How to Help Your Teen Cope with Emotional Outbursts

The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts for us to share.

As someone diagnosed with depression, I will sometimes have outbursts. Everything catches up to me at once, and I will feel so sad and frustrated. All I want to do is sit in my room and cry. However, that’s typically not a viable option. The longer I’ve dealt with outbursts, the more I’ve learned about how to stop them in their tracks. For this post, I’ve compiled a list of what helps me, in hopes that it can help someone else!

1. Read a book—Reading a light book that you enjoy can take your mind off the unhappiness and lift your spirits. I like to pick a book that is not too hard to read or lengthy. Even comic books work for this purpose—my favorite is any of the Calvin and Hobbes collections.

2. Talk to a friend—If a friend, parent, or sibling is around that you feel comfortable with, talking to them can help put your mind on something else. If you want to talk to them about what ails you, then that’s great! If you don’t want to talk about that, talk about something else. Either way, you’ll feel better being with someone who makes you feel happy and can cheer you up.

3. Play with your pet—Never underestimate the power of playing with your pet! Your pet can give you a sense of purpose because a pet is a being that needs you. They’re also great for unconditional love! Seeing your pet happy when you play with it or pet it feels great; it makes you feel good because you’re making them happy!

4. Play a game—I read a SOVA blog post a while back that talks about apps that can help with anxiety. I downloaded two apps mentioned in the article, Polyforge and Netko Atsume, and they have been great for calming my mind and providing a brief distraction while I clear my head! I highly suggest checking out the post from KBailey17, it offers some great stress-relieving apps! Be careful, though—try to stay away from social media apps: while those do provide a distraction, they are not always positive.

5. Exercise—As someone who doesn’t enjoy exercise, I know this one may seem daunting if fitness isn’t your thing. However, any physical activity can help! Take your dog for a walk, play a game using a Wii, or find a yoga video on YouTube and follow along with it. It doesn’t need to be vigorous exercise if that isn’t something you enjoy; just getting up and moving can help!

6. Listen to music—Listening to music can help you relax and get your mind off of what’s bothering you. Try to find something that makes you feel calm and happy. I like to listen to mellow electronic like Odesza or Slow Magic. Just focus on the music and take deep breaths.

7. Snuggle a stuffed animal—Just holding onto something you like can make you feel better! If you have a stuffed animal you really like, or one you really liked from childhood, snuggling with it while you do something else can make you feel more calm and secure.

8. Complete a small, but important task—Even though this may be the last thing you want to do, it can really give you a sense of importance and take some weight off. Cleaning your room, emptying the dishwasher, or taking out the trash can make you feel more productive and organized. This will likely boost your mood.

While a lot of these things may seem obvious or small, they all can improve your mood greatly. In general, trying to get your mind off your unhappiness is often what helps. Any of these things will occupy your mind and hopefully give you a brief reprieve so that you can continue your day without feeling sad!

Which of these activities has your child ever done when you feel sad? Are there others that help you? Let us know in the comments below!

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