How to Avoid Being Reactive

Does your teen feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained? Does your child feel like he or she doesn't have control over his or her life? One key strategy to combat these feelings is to avoid being reactive. When we are reactive, we allow events and other people to dictate how we react. We passively respond to what's going on and we struggle to keep up with life's demands. Whether it’s anger, anxiety, or sadness, our emotions can sometimes manage our actions without us even realizing it. Therefore, we must take responsibility for our actions. We must take a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one. By taking ownership of how we act, we decide what we will do—not the other way around. Here’s how you can be proactive, not reactive…

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How to Manage Social Media Anxiety

Are Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter making your teen feel anxious or depressed? Your son or daughter is not alone. Recent studies and surveys reveal that social media is one contributing factor towards rising mental health issues among teens.  Teens who use social media for hours each day tend to feel more anxious, more insecure, and more alone. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to parenting a teenager with social media related anxiety. Just like teens use social media in various ways for different purposes, there are numerous ways for parents to support their children. Here are some helpful strategies to consider:

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Cultivating Meaningful Relationships

How many friends do you have? Now, think about the quality of those friendships. How many of your friendships are invaluable to you? It's not always easy to make meaningful friendships. For teens especially, it's tricky to cultivate quality relationships when everyone's changing and figuring out who they are. As people change, friendships evolve too. There's a difference between hanging out with a group of people while feeling lonely, and hanging out with a few friends while feeling genuinely happy. Everyone wants to spend time with people who we enjoy being around. But how do we foster those kinds of relationships? Here are some tips to help you develop valuable and worthwhile friendships…

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How to Take a Brief Vacation

Life always pushes and pulls us in many directions. Between work, school, kids, friends, family, obligations to the community, etc, it’s hard to find the time to slow down in both body and mind. Do you ever feel so distressed that you have to leave the environment that’s making you stressed? By briefly removing yourself from an overwhelming environment or activity, you tend to feel better. You may not realize it, but you’re employing a DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) skill called “brief vacation.” Let’s explore how it works…

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Setting Healthy Boundaries

We all have boundaries, or limits that we establish for ourselves. Setting boundaries is the way we communicate what is okay and what is not okay in our relationships and friendships. Knowing what your boundaries are and what you are comfortable with in your life is very important for your safety and your self-respect. If you know what you are okay with, then you know to speak your mind when you don’t want to engage in something or with someone that creates uncertainty. You can assert your boundaries in a number of different ways. Here are a few examples…

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Practicing Kindness

Have you heard of the saying "A little bit of kindness goes a long way"? It's more than just an expression—it's actually true! Science proves that performing acts of kindness is beneficial for all of the people involved. It reduces anxiety, makes you feel calmer, and increases happiness too. Why not do your part to be kindhearted towards others? Try performing one random act of kindness each day. It can be something big or small—whatever you choose. Are you ready to take this challenge? We’ve got some suggestions to get you started…

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The Signs of School-Related Anxiety in Teens

School is a main source of anxiety and stress in a teen’s daily life. Homework, tests, and social demands can make teens feel anxious and at times, overwhelmed. Parents often overlook lesser-known signs of school related anxiety, either because they are looking for the more “well known” symptoms, or because a parent mistakenly attributes it to another problem that may be present. It’s important to recognize this kind of anxiety in order to help your teen cope with it. Here are some lesser-known symptoms of school-related anxiety in teenagers that you should be aware of…

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The Importance of Mobile Manners

It goes without saying—manners are very important. Every day, we try to instill proper manners into our children, so that they will be polite to others. Yet kids and teens often think that because they are writing from behind a screen, they have the power to say things that they would never say in person. They may be ruder or meaner online, simply because they are not talking to someone else face-to-face. It’s crucial to remind your children that having a phone or tablet is not an excuse to forget about manners. Here are some great ways to enforce mobile manners…

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Connecting with Children, from a Therapist's Perspective

Parenting can be tough at times. Sometimes, your child just won’t listen to you. It may be frustrating when you are unsure of what to do to get things to resonate. As therapists, we can offer a different perspective—perhaps one that will benefit your relationship with your child. We have learned many lessons about how to connect with children and improve their behavior through our line of work. Here are some insights to consider…

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Practicing Forgiveness

Do you sometimes find it difficult to forgive other people? The ability to forgive is an important component for our own personal growth and happiness. Holding on to hurt, pain, resentment, and anger harms us far more than it harms the offender. We should all strive to better forgive others, as well as ourselves. Let’s clarify what forgiveness involves, and explore why it’s beneficial to practice forgiveness…

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3 Tips to Help Get Your Child to Sleep

Does your child struggle with falling asleep? Maybe you put your child to bed and 20-30 minutes later, he or she is still awake and telling you that he or she can't sleep. It’s understandably frustrating for parents, particularly after a long day, because your child's bedtime may be your first real opportunity to unwind. If you find yourself experiencing issues with bedtime, here are some tips to help your preschooler get settled in for a good night's sleep...

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Tips for Sticking to Your New Year's Resolution

Everyone sets goals for the New Year, so that we can have a better, healthier year ahead. How are you doing with your resolutions so far? Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get more sleep each night, or spend more time with family, it can be difficult to stick to your resolutions. Use these tips to help stick to your goals for 2019…

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Eating Disorder vs. Disordered Eating: How to Tell the Difference

Do you have a difficult or out-of-control relationship with food? You may potentially have an eating disorder, or it could be disordered eating. It’s often difficult for people to determine if or when their disordered eating habits develop into an eating disorder. Many wonder, “How do I know it’s really a problem?” Disordered eating habits are fairly common. Perhaps you eat when you are bored or upset (you may not actually be hungry at the time), or you eat the same thing for breakfast each morning. Disordered eating behaviors can be precursors to more alarming behaviors that fall into the “eating disorder” realm. However, you can engage in disordered eating without having a more serious eating disorder. Read more about some key differences between the two...

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Self-Soothe to Reduce Holiday Stress

Can you believe that it’s already the holiday season? With the kids home from school, travel plans, gift-giving, and meal preparation, your week off can quickly become a very stressful time of year. Don’t let the holiday stress get you down. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, try using a skill called Self-Soothe. Self-soothe encourages you to relax and improve your mood through your five senses. You can comfort yourself, giving yourself the mental health break that you deserve this holiday season…

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How to Motivate Your Teen to Get Things Done

It’s almost winter break—a time to relax, celebrate with family, and take a break from the busy routine. However, there’s still so much to do before the holidays arrive! It can be difficult to get your teen to be productive when all he or she can do is count down until the week off from school. Arguing or nagging your teen isn’t always effective. Instead, try using these helpful tips to motivate your teen to get things done…

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5 DBT Skills That You're Already Using

Have you just started working with a DBT therapist or have you recently joined a DBT Therapy Group? If so, you may be anxious about learning a whole new set of coping skills. The good news is that you are most likely using some DBT skills on a regular basis. You may not even realize that you are applying these skills regularly. It is helpful to review the skills, so that you can be aware of when you’re utilizing them and then use them most effectively. Here is an overview of five DBT skills that you may already be using…

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What is Executive Functioning?

Have you ever heard of executive functioning? This term may be used at school or at therapy when talking about students’ basic skills. Each of us needs to be the CEO, the executive, or the person in charge of how we function. This is particularly important for kids and teens, who are developing these skills as they mature. Students improve their executive functioning skills in order to reach their personal maximum level of achievement. Essentially, they are the skills that we need in order to organize, prioritize, and complete tasks. Executive functioning skills are vital to a person’s success. Learn more about executive functioning, and why an academic success coach may be just what your child needs…

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Managing Family Expectations this Holiday Season

Can you believe that the holiday season has already started? The holidays are a time for family, spirituality, personal reflection, gift-giving, travel, food, and so much more. It’s a wonderful time of year, but it’s also a stressful one. We envision an idealistic family gathering or holiday party, even though we know that this is not realistic. Many of us put too much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect holiday experience. While the “perfect” holiday may not exist, you can use the following strategies to make the most of this holiday season…

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4 Tips for Mindful Eating on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday seasons. It’s the time of year for great food, good times with family, and celebration. However, many people struggle with eating mindfully on Thanksgiving. It can be so easy to get tempted by the abundance of delicious food and overeat. Instead of regretting your decisions at the Thanksgiving table, follow these tips to keep yourself in check and be more mindful during this year's meal…

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Infinity Loop: Identifying Negative Cycles in Your Relationship

Do you and your partner find yourselves arguing over the same issues, time and time again? Do you want to figure out what isn’t working and make a change for the better? Consider using the Infinity Loop to improve your relationship. Scott Woolley, PhD, first introduced the Infinity Loop in order to help couples identify the negative cycles that they get stuck in—the negative habits that perpetuate dissatisfaction. Identifying and communicating these cycles’ helps each partner gain a deeper understanding of one another. Read more to learn how to have less argumentative and more effective discourse…

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