus by providing a productive task and can be accessed at the moment.

This kind of journaling can also be used to track how your team feels overtime. They can then revisit the journal to look for trends in their emotions or outstanding episodes that inform how they feel in the future. If your teen reads their own emotions back, it might cause a shift in how they feel when those same emotions return. Conversely, your teen doesn’t even have to keep the journal. 
They can practice anger management by crumpling up the paper and throwing it in the bin. Physicalizing this metaphor is a ritual your teen can use any time to double down on observing their emotional state. 

3. ART

Making art is an extension of the journaling project: it requires focus but is also an outlet for pent up aggression. There are also many types of art for your teen to explore including visual art, creative writing, photography, and creating/listening/dancing to music. 

Painting and sketching are artistic endeavors that takes full advantage of a passionate personality. What’s great about using a visual medium to ease an angry state of mind is that the focus it takes to transfer your imagination to the page requires an immense amount of focus. 
Your teen can benefit from the repetition of working on an art piece because, while the intention is on their negative feelings, the act of drawing, painting, coloring, and figuring out perspectives will shift their primary focus to realizing their vision. 

Visual art can be achieved through a number of mediums as well. Photography, splash paint, sidewalk chalk art, and even free phone apps designed to engage artists are available to explore. 

Music also offers a variety of release opportunities for teens. Whether it's through composing, singing, listening motionless, or dancing, songs have the ability to capture how we feel and give us a way to be among our emotions. 
Across the spectrum of genres from soundscapes and jazz to heavy metal and rock, it’s important to be supportive of the music that sooths your teen’s feelings. Listening to music might altogether avert your teen’s need to physicalize their emotions as an introspective alternative. 

4. MEDITATION

While it might seem like meditation is for adults because it requires an immense amount of focus, meditation is actually a great way to help kids hit the “pause” button and calm down. Misconceptions about meditation like, “You must have a blank mind” or “It requires stillness” are false advertising.

Meditation can be as simple as asking your teen to do nothing more than take deep breaths. By focusing on their breathing and how it affects their body, your teen can unplug from the present and slip into a one-track mind of a simple task. Meditation can also take the form of slow counting and reciting a poem with self-reflection in mind, although the easiest way to reset our disposition is through deep, steady breaths. 

If your teen has trouble focusing or needs an external voice to draw them in to a more peaceful state, there are plenty of free “visualizations online.” Visualizations or guided meditations are audio clips where a speaker talks you through a relaxing scenario. For example, if your teen is becoming distressed, they can plug in their headphones and enjoy “a night swim with dolphins” or “a long walk through the apple orchards.”

5. THERAPY

Therapy is another method of dealing with volatile emotions that seems like it would take too much effort or requires a lot of money. While speaking to a trained therapist is highly recommended to guide your teen through their mental state and feelings, there are other forms of therapy that can help let the steam out. 

One treatment is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy employs scents from plants and essential oils to activate the user’s sense of smell. Calming variations include lavender, pine, sage, peppermint and rosemary. Through deep breathing, these scents can help soothe your teen’s aggravated mind into state of calming focus. Lavender, for instance, is known to help people relax or even fall asleep. 

Another kind of therapy is cathartic release. While this method may seem unconventional, it’s a way for teens to express violence without actually inflicting pain. Cathartic release works by giving your teen an object or person to receive their negative emotions. 
One way you can encourage your teen to engage in cathartic therapy is by giving them a pillow, a stuffed animal, or even a ball to yell at. It might be helpful to give them space in the garage so they can take out their anger (relatively) more quietly and in privacy. 

As long as they don’t really attempt to physically attack the object so as not to build in that habit, yelling can be tiring while also filling the need to be angry. You can also instruct your teen to imagine that they’re talking to the person they’re mad at so they don’t hang on to all the negative things they’d like to say in person. 
This is a way for that pent-up aggression to become a real physical act so they won’t need to express it anywhere else. 
Thanks a lot for reading along.
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Author Bio:
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.
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