4 Effective Holistic Techniques to Manage Anxiety in Adolescents

Breathe in through your nose silently for 4 seconds, hold your breath in your lungs for 7 seconds, and then breathe out forcefully through your mouth for 8 seconds with a whooshing sound.

How do you feel? A bit calmer? Less stressed? Present?

4,7, 8 breathing is just one simple tool to add to the toolbox!

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I have seen firsthand how anxiety among adolescents has been an increasingly prevalent issue. This was seen even before the pandemic struck, and its impact has only been exacerbated in the post-pandemic world. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 32% of adolescents in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder by the age of 18. This statistic underscores the alarming prevalence of anxiety disorders among young people, making it a significant mental health concern that demands attention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a host of challenges that have profoundly affected adolescents’ mental health. The sudden disruption of daily routines, social isolation, uncertainty about the future, and the fear of contracting the virus have all contributed to heightened levels of stress and anxiety among young individuals. Four years later and I am still seeing the aftermath of this global pandemic on our youth.

Understanding Signs of Anxiety in Adolescents

When addressing anxiety in teens, it is important to understand that adolescence is a critical period of development characterized by numerous physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. The pressure to succeed academically, establish social relationships, and navigate the challenges of adolescence can all contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, adolescents are often more susceptible to environmental stressors, such as academic pressure, social media influences, and family dynamics, which can exacerbate feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety disorders in adolescents can manifest in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • excessive worry, 
  • restlessness, 
  • irritability, 
  • difficulty concentrating, 
  • fatigue,
  • muscle tension, 
  • sleep disturbances. 

Left untreated, anxiety disorders can have a profound impact on adolescents’ overall well-being, academic performance, and social functioning.

Holistic Approach to Managing Anxiety in Teens

I believe that to effectively address the crisis of adolescent anxiety post-pandemic, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach that combines multiple therapeutic modalities to meet the diverse needs of young individuals. As a counselor, I want my clients to develop a toolbox with countless tools and modalities in order to manage their anxiety effectively.

Such modalities as Emotional Freedom Technique, meditation, journaling, and talk therapy offer unique benefits and can be integrated to provide comprehensive support for adolescents struggling with anxiety.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a holistic therapeutic approach that combines elements of psychotherapy and acupressure, offers promising benefits for managing adolescent anxiety. By tapping on specific meridian points on the body and focusing on emotional issues, EFT helps individuals process and release negative emotions, leading to a sense of calm and relaxation. EFT equips adolescents with self-regulation techniques that empower them to manage their anxiety symptoms independently, promoting emotional well-being and resilience.


Meditation is another valuable tool for adolescents struggling with anxiety. Mindfulness meditation practices cultivate present-moment awareness, promote emotional regulation, and reduce anxiety symptoms. Regular meditation can help adolescents develop self-awareness, observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment, and enhance their ability to cope with anxiety-provoking situations. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, body scans, and guided visualization can be particularly beneficial in promoting relaxation and stress reduction among young individuals.


Journaling can be a powerful tool against anxiety as well. By putting your worries and anxieties onto paper, you can gain a clearer perspective on them. Journaling helps you slow down and organize your thoughts, which can be jumbled and overwhelming during anxious times. This process can help you identify triggers for your anxiety and any negative thought patterns that might be fueling it. Once you recognize these patterns, you can begin to challenge them and develop healthier ways of thinking. Journaling also provides a safe space to express yourself freely and vent your emotions, which can be very cathartic and help reduce overall anxiety levels.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy plays a crucial part in treating adolescents suffering with anxiety and addressing underlying emotional issues and developing coping strategies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely recognized form of talk therapy that has demonstrated effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders in adolescents. By helping young individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns, CBT equips them with practical skills to manage anxiety symptoms, improve overall well-being, and foster emotional resilience.

In conclusion, the prevalence of anxiety among adolescents is a significant concern that has become a crisis in the post-pandemic world. As a mental health therapist working with adolescents, I play a crucial role in providing support, guidance, and evidence-based interventions to help young individuals navigate their mental health challenges. By incorporating modalities such as Emotional Freedom Technique to address emotional blockages, meditation to promote mindfulness and relaxation, journaling to process and identify triggers, and talk therapy to develop coping skills and enhance self-awareness, I can offer a multifaceted treatment approach that addresses the complex nature of adolescent anxiety. It is the goal in treatment to offer effective solutions that promote emotional well-being, resilience, and empowerment among adolescents struggling with anxiety.

About the Author

Darlene Ryan, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, CASAC

Darlene Ryan is a seasoned Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years of experience specializing in adolescent, couple, and family therapy. She expertly combines traditional and holistic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EFT tapping and more, to support clients through various challenges, particularly anxiety. Darlene’s dedication to fostering self-discovery and empowerment helps individuals develop essential coping skills for lasting resilience.To schedule an appointment with Darlene Ryan call or text 631-523-4984

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