Menu Close

5 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Exercises for Teen Anxiety

Teenager feeling depressed while looking out window in need of cognitive behavioral therapy exercises

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be highly effective for teens with mental health issues and substance use disorders. Imagine Seattle offers a program designed specifically for teens, including cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises to help young people manage anxiety. To learn more about cognitive-behavioral therapy for teens in Seattle, contact our team today at 888.346.0473.

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based psychological treatment that is effective for many people. It’s based on redirecting one’s way of thinking to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on negative thoughts and actions, including past traumas.

Therapeutic professionals find that teens who can change their pattern of negative thinking are more confident and able to make better choices and more effectively work towards their goals. CBT is focused on three main areas with teens:

  • Understanding the impact of their everyday actions, thoughts, and emotions
  • Showing teens how to identify habits that trigger a negative state of mind and well-being
  • Helping teens change those negative habits and create a more positive daily outlook

CBT strategies for teen anxiety may help young people manage excessive worry, irritability, and restlessness, allowing them to lead more fulfilling lives.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Exercises

CBT works well as a therapeutic approach for teens because it only requires a short time in therapy. Teenagers complete the exercises in real-time, making it easier to focus and remain patient. The exercises included as part of CBT can show results faster than other types of therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy exercises include:

Mindfulness and Relaxation

This can include things like breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. The exercises help teens better manage their stress and focus on what’s in front of them rather than their past. Teens recovering from mental health issues and substance use disorders greatly benefit from these exercises.


Brainstorming involves focusing on constructive, solution-based thinking rather than dwelling on negative thoughts. For teens, brainstorming exercises can include writing down something that’s bothering them, making a list of ways to improve, and more. Teens respond well to this exercise as there are no wrong ways to approach it.

Following Through

Learning to follow through with completing a task is a valuable life skill for anyone. In CBT, it is called successive approximation, one of the most commonly used exercises as part of therapy for teens. It helps young people break down daunting tasks into smaller, more manageable ones that seem less overwhelming. 

Doing Healthy Homework

Teens do not necessarily like homework, but practicing the skills they learn in therapy is imperative. Being able to self-manage anxiety and other mental health issues will better serve them in their everyday lives. These assignments can include anything from keeping a food diary to keeping track of triggers.

Journaling and Visualization

Learning ways to deal with negative thoughts is the basis of CBT. These thoughts can surface at the most inopportune times, like while trying to go to sleep. So, instead of letting the brain dwell on these thoughts, teenagers can visualize things that went right during the day and spend a few minutes putting those thoughts onto paper in a journal. These positive affirmations push negative thoughts to the side.

Contact Imagine Seattle For More Information on CBT

At Imagine Seattle, we understand that treating teenagers for mental health concerns and substance use disorders differs from treating adults. A teen’s viewpoint is different, as are their habits, emotions, and actions. Our counselors provide anxiety CBT exercises for teenagers to help them change negative patterns and develop healthy habits.

Imagine Seattle offers a variety of programming to treat teen mental health issues. In addition to CBT, we provide dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), trauma therapy, group and individual therapy, and more. Reach out today by calling 888.346.0473 or visiting us online to learn more about effective CBT exercises for teens.