By Stephanie Anderson
Anger Management Exercises for Teens
By Stephanie Anderson
OverviewTeens often have the hardest time with their negative emotions. As parents we can begin to teach our teens to manage their anger by helping them learn to openly and honestly discuss their thoughts and feelings. Helping teens realize that anger is a reaction to another emotion such as guilt, shame, anxiety or embarrassment will allow them to understand the meaning of their anger, learn problem-solving skills and develop the awareness that will allow them to maintain composure.SignificanceWhile statistics on teen anger show numerous causes, they all come to one conclusion: Teen anger is a very real problem in our society. The following are some startling statistics on teen violence: The U.S. Justice report states that one in three teens have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner. The Safe Youth website states more than one in three high school students have been involved in a physical fight and one in nine of those students were injured badly enough to need medical attention. The 2002 National Gang Trends Survey states that there are more than 24,500 different street gangs in the United States and more than 772,500 of the gang members are teens and young adults.IdentificationManaging anger begins with identifying the signs. The human body has several ways of letting one know when anger is at work. The process begins with your heart; you may experience a “racing” or very fast heart beat, or feel a pounding in your chest. As a result you begin to breathe faster, which may result in feeling like you can’t catch your breath. Next, the muscles tighten and your body may feel stiff. Finally, your temperature will rise which can make you feel hot and can cause excessive sweating.ExercisesEncourage teens to overcome their anger through practicing patience and calming exercises. Walking, working out or playing a sport can stimulate the release of endorphins, a brain chemical that makes one feel calm and happy. Keeping a journal of his feelings can help a teen to realize potential triggers and work out solutions in a safe and private environment. Practicing visualization is an effective way to relax the mind and body. Have your teen sit in a comfortable position, close his eyes, visualize a peaceful place and focus on the colors, sounds or surroundings. One may also choose to focus on relaxing muscles, starting at the forehead and slowly working toward the toes. Developing a personal mantra can be helpful. Have your teen repeat a calming word or sentence to himself such as “I feel calm” or “I will not allow myself to lose control.” Practicing repetitive exercises like yoga, stretching and relaxing their muscles, can make teens feel much calmer. Practicing breathing deeply—breathing from the diaphragm—slows one’s heart rate and produces a calming effect.ManagementBy managing anger, it can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. This happens when teens learn to hold in their anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive.This allows the teen to convert their anger into more constructive behavior. Anger management can be achieved by practicing these exercises daily; teens can learn to use these control techniques automatically when they are entering into a tense situation or find themselves caught up in a fight.BenefitsThere are numerous benefits to utilizing anger management exercises. Uncontrolled anger can lead to a life of loneliness by ruining relationships with family, friends and colleagues as well as cause missed opportunities and costly legal problems. However, this can all be avoided by implementing simple anger management exercises and working towards a calm and peaceful everyday life.MisconceptionsParents often have the misconception that teens can and should be able to automatically control their negative emotions. Anger is complex phenomenon and there is no quick fix. With many possible causes, both physical and psychological, each person must take the time to figure out what will work best for her specific issues.ResourcesreferenceSafeYouth.orgreferenceU.S. Department of Justice: 2006 National ReportreferenceU.S. Department of Justice: 2002 National Youth Gang Survey
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