Teenage years are a time of rapid change. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a cognitive neuroscientist, described the unique challenge that adolescence presents as "a perfect storm", due to the simultaneous and sudden increase in hormonal, neural and social changes and the pressure of life.
Indeed, teenage years are a trying time where boys and girls are torn between their desire for emancipation and their immaturity. Most teenagers will experience a period of stress, confusion, anger or discomfort.
Several studies in Germany, Sweden and the USA have proven that teenage personality traits are predictive of experiences in later life. The researchers' results showed that a large number of individual personality variations might be partly related to cortical maturation in adolescence as well as external factors, such as stress and adversity.
In a 2017 study involving US volunteers, researchers took measures of personality at ages 8-12 and then three, seven and ten years later. The main finding was that increased adversity outside of the participant's control (such as a parent divorce) was associated with increased neuroticism over time. Meanwhile, adversity that was directly related to the participant's action or decision (such as school expulsion, exams failure) had even more repercussions on personality.
The study concludes that adversity as a result of a teen’s actions might be more stressful and therefore more harmful when it comes to personality development. This implies that providing teens with adequate emotional support can help combat a cycle of negative personality changes.
Other findings hint at more positive influences on a teenager's personality changes. There is evidence from a Swiss study in 2013 that a teenager’s positive sense of identity is associated with positive developments in personality over time, including higher emotional stability and consciousness. Another study uncovered a link between self-confidence at school and positive personality development.
As parents, we focus on teaching teenagers facts and getting them to pass exams, but we should pay at least as much attention to helping nurture their personalities.
How can sophrology help teenagers thrive?
Sophrology is a mind-body method of healing and calming that has been very popular in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain for nearly 60 years.
When working with teenagers, sophrologists helps them access the unconscious part of their mind and reach their full potential, their abilities, their fundamental values, and assists them in living mindfully.
Sophrology brings true comfort to teens and helps them to go through this transition period more serenely by giving them tools to manage stress successfully.
Sophrology will specifically help them to:
- improve some problems linked to stress (anxiety, insomnia, addictions, & eating disorder)
- develop self-confidence and self-esteem
- accept their self-image
- prepare for important events such as exams and interviews
- deal with change more easily (move, cultural shock )