If Your Highly Anxious Teen Lacks Energy


    The whole bus exploded in laughter. I was mortified. I scrambled from the bus and jumped off as quick as I could. I was so embarrassed.

    That night I decided something had to change. I would take control of my fitness. I would take control of my diet. I would take control of my body. No one would ever laugh at me again for being ‘heavy’.

    This was nearly thirty years ago. I was in my first year in college and I was nearly 100kg. Something had to change.

    At the time I was doing my first college exams. My way of coping with exam stress was food. I loved to eat.

    When I was stressed about exams, I loved to eat even more.

    My favourite snack was a Starbar. I also drank a lot of coke.

    At the weekend, I loved a curry. I also drank pints of Guinness in the college bar. It is no surprise I had to repeat four exams that summer.

    What I did not realise back then is how important diet, sleep and exercise is to your mental health, anxiety levels and academic success.

    Some food gives you energy and other foods takes it away. Some food helps us be more productive and other foods makes us lazy. A bad diet and too much caffeine can make our brain stodgy.

    What you eat and drink massively contributes to your level of anxiety.

    Back then, I had no idea what a slow release carbohydrate is. Now my big thing is overnight oats. It’s my favourite snack. It only takes 3 minutes to make and then leave in the fridge overnight.

    Overnight Oats = slow release carbohydrate

    Last week, we were looking at the importance of diet, sleep and exercise in our ELEVATE coaching programme.

    It was so interesting to hear the contributions of some of our students.

    They are big into this stuff.

    “I go to the gym twice a week and I find I have more energy to do my homework on those days.” said L

    “I am drinking more water and less coffee. I used to drink four lattes a day.” Said K

    “I am leaving my phone outside my room at night and I am getting much better sleep” said C

    “I am going for a run every day around the block.” Said D

    What I love about these sessions is that students learn from each other. It helps them collaborate, communicate and learn to critically think.

    When working with highly anxious students we stress the importance of diet, sleep and exercise.

    We also put our students in a positive environment. They learn and inspire each other. Because they don’t know each other there is no fear of judgement.

    Having positive peers makes a HUGE difference.

    Then they can start to make good decisions.

    One of the biggest contributing factors to high anxiety is the feeling of helplessness. Young people feel they have no control.

    What do not realise is the amount of autonomy they actually have in their life.

    They can control what they eat, when they eat and how they eat.

    They can decide if exercise and fitness will be a feature of their life. They can also make decisions around sleep and how much screen-time they can consume.

    One of the things we try to do is facilitate the space for students to make those type of decisions.

    This helps them take back control. This is empowering. This creates confidence.

    So how can you help your highly anxious teen increase their energy?

    Make small changes.

    Install a water filter at home. Buy them a water bottle.

    Start making overnight oats and leave them in the fridge for snack time.

    Put a bowl of apples on the counter.

    Have a house rule around phones outside the bedroom at night.

    Swap the Star Bars for granola bars.

    Small changes can yield big returns.

    And maybe you will have a happier, healthier, less stressed teen in the house.

    Until next time, keep RAYSING THE GAME!

    Ray Langan

    Ray Langan

    I help students and young people go from anxious and overwhelmed to calm and confident (and get better grades than ever before). I show students how to study smarter and learn faster using my unique methods. I am an award winning speaker, coach and therapist and I can help you help your teen to RAYSE THEIR GAME.

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