How many teens vape in Minnesota? One in four 11th graders. (One in ten 8th graders.) That’s five times more than smoke tobacco.
Some teens vape when they feel stressed. Spoiler alert: Vaping make stress worse. (Nicotine revs up your nervous system.)
Good news! There are better ways to manage stress. The National Cancer Institute offers these ideas. Some may work better than others, so find the ones that work for you.
Stop and breathe. Pause what you are doing; take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Interrupting the anxious feeling with conscious breathing can help you calm your body and think more clearly.
Learn your anxiety triggers. Are there people, places, situations that make you feel anxious? Identify it in the moment, and write it down. Do you see a pattern? Understanding your triggers is the first step in learning how to manage them.
Move your body. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. Take a walk, hit the gym, do some yoga, ride a bike.
Care for yourself. Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, get enough sleep (7+ hours) to help your body manage stress. Keep healthy snacks on hand; don’t skip meals.
Decaffeinate. Caffeine can help you stay awake, but it can also make you feel tense, jittery, and stressed. Cutting back on coffee, energy drinks, caffeinated sodas can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Reach out to loved ones. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. Talk to your friends, family, teachers, school counselors, and other important people in your life who support you.
Be present. Life can be overwhelming, especially if you’re worrying about what’s next. Instead, focus on what you can control, and try to stay in the moment.
Accept life’s ups and downs. Life is full of twists and turns. You’ll always have some stress in your life. It helps to understand that there will be good days and bad days.
Look Out for Signs of Serious Anxiety
Feeling anxious or irritable sometimes is normal. But if you are feeling extreme anxiety or mood changes, you may need help from a professional. If your anxiety is overwhelming or you feel like it won’t go away, tell a supportive friend or family member, and talk to your doctor.
If you need help now: Call or text 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Learn more: https://988lifeline.org/