Teens, just like us, often spend most of their waking hours fixated and consumed by certain problems, and yet have absolutely nothing to show for their efforts.
All that energy spent, yet they can't seem to move the dial even a single click the right.
So part of my role working with young adults is to give them a place where they can collect themselves, talk openly and unfiltered, and put it all out there.
That gives them a chance to look at things fresh, often for the first time, without all the insecurity and upset, and with someone that's truly in their corner.
It's also part of my role to help them understand WHY life at that particular age can get so overwhelming, uncomfortable, and out of control.
That it’s normal and explainable.
And that it's not because they're weird, broken, or doomed for a life of mental health issues.
To give them a level of hope that things do get better and show them why I say that.
And that in the meantime they can influence things right now in a way that will calm things down.
For a lot of young adults, their daily lives are generally filled with tension and angst. Sometimes in tolerable amounts. Sometimes intolerable.
There’s a few reasons behind this.
For one, at any given moment, there’s pressure to handle things the right way.
Because there's a lot at stake - their grades, their future, their friends, how they come across to other people, just to name a few.
In addition, when they’re not handling things well, it can feel like they’re seeing a sample of how they’re going to be for the rest of their lives.
So if they’re indecisive for example, it feels like they’re going to be one of those scared indecisive people. So that’s another fear they now carry around.
On top of that, for young adults, there’s often more questions than answers: Should I be working harder in school? Do I care? Will I care later? Is this person really my friend? Is there something wrong with me?.
And while all of that’s happening, their emotional life has giant swings.
When they like something - a song, a friend, a boyfriend, a video game, their level of enthusiasm is much higher than what adults get. They get into things 100%. (Which is a huge asset that adults don’t often have, but that’s a topic for another day).
But that also means their negative emotions are big too. When they get insecure, sad, awkward, anxious, or angry, the levels are 10 times higher than ours.
So that’s a sampling of what’s often happening inside the young adult mind that creates so much instability and chaos.
But there’s more under the hood that’s harder to see.
Along with the instability, young adults also have equal levels of strengths and abilities that are less visible and less loud, but are always there.
And with a little bit of insight into the resources they have, they can actually influence how bad things get in their minds. With a bit of understanding, young adults can find more moments of relief, order and peace of mind to offset a bunch of the crazy.
For example, there’s a way teens and young adults will sometimes show up when their friends or family struggle or need their help. They’re calm, focused and confident.
And as a result they’re connected to their sensibility, common sense, and wisdom. And they show up that way on purpose. They know it’s time to drop everything and do that. To get present and open.
Which means that’s an ability they walk around with. It’s a skill they only bring out in certain situations, and it might not look like a big deal to them.
But it doesn’t matter how often they do it. It matters THAT they do it. That there’s an asset right there, double-parked, that they can connect to.
And it’s generally under-used in young adults.
And my job is to show young adults how to understand and tap into some of the survival skills that are built into them more often and more on-purpose.
That’s what today’s video focuses on.
This interview was hosted by my colleague Dr. Anne Curtis as part of a video series.
For more videos from Dr. Curtis, click here.