How to calm prom night nerves

Prom night is a much-anticipated event for most teenagers. Prom has been billed as a rite of passage for generations, and millions of people have fond memories of this unique tradition.

Hollywood productions about prom night could be a catalyst for unrealistic expectations for high schoolers. Teens may put undue pressure on themselves to live out the "perfect" prom experiences. Prom is supposed to be about letting loose and having fun with fellow students, and the following are some ways to tame prom night jitters.

· Plan your look ahead of time. Prom night itself is not the time to try a wholly new look, hairstyle or even skin care product that you haven't used in the past. Figure out how you want to look that night and do a few trial runs in advance to master the look. Have someone take some photos so you can ensure you look your best even under the lights of camera flashes.

· Take a social media break. Social media can contribute to even the most confident teen feeling a little less secure, particularly during high-profile times like prom and graduation. Remember, what is posted on social media isn't always reality. Filters can make photos look flawless, and most people like to embellish the "best" and "greatest" on social. Taking a pause from posting and scrolling can be a welcome stress-buster.

· Establish expectations early. If you are going to the prom with a group of friends and/or dates, map out what is expected of each person so you're not caught off guard. This can include responsibilities like who is booking transportation and which costs will be incurred and shared by the group. In addition, determine collectively if an after-party will be part of the night and how everyone will get home safely.

· Practice breathing exercises. Everyone experiences nervousness at times, particularly during public events or when there are a lot of people in attendance. Deep breathing can get you on track. The American Institute of Stress says 20 to 30 minutes each day of abdominal breathing can reduce anxiety by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system to induce calmness.

· Don't sweat the small stuff. What may seem like a disaster now at prom likely won't matter later. Mental health therapists often ask their patients, "Will this matter in five years, or even in five weeks?" By refocusing priorities, you can put your energy where it counts.

· Get enough rest. It's easier to have a more positive, calmer outlook when you're well rested. Aim for ample sleep during prom season so fatigue won't exacerbate any anxiety you may feel.

Prom night is important to teens. Some helpful pointers can ensure prom is memorable for all the right reasons.



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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