Teens and Anxiety: Getting Comfortable Talking about the Uncomfortable

Discussions on mental health and wellness have been on the rise as the world has taken notice of the consequences of ignoring the problem at hand — anxiety and its effects on today’s youth. Increasingly, mental health professionals are being faced with children and adolescents coming into their offices to discuss the internal and external pressures they are experiencing in their daily lives. More often than not, high school aged clients are expressing their insecurities surrounding their grades in school, time management (i.e., extra-curricular activities, homework, social lives), social media, and the overall feeling of not being “good enough”. Today’s youth are constantly being ‘sized up’ by their peers, teachers, coaches, parents, siblings, college admissions, etc. There is an overwhelming fear of failure and rejection in several areas of their daily lives that are not being properly addressed; rather they are put on the back burner for a later time.

Children and teens are facing feelings of anxiety and stress at an alarming rate. Through taking the time to see past the answers of “I’m fine” or “everything is okay”, we can begin to explore what is taking place in their daily lives. We need to make it safe to discuss the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that may arise. By allowing teens to hide behind mounds of homework or their computer and phone screens, we are encouraging them to isolate themselves. This can lead them to believe that they are alone in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

It is of utmost importance that we begin to take a different stance when addressing the concerns of our youth. By being proactive in their lives we can notice the signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety. By doing this we can help today’s children an teens work through what is seemingly too difficult to withstand alone. Let us not feed into the symptoms and instead challenge them in a productive and safe manner. Let us get comfortable with talking about the uncomfortable.

To gather more information and read about personal experiences of adolescents, teachers, parents, and mental health professionals, head to this article written in the New York Times.


2018 is here and everyone around us is excited about having a fresh start in hopes of forgetting the woes of the previous year. However, we all have challenging moments, from previous years to what the new one may bring us when we feel that we simply can not go on. Life can appear to be so tough and unforgiving at times, that all strength is gone and the future looks bleak.

The true strength of every person becomes apparent in times of adversity. Therapists will tell you that relationships, finances, the loss of a loved one, and health problems can truly test one’s inner strength, values, and beliefs. If you are going through such troubles, as well as others, and find that you are having difficulty coping with them on your own, it can be helpful to find an experienced therapist that will provide you additional support and help you to find and explore your inner strength.

The ways in which you think about life and the challenges it brings is one of the most important factors for making it through the darkness and finding the light. Mantras can be beneficial because they can help you build your mental and emotional strength. Mental health clinicians believe in the benefits of mantras because positive and realistic affirmations help you find the strength within, the strength that is needed to keep moving steadfastly through life.

The following mantras can help you find the motivation to navigate through the new year when life may appear to be extra hard on you:



    Failure is a normal part of life and everybody experiences it. It is important to accept failure and see it as an opportunity rather than a shortcoming. Experiencing failure can teach us valuable lessons and give us a better idea of who we are and what really matters to us.

    Every time you fall, you are presented a new opportunity to stand back up stronger than ever before. Be thankful for these opportunities rather than wallow in the feeling of defeat.

    Tell yourself that bad things can and will eventually lead to better times. Positive and negative are notions that exist solely in our own minds. Once you learn to see hinderances as chances in life, you will become more capable of recovering from hardships.


    Our life is all about movement. Those who dwell on the past become stuck in the moment and find it difficult to move forward. This is why mental health professionals will guide their clients towards living in the present moment, helping them to let go of the excess baggage that weighs them down.

    Begin each morning by reminding yourself that life begins now. The past provides valuable experiences and memories to help guide your future, however, you can not keep reliving moments that are long gone and cannot be changed.

    Try not to let the past, both good and bad, rent space in your head. They served their purpose during those moments. You now have a new opportunity presented to you which allows you to shift your focus towards something that is meaningful and fills you with a sense of purpose.

    If you are too stuck on regretting the things that have been, you may miss out on the things that potentially can be. Regret leads to even more regret, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from.


    It is nothing but normal for one to doubt their inner strength. With time, these doubts can take over, making it near impossible to identify a source of power.

    Tell yourself that you are stronger than you believe. It may seem like you can not go on when tragedy strikes. The human spirit, however, is a source of endless power. Once you conquer an obstacle, you will begin to realize just how much strength you have hidden within. Begin to view obstacles as opportunities — they will often reveal skills and power that you were unaware of.

  4. I CAN

    This is like the simplest mantra, but one we should often use. It can be powerful and profound. Take a look at your reflection in the mirror, smile, and remind yourself “I can!”

    Tell yourself that you are capable of doing something, even when you feel that you simply cannot. By reminding your subconscious that you can accomplish what you put your mind to you are encouraging yourself to make progress.


    The victim mentality can be detrimental to just everyone. It will make you stop in the face of adversity and hinder you from realizing your full potential. Instead of viewing yourself as a victim, let us work towards looking for creative solutions to your problem(s).

    You may feel hurt, powerless, and embarrassed. You may feel that injustices have come upon you while others are enjoying the pleasure of life. These feelings are normal! However, think about it, you have not been defeated. You are still here — breathing, thinking, moving. As long as you are physically on this planet, you have the opportunity to make positive shifts in your life.

    The situation and the people that have hurt you have not succeeded in bringing you down because you are still here!


    Whatever challenges you are dealing with, remember that you are in control of your emotions and not vice versa.

    When feelings become overwhelming, it is easy to let go and lose control. It is very important to acknowledge consciously that you are in control and are capable of handling the situation at hand. Emotions may be uncomfortable but they are not going to have a prolonged negative impact on your  existence. Accept these emotions, then give yourself time to to heal and move on.

    People suffer the most when they are unwilling to face uncomfortable emotions. Once you let go and face challenges head-on, you will find yourself much more capable of process tough situations.


    Whether you are worrying about the future or you accept changes in life calmly, there are events and occurrences that you simply do not have control over. Even if you spend countless nights worrying and making plans, it will still be impossible to prevent certain situations.

    It is time to learn how to accept everything destiny throws your way. Do the best that you can do under the circumstances and attempt to not worry about what the future holds. You are alive, right here, and right now. This is the fact that matters most.

Utilize these mantras throughout the fresh start that 2018 provides you to help you make small shifts in your daily life. Take the time needed to help process what you are trying to accomplish and remind yourself that you are in control of the ways in which you react to what life throws at you. Make every day count! If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and in need of extra support, feel free to contact Calm and Sense Therapy at 908.322.9623 and we can help set you up with an appointment with one of our clinicians to help you navigate your journey towards peaceful living.


’Tis the season to be …. stressed? The holiday season has fallen upon us and with it comes the promise of happiness, relaxation, and moments of laughter and smiles with friends and family. For many, it is also the time of year when things can become more difficult with the potential for stressors and emotions to become unmanageable.

Through learning how to manage the increase of demands and emotions the holiday season brings upon us, we can immerse ourselves in the joyful moments promised without feeling overwhelmed by the holiday stress.

Tips and Tricks to a FA-LA-LA-LA-Lovely Holiday Season:

  1. Prioritize and manage your time effectively

    The holiday season is short causing us to crunch in work, shopping, holiday parties, and quality time with our loved ones. We want to reflect on what is most important to us (i.e., family, friends, holiday traditions), and ensure that we make time for those that are special to us rather than fulfilling obligations. Be selective this holiday season and do not over-commit yourself for too many holiday parties.

  2. Set a budget

    During the holiday season, many feel pressure to spend more than they can afford wanting everything to be ‘special’. This can often lead to going overboard with spending and gift giving. Start the season by creating a realistic spending budget that includes just about everything you expect to be an expense throughout the season. Now, put the budget in effect and keep track of what you are spending in order to not go overboard.

  3. Grieving the loss of a loved one

    Coping with grief and mourning can be especially difficult during the holiday season. There may be some traditions or events that may be particularly hard for you to attend. Look to those close to you for extra support or spend a little extra time on yourself. It may also be helpful for you to discover ways in which you can remember your loved one. For more ways to help get through the holidays without a loved one visit here.

  4. Prepare yourself and your family

     The holidays can become stressful for everyone. It is not unusual for some conflicts to arise as everyone is busy attending to the personal needs of themselves, their family, jobs, etc. However, it is a good idea to prepare yourself to avoid and/or resolve conflicts as they arise. If a loved one attempts to engage you in a topic that you know has caused tension in the past, change the subject or take some space by leaving the room. Relational dynamics can be tricky, but they do not always have to stay the same. By changing your response to the situation, and later discuss the situation through demonstrating maturity by identifying your part in the situation at hand, you may encourage and elicit the same response from the other person, helping to come to an understanding or solution.

  5. Spend a little time on yourself

    We are told that the holiday season is about giving to others and often forget about taking time for ourselves. It is important that you pay attention to your own needs and feelings throughout the holidays. Set time aside each day to unwind with some rest and relaxation. Spend time with doing enjoyable and relaxing activities with your loved ones, or curl up with a hot drink and let the tension subside.

The holidays can be stressful and anxiety provoking. By creating and utilizing a plan you are taking control and developing ways to manage your holiday stress. Take the time to put things into perspective, spend time with family, and take a little extra care of yourself. If you begin to feel over overwhelmed and need extra support feel free to contact us at 908.322.9623 and we can help set you up with one of our clinicians to develop an action plan.