"Teenagers are known for their angst and moodiness. You really can’t blame them with all that’s going on in their lives from physical changes and peer pressure to academic expectations and the formation of relationships." Tyler Jacobison (Twitter | Linkedin
Feeling moody and grouchy once in a while is normal. Trouble begins when these feelings become more intense, persisting for weeks, months or even longer. Teen depression is an uncomfortable reality in our society and it’s up to parents to support and help their affected teens.
Situational vs. Clinical Depression
You can help your child by first identifying the difference between situational and clinical depression, their causes and treatment methods.
Situational depression (also known as adjustment disorder) occurs in the aftermath of monumental or traumatic changes in an individual’s life. In teens, situational depression can be triggered by parents’ divorce, a breakup from a romantic relationship, death of a loved one, academic struggles or even moving to a new area. Keep in mind that situational depression is temporary and things should go back to normal once the stressors are removed or your teen learns to cope with them.
In the meantime though, their symptoms are very real and are similar to those of chronic depression. They include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness or hopelessness.
- Changes in sleeping patterns –either difficulties in falling asleep or oversleeping.
- Changes in eating patterns, loss of appetite and weight changes.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, studies and life in general.
- Persistent lethargy and fatigue.
- Difficulties concentrating, making decisions or remembering tasks.
- Self-harming or suicide attempts.
Clinical depression, on the other hand, is more severe and is thought to be caused by a complex mix of brain chemical imbalances, genetic factors and social situations. It causes major long-term depressive symptoms that are pervasive enough to interfere with your teen’s daily life.
Different Treatment Approaches
The treatment your teen requires depends on the type of depression they have.
Managing Situational Depression
● Urge your teen to continue pursuing their hobbies and other leisure activities.
● Also, encourage them to eat a nutritionally well-balanced diet and get regular exercise to stimulate the production of dopamine to boost their mood.
● Joining a support group or talking out the situation with close friends and relatives can also help.
● If all else fails, seek the help of a trained psychotherapist.
Managing Clinical Depression
● Psychotherapy is a crucial part of helping your teen deal with clinical depression. Get feedback on their progress to ensure that the therapist you engage is the right fit.
● Appropriate medication in tandem with therapy will provide the best outcome for your teen. The medication might be for short or long-term use depending on the diagnosis.
● Hospitalization in a psychiatric facility might also be necessary especially if your teen is self-harming, suicidal or showing signs of delusion or psychosis.
With proper coaching, parents can learn responsive parenting skills that will help them discern behavioral issues that may predispose their teens to depression as well as learn how to assist their children to get over rough patches in their lives.
GUEST AUTHOR: Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn
Mindset is about how you think and use your mental focus. The term emotions refer to your feelings, and each affects the other. -Emotion intertwines with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation.
Emotions and Strength
Want strength, then rile up your emotions like Norse warriors of long ago. The warriors were so called because they created fist of anger before entering the battlefield. They caused adrenaline to pump to prepare to win a war. In this agitated state, they felt invulnerable and accomplished feats of incredible strength.
Under extreme stress or emotional overwhelm, your body produces excess amounts of testosterone, adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase you heart rate, focus, awareness and muscle tone for the extra strength.
Use Your Emotional Strength for Calm, Collected Focus
Calm, collected focus is about creating and being in a "flow state."
We also call flow by several descriptors:
- Being in the zone or fully immersed mental state.
- Feeling of energized focus
- Full involvement
- Complete absorption of in what one does
- Results that are focused, engaged, maybe losing track of time.
A flow state is a feeling of calm, focused bliss, like in extreme sports when athletes persofrm effortlessly.Or like in music where the melody or the rhythm moves a person to sing or to dance.
No fear. No doubt. No bursts of anger or unwanted emotion.
You do your best work in a flow state. This is when we are happiest.
Do you try to live your life as much as possible. The problem is that you may have anxiety or stay overly busy with chores and things we need to do. These limitations leave you stressed, anxious or busy and they take you out of the moment. You face a challenge when your body and mind cannot possibly be in-sync when you are worrying.
Entering flow means being in the moment which not only makes you happy and confident, it also makes you unstoppable. You take control over your emotions.
So how do you take back control over your emotions?
- Check into how you feel, especially if your energy is low, or you you are distracted or even in a bad mood.
- To change your mood, I suggest Full-Wave Breathing to change your physiology in the literal sense.
- If you learn to breathe correctly (using belly breathing to fill the lower portion of the lungs, then the upper portion). If you use slow, controlled breaths, then you will be able to lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and calm your entire body.
- This will change your parasympathetic tone, taking you out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and digest’. Try it the next time you feel overly stressed, overly competitive or worked up after an intense workout – your heart rate will slow and your mind will grow calmer.
- For your mental framework, another tool to use is called CBT---‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ and this is a popular form of psychotherapeutic intervention used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders.Take the intention of CBT strategies to look at the content of your thoughts. The self-talk that you give yourself to work yourself into a panic, or to calm yourself down. If you are thinking things like “I’m worried I might fall off that ledge” then of course you are going to be scared. If you think things like “I’m grateful for my friends” then you will be less likely to feel unhappy with where you are in life. You can use CBT to challenge long-held beliefs and to break negative self-talk habits by challenging your thoughts and testing your hypotheses. This is called ‘cognitive restructuring’.
- In the short term, you can use CBT techniques in order to more honestly assess your state of mind and your emotions and to then change the way you feel about a situation.So if you were stressed that you had a deadline you couldn’t meet and it was ruining your evening, then you might use cognitive restructuring in order to assess the thoughts making you stressed and replace them with more productive ones.For example, you might consider:
- What is the point of being stressed? Will it make matters better?
- What’s the worst case scenario? Would it really be that bad to tell the boss you can’t finish work on time? Are they expecting too much of you anyway?
- When was the last time you did this?
- Are there other ways you could lessen the blow?
- What would you rather pay attention to right now?
Combine this with controlled breathing and bring your focus to the thing that is most useful to you right now.
In the long term, you can use CBT in order to bridge the gap between your thoughts and your physiology. You see, your physiology and your emotions are designed to drive you toward desirable states: sex, food, shelter, love, success, social acceptance.
Clarify Life Coaching
Recently, this coaching topic has been the target of a lot of jokes and demeaning cartoons. Many people have no realistic notion of what it is all about. Life coaching is more than assisting people to set and attain personal or professional goals.
As a life coach, my definition of life coaching is: catalyzing in others personally-desired changes they will make to create a lifestyle of their dreams...one that will work better for them.
In order to effectively do my job described above, I regularly make inquiries about the client. There is a difference between "questions" and "inquiries." The former can be answered immediately after they are asked.
[tweetshare tweet="Inquiries however, are designed to be thought about, deliberated upon and regularly reviewed by the client." username="parent_coach"]
Some of the best inquiries a qualified life coach can make are described below.
What would you like to gain by working with me as your life coach? In order to assist a client to attain their desired outcomes, it becomes important in life coaching to know what those outcomes are
How can you modify your thinking and behavior so that you increase the probability those outcomes occur? One definition of "insanity" is engaging in the same behavior over and over while thinking the outcomes will be different.
What new thinking habits, emotional habits, behavioral habits or social habits are you willing to develop that will increase the likelihood your lifestyle will be different three months (six months, a year, 10 years) from now? If you want to learn and practice new habits, you need to practice them regularly for at least 3-4 weeks in order to make them "unconscious."
What can you think, do or say today that will give you practice at strengthening those chosen new habits that replace the old ones? You can never "unlearn" the habits that created your current lifestyle. You can only learn and strengthen new habits that will replace engaging in the old ones! Th.is is the heart of life coaching.
What are some new choices and decisions you can make that will move you toward creating and enjoying the outcomes/consequences you want to incorporate into your new lifestyle? ? Despite making mistakes and engaging in unskilled behaviors, you might as well risk making new choices that you will enjoy.
With what kind of people will you surround yourself to be supportive of you as you create this new lifestyle? No one ever accomplishes important lifestyle changes without the support of others...even if such support is indirect or out of your awareness.
What are your current strengths, talents and abilities you can use or strengthen that will assist you in attaining your desired outcomes? If you are still alive, you already have some personal abilities that are useful in creating a modified or new lifestyle.
What new habits will result in:
A lower stress level;
A new sense of accomplishment;
A positive redefinition of negative experiences;
An ability to focus internally and lessen your "reactivity;"
An increase in your awareness of the consequences of your choices;
A lessening of your fears and anxieties;
Developing beneficial and enjoyable social and interpersonal relationships;
Developing your happiness and enjoyment about being alive.
If you would like to explore the above inquiries, you just might want to receive assistance from a qualified and experienced life coach...despite all the jokes you may have heard.
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Dr. Thomas is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified life coach. He is on the faculty of the International University of Professional Studies. He is the co-author of the book, "Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills, and Techniques to Enhance Your Practice...and Your Life" (W. W. Norton, 2005). He leads seminars/workshops on: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Life Coaching; Business Coaching; Creativity; Academic Excellence; Creating High-Quality Relationships; Effective Communication; Effective Leadership and many others.
- Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
- 3421 Polk Circle West
- Wellington, CO 80549
Wouldn’t the world be an incredibly effective place if we viewed each other as competent and knowing? Perhaps this ideal behind the parent coaching movement is the appropriate mindset and intention to help parents fulfill their roles consciously and parent effectively.
In parent coaching, the underlying assumption is that the client is well and resourceful and can handle his or her life. In psychotherapy, the assumption is to treat the symptoms and underlying causes. Both coaching and also psychotherapy or counseling can play a role in our lives depending upon our abilities to manage our emotions and our realities.
For example, a client may enter psychotherapy because he gets into fights at work with his supervisor. After a few sessions in which he brings up his past and talks about his parents, the client realizes that he is repeating problems he had with his parents with his boss. In fact, he realizes that he has deliberately chosen a boss who reminds him of his father.
If this same client were to hire a coach, the coach would ask empowering questions and challenge his thinking about handling the boss issues. A coach does not delve into a client’s past, but focuses on the present time, issue or goal.
"Some coaches do have a background as therapists and are thrilled to switch from the model of fixing symptoms to empowering others to move ahead with life. I was a licensed therapist, and I like coaching better. In coaching, the client is whole, resourceful, and ready for change. Yet, the model in therapy is that the client is broken."
In coaching, the WHY is not important! Coaches deal with the HOW. Coaches intervene all the time with advice, encouragement and expertise!
As Coach Brandenburg said, “As a therapist, I used to only listen and never give my opinion. Sometimes I felt as if I could be replaced by a mannequin.”
"Therapy is about looking backwards. Coaching is about working with today. We deal with what is now".
… Jill Herman
Coaches review a client’s strengths and focus on them. The medical/psychological establishment focuses on problems and pathology. We look at wellness and not what is broken. If a coach finds a true pathology, the coach refers that person to a psychologist or other appropriate specialist. Troubled persons with long-standing problems may not think rationally and that is why coaches refer them.
In coaching, the model is that the client is whole and wants to achieve goals. He is open to advice and discussion, and looking to the future, not the past.