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7 Signs Your Teen May Not Be Thriving

teens walking arms on shouldersOur current podcast series is dedicated to all things teens. With this in mind, we have been discussing busy brains, signs of stress and how we can help.

Have a read below on 7 common signs that can help you identify stress in your teen

1. Attention and focus

  • As a busy brain attempts to filter classroom noise, visual content, and touch sensations around them, things can feel a little chaotic for your teen.
  • An easy way to think of this is a constant stream of background noise in the brain, distracting your teenager from the task at hand.
  • A well-balanced and calm brain is able to filter this information clearly and decipher what is most important for the situation – making learning easier and a natural occurrence.
  • Things like clothes tags, socks, or even sitting on a chair at school can be enough of a trigger for your teen to become upset, distressed and distracted in the classroom.
  • 2. Gut intolerances

    • Have you ever heard of the gut being described as the second brain? This is because neurotransmitters, or neurological messengers in the body, are created in both the gut and the brain. The release of these messenger molecules will determine how we think, feel, respond and act within ourselves. For this reason, when your teen is experiencing gut intolerances or imbalance – we look to the state of the nervous system and what messengers are being released. When stuck in ‘Go’ mode they will be triggering a fight or flight response, switching off proper gut function and living in a high state of alert.
    • When we are able to measure this state and assess your teen’s nervous system, we can create a plan to properly regulate their body for better health and wellbeing

    3. Frequent sports injuries

    • Proprioception describes the way in which our brain can perceive our body in space.
    • It is this perception that keeps us upright, can move our muscles and joints appropriately on the sports field and helps to keep us agile and responsive.
    • When the brain and body are not able to communicate clearly, proprioception can be off-balance and out of kilter.
    • We tend to see frequent or repetitive injuries in this state, which can be incredibly frustrating for our high performance and sport loving teens!

    4. Posture

    • “Sit up straight” “Don’t slouch” “That school bag is way too heavy!”, how often do we hear this (or say it to our teens!).
    • A slouched posture is known as a protective state. It comes about when the demands on a teenager’s nervous system have exceeded their internal ability to cope with it and therefore they assume a fight or flight state aka protective posture.
    • This cycle perpetuates with device use, sedentary lifestyles and additional stress on the body.
    • In this state they are likely to be more tired, anxious or experience gut dysfunction.

    5. Difficulty falling asleep

    • Being stuck in ‘Go’ mode is the counter to a restful, easy and restorative sleep. Usually, we would expect our teens to go about their daily activities and be ready to fall asleep at night. However, this is often not the case due to a wound-up and stressed-out nervous system.
    • Although hormones, diet, activity and stress levels all come into play here – a hyper-vigilant and alert nervous system is less inclined to switch off for a restful sleep. On the other hand, a well-balanced nervous system sets your teen up for success.

    6. Anxiety

    • A teenager that hits overwhelm can feel all too common for many parents. Seemingly irrational emotional outbursts, difficulty adjusting to situations and an unwillingness to experience certain sensations can all come down to the balance of their nervous system. What we know, is seemingly irrational outbursts can often be attributed to sensory overload, or chaos within the brain.
    • Stress can present itself in many ways. What may be of little concern to a teenager with a well-balanced nervous system, can be chaotic, challenging and even disastrous to some.
    • A dysregulated nervous system is not able to properly filter the information coming into the brain and therefore responds with chaotic, loud, and stressed behaviour in response.

    7. Repetitive infections

    • Have you ever gone on a holiday only to become run down with a cold or flu?
    • What about being so nervous you feel butterflies in your stomach?
    • These are prime examples of how our body responds physically to emotional stress or strain.
    • A teenager experiencing neurological stress is more likely to be stuck in ‘Go’ mode and less likely to be engaging their immune system in constant and meaningful ways.
    • With fight or flight becoming the priority, immune health often takes as back seat simply as the capacity is not there or the focus is elsewhere.
    • Making your teenager more receptive to constant infection, never ending colds and less than optimal immune health.

    Take the first step

    Schedule a visit for your teen today so we can scan, assess and help your teen thrive.

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