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Teenagers are emotionally driven

How we deal with our inner world drives everything we do – how we love, how we work, and how we live. Teenagers live in a heightened emotional state and are figuring out who they are and where they fit in. They often feel anxious and overwhelmed, you can help your teenager with anxiety.

Be curious to work things through. Teenagers need help through anxiety, you can help them by having conversations with them about how their day and what they feel about school or online learning? You could help them plan out their day, making sure they take breaks throughout the day and writing down what they’ve achieved and celebrate their achievements with them.

Teenagers can be difficult, however they need lots of love, attention and understanding.

I love working with teenagers

Stories used with the permission of client, as long as no name used

I have many teenage clients at the moment, kids from 13 to 18 years old. I want to open their world up because they’re living in fear of failure. All my teenage clients are brilliant. They’re sensitive kind, caring, deep thinkers – Sometimes too deep. It becomes rumination, where they’re only talking in their own heads about what’s worrying them. It becomes what I call, ‘circular thinking.’ They only have limited life experiences, so they only have access to limited answers in their head.

Client story

I have an 18 year old who’s in year 12 doing her HSC. It’s the final year of school, and she’s bored, unmotivated and hates school yet she’s extremely intelligent academically. She tells me that in year 10 She used to get all A’s, and her parents are disappointed in her performance over the past two years, which upsets her enormously.

I used A3 paper to do a mind map with her. So, in the middle, I wrote 2020 to 2021 and asked what happened over these two years that has never happened in your lifetime.

This was her list:

  • Mother died
  • Moved in with aunt
  • Moved again with dad
  • Moved school
  • Changed friends
  • Brother got sick
  • Lockdown
  • Covid 19 when school changed
  • Father has new girlfriend with 2 sons and a daughter
  • No friends because lockdown started when she started school
  • Found it difficult to do online school
  • Is doing year 12 Higher School Certificate
  • Exams aren’t definite and keep changing
  • Mother’s anniversary of her death is in the middle of exams

Anyone would feel overwhelmed by all this. Her anxiety was right up there and she didn’t know what to do, nor did she know how to get motivated to do her work. It was like the more she tried to ignore it, the more amplified it became. It’s like that chocolate you have hidden in the freezer. If you know it’s there, you keep concentrating on it and it only makes you want it more.

Motivation and anxiety

First of all motivation doesn’t work like that. Most people think that you have to have motivation to be able to do something. It actually works in reverse. You need to do something, feel like you’ve achieved something, then you want to do it again. This is motivation.

She was in such a stressed state that her brain couldn’t function. She also couldn’t get to sleep because she was worried that she wasn’t able to complete her work and even if there was going to be an HSC exam.

Here’s how to help your teenager calm their thoughts

I call this the one-minute meditation.

  • Sit in a quiet room where you’ll know you’ll have no interruptions
  • Be comfortable, sit or lay down
  • Notice your breath
  • Feel it go in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Don’t change the rhythm, just notice it
  • Inhale
  • Exhale
  • Do this a few times
  • Now feel really notice the air rushing through your nostrils
  • Down into the back of your throat
  • Into you lungs, feel your lungs expanding
  • Feel your stomach rise
  • Now notice the reverse happening as you breathe out
  • Exhale through you mouth
  • Repeat this a few more times and you’ve done a minute-meditation

Repeat this technique a few times throughout your day. Schedule it in your calendar, put a notification on it so you make time for yourself.

Take away message

Teenagers are learning to become individuals and to be able to go out into the big, wide world. They’re supposed to rebel, however many teenagers are sensitive, anxious and empathic. They need to be encouraged to notice more about who they are not what they are.

The One-Minute Meditation will help slow their thoughts down and assist them in noticing who they are and appreciating themselves.

You could try this yourself and see if it has a calming effect on you. Let me know how you go. Email me cait@juliea67.sg-host.com

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