0-16 years

"Children are really canaries in the mines of human society. It's the people in our cultures who are the most sensitive to the hardships – and the stress – that societies face, "says Tom Boyce. Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of California, he specializes in treating children ages three to eight. The main stressors of this age group are marital conflict, violence at home, violence in the community, mental health problems of parents – a depressed mother or father – abuse and disciplinary behaviors that become punitive.

In addition, as Dominique Thompson, a former general practitioner specializing in student health and treating clients aged 11 and over, says, "school is a source of great anxiety." SATS guarantees that school pressure is felt even in primary school. "Children are naturally very reluctant to let people down," adds Thompson. Friendships, social media and social situations are additional triggers, while teens have particular problems with identity. "The goal of adolescence is to separate from their parents," she says. "They create their new image, who they want to be, what they want to be known for. This is in itself a stressful process. "

The signs
"Some kids can tell what's bothering them," says Boyce, whose new book, The Orchid and the Dandelion, explains why some kids struggle for survival while others thrive easily. More often, he says, parental detective work is required. There may be nightmares, nighttime alarm, nocturnal enuresis. Children may seek to avoid activities for which they would normally enjoy. Some may display obsessive behaviors, abuse social media, or withdraw.

What helps
For children who want to talk repeatedly about their worries, plan on 15 minutes of "time of worry" each day. To establish that the concerns can be thoroughly discussed in the time of the concerns but not outside them; say, "Let's talk about this in a moment of worry." Thompson recommends the Headspace Kids app, which she uses with her nine-year-old son. "He has two minutes of attention before going to bed," she says.

Deciding when to push a child and when to access his refusals is difficult, and can only be "based on the intuition of your own infinite knowledge of your child," says Boyce. Creativity helps. He mentions a mother of a young child who refused to get ready for school. She glued some fuzzy felt pieces to brush her teeth, put on shoes, have breakfast, and so on. on a board and let his son choose the order in which to organize these events each day.

Illustration of Leon Edler

The sandwich generation, aged 35 to 55, faces the stress of caring for children and elderly parents.

Boyce's key recommendations for children are: respect routines and rituals. S engage in the game. Be compassionate, communicate that your love is unconditional. Honor the differences between children. All of this takes time, but Boyce likes to tell parents that there is no "quality time". Allow just enough time, whatever it is. Proximity and frank conversations can emerge from this time, at unexpected times, such as during a football match or at another activity.

For children who become avoidant, Thompson suggests this approach, influenced by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): "Do not make fun of it. Do not make a disaster. Say, "What's worrying you? … and what would happen then? … OK, we can take care of it. We have bandages, a first aid kit … "" When stress and anxiety interfere with normal life, "she says," it's time to see your doctor.

16-25 years

"Developmental tasks from late adolescence to early adulthood are about moving away from your family," says clinical psychologist Alex Fowke. Independence accompanies fear of rejection and humiliation. Relationships, or the absence of relationships, create immense stress, especially because they are busy years in shaping identity. Greater fluidity around identity can bring its own challenges. Fowke mentions a former client who was fluid in gender and sexuality. "Even if they felt attracted to everyone, integrating everywhere, you're not going anywhere else," he says. All this at a time when you could find yourself, as a student or in a first job, outside of your home with strangers.

Financial concerns are common, although according to Thompson, a member of the Student Minds Clinical Advisory Group, students tend to cite them less often than relational and academic pressures. At the time of exams and at the university, the atmosphere can foster a tendency to perfectionism – the definition of impossible goals, often accompanied by self-beration, prevarication and the syndrome of l & rsquo; # 39; impostor.

Social media exert their own pressures and have the habit of constantly comparing themselves to others – what Fowke describes as "a comparison and a desperation". In addition, family stressors – divorcing parents, for example – are commonplace. Thompson urges parents to resist the temptation to ask their older children for help.

The signs
At this age, stress can sometimes be hidden in strong emotions. Thompson says that many young women have tears, and men are irritable and angry: they hit the walls or argue. Others may find that they are compulsively looking to be reassured. There may be a feeling of unspecific fear in the back of the mind. Some may consume alcohol, drugs or smart drugs to handle their worries, especially those living away from home or within the reach of an inexpensive student bar. "It's hard to focus and attract attention," adds Fowke, "and this can give rise to what might seem like a memory problem." Many will choose to avoid any type social scenario. Some will hide on social media to compare themselves to others.

What helps
If identity or inheritance issues are stressful, Fowke recommends working on your values: ask yourself what you would like people to say about you at your departure party. Retirement is a long way off, but according to Fowke, hereditary concerns are common at this age, perhaps because the choices young people are asked to make may seem like they are embarking on an entire career. Thinking about the big picture helps to adjust expectations. "Sometimes our task, as individuals, is to reconcile what we do for fun with what we have to do," he says.

Student Minds offers free and downloadable resources to people about to embark on university. Student associations are a good starting point, while universities offer tips and courses to combat perfectionism, exam pressure, prevarication and other mental health issues. ask if yours has subscribed to a closed trial of Fika, an app designed to promote self-acceptance and coping skills. The Kooth website offers free online advice and a place to monitor your emotional well-being.

"Awareness-based treatment helps distract attention from catastrophic spirals of thought," advises Fowke. Social anxiety can be confronted with a gradual exposure: have a coffee and listen to the type of conversation others have, says Fowke. "Sometimes [confronting anxiety] needs more formal training, "adds Thompson. In these cases, generalists can offer referrals for CBT. "And some people need medication, which is not a problem because it works very well."

25-35 years

It's a huge life transition period. "There is this pressure to make lifelong decisions at a very young age," says Fowke. Social media allows endless comparisons, with others making identical or different decisions. "When we do social comparisons," adds Fowke, "we usually do worse." Many people in this age group will focus on how to get the perfect marriage and kids while having an impact on the job. They could compare their life to that of their parents of the same age. There may be pressure to start a family. "One of the stressors tends to be," I should have these things now. I see my friends getting settled. I do not even go out with anyone. "It's sometimes unrealistic to think anything is possible," says Fowke, and for women in particular, children have an impact on career progression, which creates new concerns.

Illustration of Leon Edler

It's good to be rude to new things.

One of the great benefits of old age is that

you can fail

Those entering the labor market for the first time face a major adjustment; perfectionists can suffer. "They find themselves in a situation of lack of staff or incompetence, which disrupts their sense of self," says Sally Brown, coach and counselor, who sees many young people between 18 and 30 years of age motivated by outside success struggling. with debilitating levels of anxiety.

The signs
"The anxiety will spread in the way that your individual vulnerability will allow," Brown says. "I recently saw someone who worried a lot about whether she had hit someone while driving." It's a form of OCD. She also cites thinking excessively about social situations. "Post event analysis: go home, resume conversations, feel judged."

Some people find that they lose the will to do tasks that they liked before, that they go from clandestinity to speaking at meetings. They can become avoidant, while others exist in a "state of hypervigilance, where you feel that something terrible can happen. This feeling of fear is hiding on the edges. There may be a constant narrative of "Am I down, will I be able to cope, will I have another panic attack?" Adds Brown.

Self-criticism is "massive in this age group. Many clients "have an inner tyrant in their heads, which scolds them 24/7. We would not tolerate that kind of person in our lives who would follow us by telling us that, but we do it ourselves. "

What helps
Brown advocates self-compassion. "It's not about letting oneself go, it's about accepting oneself." To people who self-criticize, she offers an experience. "For a week, give yourself the same kindness and acceptance that you would treat with a good friend you love. That in itself can be transformative. Sometimes it is useful to qualify the self-repressing voice. Brown talks about "putting the troll back in the box".

Listen carefully to your anxiety. Panic attacks are often "a sign that the brain must have opportunities throughout the day to regain a state of calm," says Browns. She recommends "a daily personal prescription for mental well-being". Take five minutes with a cup of tea; resist scrolling through your phone. "Check with yourself," she says. Ask yourself, "How do I feel, where is my thought?" If your shoulders are at the height of your ears, release the tension. Try breathing 7/11 – inhale a number of seven and exhale eleven: a longer expiration regulates the level of carbon dioxide in the blood.

Brown loves 5-4-3-2-1 exercise as a way to be grounded in the present: think of five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two that you can smell can taste. Try to resist the urge to check social media in the morning. An early refusal can make all the difference for the day.

Know your thought patterns: catch yourself in the act of catastrophism or become perfectionist or inflexible and name yourself behavior. This helps to eliminate anxiety from the driver's seat.

35-55 years

"There is a real mental and physical burden at this age," says Louise Tyler, an Altrincham-based counselor who works with many high-performing professionals to build resilience. Financial concerns, aging, the feeling of mortality are all factors, with what Tyler calls "an existential search for purpose. People are starting to realize that life does not last forever. Questions such as "Have I put enough money aside? How am I going to face retirement? And all the while, there's a "need to feel constantly productive and effective," she says. Commonly referred to as the sandwich generation, many people in this age group will be caring for both teenagers and elderly parents. Relationship breakdown, divorce and loneliness can be additional triggers, as well as the emergence of health problems.

For others, says Fowke, anxiety can be triggered by grief over not having children. Perimenopause and menopause are both stressful, including physical and emotional symptoms. For men, it is thought that there is a change of life similar to andropause, associated with a gradual decline in testosterone. Men can develop depression, loss of libido and other symptoms.

As Jonathan Rauch, author of The Happiness Curve: Why life improves after 50 years, stresses, in this age group "it is perfectly natural to proceed to an emotional restart". (Consider this as a new picture of the midlife crisis.)

The signs

Wake up at night, often with the whirring spirit. "If cortisol passes through the body during the day, it will not go out at night," Tyler warns. "Your body will wake up." The stress hormones can cause palpitations and nausea, a lack of energy and agitation. Tyler discovers that some people develop irrational phobias they have never had before – fearing driving on the highway, for example. Rauch cites "inexplicable frustration and disappointment". Anger and arguments with partners may increase.

Give yourself permission to turn off. Read, put on music. No matter what you do: it's the judgment that counts

Louise Tyler

What helps
Tyler says that women of the sandwich generation tend to "take more emotional laundry" and get to her "exhausted" door. She encourages these customers to allow themselves to go out and suggests including regular "stopping points", ideally three times a day. What you are doing right now does not matter; it's the judgment that counts. Meditate, read the newspaper, put some music on the way back home. It is important to make sure that the downtime is not selfish, she said. Exercise also helps to burn the adrenaline. Tyler thinks it can be helpful to stop thinking of the exercise as something you "should" do and see it as a "worthwhile strategy" that you choose to deploy. The board works for some.

Rauch, author and journalist, found coaching beneficial when he experienced an economic crisis in his forties. For those who feel unhappy, he cites in his book research that shows that after 50 years, the level of stress begins to decline. It is useful, he says, to know "that what you are living is normal and healthy, and [is part of] a transition to positivity and contentment ". It is best to proceed with the change in small, manageable steps. "The urge to escape is misleading and will not help in most cases. Normalize. Understand. Reach out to others Not doing this is the mistake I made, "he says. "Social isolation aggravates the situation. Stay focused in the present. Quarantine is a time trap. You are disappointed with your past and pessimistic life in the future. But, he adds, it's only the beginning of a period of changing values.

55-70 years

"Death, to be frank," said Martin Pollecoff, 69, a psychotherapist and chairman of the British council for psychotherapy. Friendship groups at this age can be decimated by health problems and death. As in any transition period, the pressure on relationships is immense. "It's quite common for one of the partners to have a lot more fun," says Celia Dodd, author of Not Fade Away: How to Thrive in Retirement. "If one partner is retired and the other is not, the one who is not is very likely to say," What did you do all day? "" This can exacerbate the feeling of no purpose, there may be conflict with adult children, distance from grandchildren.

For those who have associated stress with an active lifestyle, it may be difficult to recognize apathy as a sign of anxiety, while those who are starting to retire may be running on adrenaline where to spend it, aimlessly.

For some, Dodd observes "a sort of competitive retirement" in which "there is a new pressure on people to have a good time". Regrets can weigh heavily. And all of this underlies a profound uncertainty about the future.

The signs
Procrastination, with the widening of health concerns. Many people are reluctant to leave the house. Some feel frustrated at not getting anything in the day or mulling over past disappointments. "Wine o'clock starts earlier and earlier," says Dodd. "And then just feel indifferent to life, think, what is the purpose of anything?"

What helps
Acceptance. "Accept what you did, which you will never do," Pollecoff advises. "You have to deal with paths you have not followed," Dodd adds. "Think of them. Then try to think of the good things you have done instead. "

Rauch, 58, finds at this age "an excellent time to revive. Our values ​​change. We put less emphasis on ambition and more on relationships, the others, which is very rewarding. Finding new routines helps. "Work fills this big space of our life and it's about finding new things that are valuable," says Dodd. "They really have to do with people. Communicate with other people. "

Illustration of Leon Edler

Between the ages of 55 and 70, try a new activity that challenges you.

For those who have trouble getting out of the house, Dodd suggests making small changes. Listen to another radio station. Go to the cafe for breakfast. Walk in a different way to a familiar destination. Find a new activity that challenges you. "The comfort zone is a horrible phrase," says Dodd, "but you have to keep stretching yourself and get ready to be a little uncomfortable sometimes. Then you get that fantastic sense of success. "

Volunteering is one way to achieve this, although the challenge may also be to plan a vacation, with a secondary objective of learning a language, for example, or a physical challenge such as running a 5K. Try your luck at something new. And remember: "It does not matter if you play shit," Pollecoff says. "One of the great benefits of old age is that you can fail and that will not destroy you."

Use the newly available time to prioritize health. "Become your own doctor," says Pollecoff. "Diet, Exercise, Give priority to health." Finally, Dodd and Pollecoff agree that "following your curiosity" is the key.

More than 70 years

Each decade, over 70 years brings slightly different challenges, but throughout this period you may be losing a partner or friends and perceiving a loss of place in society. For some, there is the prospect of a move to a retirement home or the fear of it. For those who are in the early stages of dementia and have an idea of ​​their condition, it may be that "the control center is moving away from you," says Duncan Forsyth, a geriatrician consultant.

According to Alex Bailey, a senior physician at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the fear of death is not a big problem. "I'm 40 years old and I'm terrified of death," he says. "But you do not tend to see that much in the elderly. People with long life experience have generally agreed to do so, "or have developed resilience to it. A bad state of health, on the other hand, leads to anxiety, especially if the disease threatens independence.

There may be financial concerns, especially about the cost of care. "You may not be confident in your family's ability to lead your life. How much do you trust your children, for example? Bailey asks. "There is a fear of being seen as a burden, of fearing physical and mental disability, and of being alone, while others may be stressed about helping to take care of young grandchildren. Loneliness is commonplace. On top of that, "older people are receiving from society the message that life makes less sense."

The signs
Somatization – expression of distress in physical symptoms – is common. Weight loss and appetite are often interpreted as the result of a lifestyle change: "Well, I do not move so much, so I do not need to eat so much. But they can be caused by stress or anxiety – a leg pain can be the result of an anxiety around walking, for example.

What helps
According to Bailey, the key is keeping your social network as active as possible. "We are social creatures. Continue like that. Communities are full of opportunities to socialize: look for them. Even small, everyday moments of interaction help, for example, to talk to factors or traders.

This is the perfect time to start a new hobby or physical activity, especially an activity that involves meeting others.

Try to focus on what is causing the stress and try to put worry aside. "What do you think that prevents you from going to sleep?" Why can not you turn off your brain? Have you always been worried, a person who cogs too much in the dark hours when you should be neutral? Forsyth asks. Try to change your breathing to slow the heart rate (by expiring one second longer than you breathe, for example). "Anxiety is a pathological condition. It can be helped, "says Bailey. If you have or fear dementia at an early stage, the National Helpline for Dementia will give you free advice. CBT is another option. There may be more sessions in this age group, says Bailey.

And although friends and family members can judge your decisions, it's not up to them to change or change them: "If you want to make a crazy decision, it's your right," advises Bailey. . This applies to family members who may be trying to influence your care on your vacation choice.

Psychotherapy can also be beneficial in this age group. Ask your doctor if the adult NHS adult IAPT program is available to seniors in your area.