Positive thinking can reduce teen anxiety

Positive thinking could play an important role in helping teenagers suffering from anxiety, new research has suggested. Investigators from Oxford University noted teaching adolescents to view social situations in a positive light can even help prevent similar problems in later life.

The study has been published in the journal Child Psychiatry and Human Development and revealed youngsters often draw negative interpretations from ambiguous situations.

Dr Jennifer Lau from the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, which moved to its current 50,000 sq ft setting in 1971, gave the example of a person believing somebody they recently met is snubbing them - rather than having simply forgotten them - when they do not wave back.

"These negative thoughts are believed to drive and maintain their feelings of low mood and anxiety. If you can change that negative style of thinking, perhaps you can change mood," she explained.

The authors said that although it is normal for teens to worry about some matters, persistent anxiety can become a notable problem over time.

Emma Citron, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "It is good that researchers at Oxford University's department of experimental psychology are drawing adolescent mental health to our attention through their research. 

"The techniques they are testing aimed towards mood and anxiety improvement in our youngsters are of course those we as clinicians use with a cognitive therapy approach. The researchers are highlighting what we already know to be effective using thought shifting and reframing approaches during what can be a stressful period socially and emotionally in a person's life- the teenage years."