In 2014, as I approached writing my weekly blog post, I decided to describe some of my patients who, when first seen, didn’t seem melancholy, agitated, or even sad. They were highly engaged with life and appeared very successful, expressing uncertainty and even guilt about coming to therapy.
How many times have you looked at your phone today? 10? 20? 30? 40? If you’re an average tween or teen you’ve looked at your phone 46 times. And, you’ve spent a third of your day using media—Instagram, Facebook, online videos, and music. Maybe you do it without thinking.
Fear of failure bedevils the lives of millions children, teens, and adults. As a result, procrastination often follows. Fortunately, you can rein in both your fear of failure and procrastination using the same techniques.
Let’s explore the thinking behind the fear of failure. Jeremy’s example may help. Jeremy’s fear of failure thoughts were like a thundercloud over his head. He believed he was a failure if he made mistakes or fell short of his goals. To avoid the short-term feeling of failure, Jeremy procrastinated and too often experienced the failure he feared.
Most teens report feeling stressed out every so often, but for teens who chronically worry, the sense of being one step away from disaster never really goes away. Minor troubles are often blown out of proportion, leading to heightened anxiety and sometimes all-out panic attacks. Yet when parents try to coax teens to let go of their fears, their efforts are often met with resistance.
How do we get through to teens to stop the cycle of chronic worrying and anxiety?