Many a teen or young adult can spend a bit of time affixed to their devices. As we scroll through social media we are inundated with images of people living the "perfect life". It can be challenging not to compare our real lives with the "perfect life" we see while scrolling.
Sure, we intellectually know that it takes 20 times for that person to take just the right picture. Yet our emotional part of our brain still makes the comparison. Feelings of not measuring up and being different than can settle in and take it's toll on our self-esteem and self-worth.
The Feel Good Culture
Media in all forms, has shaped the “feel good” culture we live in. Everyone we see on social media is happy, successful, attractive, talented, . . . (insert other positive adjectives here). They don't seem to have a care or problem in the world.
There is a constant pressure to feel good and not experience problems or difficult emotions. Feelings like depression, anxiety, worry, doubt, or any other negative emotion can be viewed as abnormal in comparison.
Many of these natural human emotions are associated with specific gender norms, stigmas, and stereotypes. This can create a socially derived influence to avoid or or experiencing our own, natural, human feelings.
Sometimes we are so pressured to be a part of the "feel good" culture that we create an alternate reality in which we are never sad or angry. Trying to avoid negative emotions can lead us to feeling that very emotion to the max.
Humans have advanced cognitive abilities, but we tend to overthink ourselves into "solutions". When we overthink ourselves into solutions, the solutions may actually perpetuate the problem.
For Example, if you are constantly thinking about how not to be anxious, your solution may be to avoid things that cause anxiety. While this may seem intuitive, avoiding situations that cause anxiety prevents us from being able to use coping skills needed to overcome the anxiety.
A web of barriers, joined by our problems, and perceived solutions can block us from becoming our authentic selves.
But, what if you take on your anxiety, depression, or anger by practicing three simple steps?
Step 1. For Teens & Young Adults: Acceptance
Acceptance is acknowledging that emotions are normal, fluid, automatic, and often a result of our perception.
So why do we work so hard to avoid them? After we have had an emotional response to a situation, do we say to ourselves “I planned to be sad about this.”? Of course not. Most of the time situations that trigger our emotions are unexpected, yet, the “feel good” culture influences us to ignore, deny, or numb them.
An example would be going to a party to take your mind off a recent break up. Another example could be assigning blame and ridiculing the quarterback who caused you to miss the winning touchdown catch.
Accepting how you feel in the interim may help lessen the intensity of the emotion and how long is sticks around for.
Step 2. For Teens & Young Adults: Validation
Take into context and determine if your reaction was warranted. Example, if you are falling behind in a core class and need to score high on the next three exams to maintain your GPA, some stress and anxiety may be expected. Some common symptoms that you may experience could be:
trouble concentrating, or
stomach problems (also symptoms of anxiety)
Validate your emotions by saying, “I feel (insert emotion) because XYZ and that is okay”. Feelings and emotions are usually short term and will pass. It may be uncomfortable in the meantime but they are temporary.
If your emotions and feelings do not seem to pass and remain from day to day, you may want to talk reach out and sit down with a teen therapist or young adult counselor.
Step 3. For Teens & Young Adults: Preparation
Take time to reflect on situations in which you felt discomfort:
What would you have done differently?
Is this something you have a pattern of?
What is the likelihood you will be faced with the same or similar situation in the future?
After you have developed your conclusions, take it a step further. Think about those moments you have experienced before that have passed and goals you have accomplished since then. You may recognize your ability to push through negative emotions and plan for the next wave when it hits.
While our lives can be as complex as our thoughts, we can slowly make changes to how we avoid the web of uncomfortable feelings we encounter moment to moment.
Talking to a teen therapist or a counselor for young adults can help you navigate through the steps of acceptance, validation, and preparation. Learning to work with our emotions, can help you become your best ally and move towards your authentic, genuine, real self.
Teen Therapy & Young Adult Counseling: Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Summer time is spent vacationing with family, recuperating from a very stressful school year, and lounging around with free time. Summer time is a great time to meet with a teen therapist or a counselor for young adults to help get a leg up on the upcoming school year.
Our Katy, Tx location is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10. We are about 4 blocks behind (south) Academy Sports.
If you are ready to take advantage of the summer break and overcome emotional or behavioral obstacles in your way, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Start your journey in realizing your full potential
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Jheri has been providing therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2009. She enjoys using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to it's effectiveness with teens and young adults.
Jheri is also a Supervisor providing mentoring and supervision to up and coming therapists. She has taken ownership to ensure the new therapists are therapists highly trained and qualified to provide therapy to others.
Jheri also has a unique understanding of some of the challenges teens and young adults face who are bi-racial. Identity, acceptance, and embracing a mixed heritage are some of the challenges she helps teens and young adults manage.