Parents Child Anxiety; Parenting Tips for dealing with Child and Teen Anxiety .

The Calming Power of Belly Breathing: A Guide for Parents Dealing with Teen Anxiety


Parenting teenagers can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to addressing anxiety. Adolescence is a time of significant change and self-discovery, and anxiety often accompanies these transformations. As a parent, understanding effective coping mechanisms is crucial for supporting your teen’s mental well-being. One powerful technique that can help alleviate teen anxiety is belly breathing.

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The Physiology of Anxiety

Before delving into the benefits of belly breathing, it’s essential to grasp the physiological aspect of anxiety. When teenagers experience stress or anxiety, their bodies enter a “fight or flight” response. This triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, leading to increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and muscle tension. Breaking this cycle is vital for promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

The Role of Belly Breathing

Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple yet effective technique that can counteract the physical manifestations of anxiety. This method focuses on engaging the diaphragm, a large muscle located beneath the lungs, to promote deep and rhythmic breathing. By doing so, belly breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, counteracting the stress response associated with anxiety.

How to Practice Belly Breathing

Parents can encourage their teens to incorporate belly breathing into their daily routines. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Find a Comfortable Space: Choose a quiet and comfortable environment where your teen can sit or lie down without distractions.
  2. Relax the Body: Encourage your teen to close their eyes and release tension in their muscles, starting from their toes and working up to their head.
  3. Place a Hand on the Belly: Instruct your teen to place one hand on their chest and the other on their belly. This helps them become aware of their breathing patterns.
  4. Inhale Deeply through the Nose: Encourage your teen to take a slow and deep breath in through their nose, allowing their diaphragm to expand. The hand on their belly should rise, while the hand on their chest should remain relatively still.
  5. Exhale Slowly through the Mouth: Guide your teen to exhale slowly through pursed lips, allowing their belly to fall. The exhalation phase should be longer than the inhalation.
  6. Repeat: Encourage your teen to repeat this process for several minutes, focusing on the rise and fall of their belly with each breath.

Benefits of Belly Breathing

Belly breathing offers several benefits for teens dealing with anxiety:

  • Reduces Stress Hormones: Engaging in deep, diaphragmatic breathing helps regulate stress hormones, promoting a sense of calm.
  • Improves Oxygenation: By taking deep breaths, your teen increases the oxygen supply to their body and brain, enhancing overall well-being.
  • Enhances Focus and Concentration: Regular practice of belly breathing can improve concentration and cognitive function, helping teens manage academic pressures more effectively.


As a parent, introducing and encouraging belly breathing as a coping mechanism for teen anxiety is a valuable tool. By understanding the physiological aspects of anxiety and the benefits of deep breathing, you can empower your teen to navigate the challenges of adolescence with resilience and calmness. Incorporating this technique into their daily routine can foster a healthier mindset, providing a foundation for long-term emotional well-being.

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.