"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 "...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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The Power of No-Christian Counseling, Individual Counseling, Confident Counseling Northborough MA 01532

The Power of No

The word “No” often comes with a negative stigma. it is often associated with rigidity, lack of cooperation, and selfishness. Is it possible that saying “no” may just be the most loving word you could say to someone? I believe so. I work with a lot of adults, primarily women, who tell me how they feel burnt out, have lost control of their schedules, or are feeling used by an unhealthy person in their lives. They struggle with saying no and setting limits in their lives. As a result, they build resentment and frustration, or they enable unhealthy people around them. Take for example a woman who is with an alcoholic. She struggles with saying no and pays for his substances. She allows him to live with her while he’s unemployed spending the day drinking for smoking pot. Her saying yes to him is preventing him from facing the consequences of his choices. In a way she is hindering his growth. Now there is no guarantee that her leaving or setting limits would get him to grow, but it won’t happen by her doing what she’s currently doing.

You see we must realize that sometimes tough love is necessary for the health of our relationships and the people around us. The same goes for not creating healthy boundaries at work or in every aspect of our lives. Of course, the next barrier I see is the guilt that shortly follows saying no. The best suggestion I tell clients is that you must remind yourself that tough love sometimes hurts in the short-term, but it doesn’t “harm” in the long-run. Giving yourself the time to feel the guilt and then remind yourself that you can handle can be helpful. Reminding yourself that people being mad at you is something you can handle is important too.

The power of “no” allows for growth and honesty. Let’s start adding the word “no” into our daily lives and see how it is transformed.

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Natural Alternative Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder-Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Natural Alternative Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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By Laura Baker

Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) doesn’t have to mean relying on prescription anti-depressants to get through the long, cold winter. While prescription medication is helpful for many and necessary in some cases, natural, alternative treatment options can help you manage your disorder alone or act as a supplement to pharmaceutical treatment for better symptom management. You should always discuss your treatment regimen with your healthcare provider, but if you’re looking into alternative treatment options, here are a few to consider.

Treat Yourself to a Well-Timed Vacation

Sometimes, a little break from reality offers substantial relief from the depression and anxiety common in people struggling with SAD. If it’s in your budget, take a well-timed vacation and escape from the mundane aspects of daily life for a few days.

The key to making this technique work is to choose a sunny location destination, allowing you to spend a few glorious days basking in the bright, warm sunlight. Of course, a tropical vacation every winter may not always be in your budget. Fortunately, there are other options if hopping on a plane to the nearest tropical island won’t be happening this winter.

Give Light Therapy a Try

The shorter days in the winter – resulting in less exposure to natural sunlight – is believed to be one of the biggest contributing factors in the development of SAD. It only makes sense, then, that a technique such as light therapy can be an effective treatment option.

In fact, light therapy is one of the most common tactics used in the treatment of SAD, and it doesn’t involve medication. Instead, light therapy starts with just 10- or 15-minute sessions (though your doctor may recommend 30 minutes or more) of exposure to full-spectrum lights.

Commit to a Regular Exercise Program

Don’t feel like dragging yourself out of the house and braving the cold to get to your local fitness center? No problem. You need only a few essentials to equip a gym in the comfort of your home. Purchase a few tools such as a yoga mat, a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, a balance trainer, and a set of resistance bands to make getting a full-body workout as easy as walking down the hall. That said, if you find that you’re feeling a little cramped and isolated during winter weather and the roads are clear, finding a local indoor pool is a great exercise option. In addition to simply swimming laps, there are tons of great ways to get fit in the pool and taking a dip may give you the taste of summer you sorely need.

Consider Psychotherapy

SAD is caused by physiological disruptions (chemical imbalances in the brain), but that doesn’t mean that psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy) can’t be a viable treatment option. Many people with SAD fall into negative thought patterns and behaviors as a result of their disorder which only serve to exacerbate their symptoms. That’s precisely where psychotherapy comes in, offering patients help in shifting their thought patterns and breaking problematic behaviors for better symptom control.

Create an Environment That Brightens Your Mood

You may even be able to get some relief by creating the right environment in your home or office. Choosing certain color combinations, for instance, such as a color scheme including rich yellows, reds, and oranges, can have a mood-enhancing effect for some people. Eat a healthy diet with foods rich in these colors as well to reap the benefits of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.

You can swap out the lights in your bathroom, kitchen, and other areas of the home (and your office, too) for full-spectrum lighting options to give yourself a boost of exposure first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Finally, consider aromatherapy and essential oils for full ambiance. Jasmine, citrus oils such as lemon and orange, basil, lavender, rose, and geranium are just a few of the essential oils and fragrances believed to have antidepressant or mood-boosting effects.

Living with SAD doesn’t have to mean being depressed and anxious throughout the winter months. While medication is helpful and necessary for some people living with the disorder, there are a variety of natural and alternative options that can help you better manage your SAD, whether you’re supplementing or replacing prescription treatment options. Always discuss your treatment plans with your healthcare provider to ensure that you’re not experimenting with any treatments that could potentially be detrimental to your well-being.

 

 

 

 

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Dating Red Flags-Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Dating Red Flags

Relationships bring companionship and love into people’s lives. However, not all relationships are healthy and there are quite a few red flags you should keep an eye out for when dating. It is important to know the boundaries between a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Here are common dating red flags you should be aware of:

  1. Listen to how they speak about past relationships.

If your partner speaks very highly of their ex or if they constantly talk poorly about them, It can be a sign that they are still invested in their past relationship or that they are a bitter person.

  1. Is your partner proud of you?

If they never bring you around their friends or their friends still don’t know who you are, it could be they are ashamed of you or the relationship. Either way don’t ignore your instict on this one.

  1. Keeping score constantly.

Someone who constantly keeps score of who did what in a relationship is probably someone who often tries to guilt trip others. Keeping score will quickly build anger and resent in a relationship.

  1. Your partner uses sex for gain.

Someone who uses sex as a reward or withholds it as a punishment is manipulative. This is manipulation and over steps all boundaries a relationship should follow.

  1. They never put effort into the relationship.

It is obvious whether someone wants to be with another person. If you are feeling pretty one-side in a relationship, it won’t be healthy for you to stick around with someone who will leave once something “better” comes along.

  1. Your partner cannot apologize.

Everyone makes a mistake now and again, but the mature thing to do is accept your faults, apologize, and move on. If your partner can neither apologize or accept you’ve made a mistake, run.

  1. If you argue, they get hurtful.

People tend to disagree, that’s normal. What is NOT normal is when someone who says they love you brings up hurtful comments if you get into a disagreement. Red flags like this one can signal abuse.

  1. They are violent.

If you are disagreeing or just going about your business and your partner is verbally, emotionally, or physically violent, no matter what you did, you did not deserve it. It is difficult to get out of a situation like this but you will be much safer once you are free.

  1. They always attempt to change who you are.

Constantly overstepping boundaries by trying to change the person you are is not okay. The person you are with should be with you because they like the person you are, not to mold you into someone else.

  1. They don’t listen to you.

Whether you are trying to tell them you like your food cooked a different way or something else entirely, your partner should listen and take the feedback well. If your partner gets mad that you are trying to tell them something, that’s a bad sign.

  1. Listen to the way they speak.

If you are always hearing them using “My/Me/I” statements and never using “We/US”, they probably don’t see a future with you; on the other hand, they could just be nervous you don’t feel the same way.

  1. They always guilt you into doing things.

Whether they try to guilt you into having sex or spending time with them, you need to set boundaries up really quickly.

  1. They attempt to control every aspect of your life.

It is one thing to help someone when asked but it is an entirely other thing when a significant other tries to tell you exactly what to do.

  1. They are always flaking out on you.

This stands true especially when you first start dating. If you make plans and they are always cancelling last minute, you probably are not high on their priority list.

  1. Your loved ones don’t like them.

Your loved ones look out for you and they know you well. If these people who get along with you and are close to you don’t like the person you are with, they may not be the right one for you.

Chances are, if you searched for this article, you could be in an unhealthy relationship. Your subconscious picks up on signals you might not even notice and can lead you to find out more. If you are in an unsafe or doomed relationship, it is okay to get out. You deserve dating someone who will put effort into being with you and that actually enjoys spending time with you as much as you enjoy spending time with them. Love doesn’t have to hurt.

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People Pleasure-Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Stop Being A People Pleaser

It is not hard to find personality tests online (some of them abridged versions of the scientifically well-regarded Meyers-Briggs personality test and others “just for fun” quizzes) to determine whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, and it is also easy to find quizzes showing how high you score on the “big five” personality traits, namely conscientiousness, neuroticism (having strong emotional responses to stress), agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience.  Being a people pleaser is a harder personality trait to measure, and letting your people pleasing tendencies get the better of you can negatively affect your happiness and your interpersonal relationships.

First, the good news.  People pleasing tendencies are rooted, to some extent, in empathy and altruism.  If you are a people pleasure, you understand that there is more to life than simply the pursuit of your own pleasure.  People pleasers run into trouble, however, when they base their happiness on how people respond to them.  They depend on other people too much for external validation instead of depending on their own self-esteem and looking objectively at what is fair in interpersonal relationships.  People pleasers are usually insecure, and it is easy for selfish people to take advantage of them.  For example, people pleasers often take on a disproportionate share of the work in exchange for their co-workers’ approval.  Their co-workers give them little in return, sometimes not even saying thank you, which leaves the person feeling even more insecure and lonely.  It can lead to a vicious cycle where people pleasers work harder and harder to gain acceptance, but others see them as weak.  Being a people pleaser in your family relationships is an even greater source of stress.

Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Fortunately, it is possible to break the cycle of people pleasing behavior.  It requires a bit of effort if your people pleasing habits are deeply ingrained.  If you ask your friends how to stop being a people pleaser, they will tell you that you have to learn to say “no” without feeling guilty and not automatically accept every request that people ask of you, such that you become overburdened with obligations.  If you are actually a people pleaser, you know that it is very intimidating to say “no”.  These are some things to do to find a way to refuse requests without feeling guilty, to become less of a people pleaser, thus improving your self-esteem and your relationships with the people in your life.

1 Decide Which Obligations Are Most Important

It is not possible to do every single thing that everyone in your life wants you to do.  Separate the needs from the wants.  If you look realistically at your responsibilities, you will see that there are lots of important things you need to do before even considering additional requests.  When you say that your schedule is full, you are being honest.

When choosing between two obligations, choose the one that will have the most long-term benefit for the most people.  For example, if you have to choose between covering your co-worker’s shift and babysitting your cousin’s kids on your day off, taking the extra shift might be the best option as you will make extra money and leave a positive impact at work.

2 Understand That the World Does Not Revolve Around You

People will try to make you feel guilty and say that only you can help them, but this is just a guilt trip.  To continue the above example, your cousin will be able to find someone else to babysit her kids; you are not the only adult she knows.  Worst case scenario, her neighbors might grumble about the babysitting obligations, she might have to pay a babysitter, or she might be a little late to work waiting for the babysitter to arrive, but it is not the end of the world.

3 Practice Self-Care

Do not be afraid to make time to do things that make you healthy and happy.  You can practice self-care by making time to go to the gym, for example, even if it means saying no to some requests from people in your life.  Another way to practice self-care is, after you have ended a phone call by saying “no” and the guilty thoughts are starting to creep in, reminding yourself of how much you actually have helped people recently.  Maybe you did not give your neighbor a ride to the grocery store today when she asked, but you did give her a ride last week.  Maybe you did not attend an after-work happy hour because you decided to go to the gym instead, but you have lost five pounds since you started working out.  In other words, count your accomplishments, not the things you fail to do.

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Burn out-Confident Counseling Northborough Ma

Signs Of Burn Out

Signs of Burn Out and How to Fix It

Many people suffer from too much stress and often begin feeling helpless, exhausted, and very unhappy. These are all signs pointing to being burned out. In this state, things will often seem pointless and bleak and your energy levels will be at an all-time low. There is hope though, burn out is not the end all, be all.

What is Burn Out?

In the simplest terms, it is the state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion by too much stress for too long. If you have felt overwhelmed and like you are unable to keep up, you are at risk of becoming burned out. As your stress builds up, your energy and will to overcome it lessens. Your productivity and energy will be gone and you may feel depressed. Everyone has bad days here and there, but if every day feels like a bad day, you are probably suffering from being burned out.

What are the Signs of Burn Out?

Emotional Symptoms

  • If you have stopped even attempting to care about what you usually love doing or things that need done.
  • Instead of having one or two bad days every now and then, every day is a struggle that never seems to end.
  • Feeling helpless, having self-doubt, or feelings of being a failure.
  • Feeling trapped and defeated.
  • Suddenly feeling like nothing truly matters and emotionally and mentally detaching from the rest of the world.
  • Loss of will and motivation.
  • An increased bleak perspective on the world.
  • Decreased levels of joy, happiness, and pride.

Physical Symptoms

  • Feeling very fatigued the majority of the time.
  • Becoming sick more often than usual.
  • Lots of body aches and headaches.
  • Changes in appetite or changes to your normal sleep patterns.

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Ignoring responsibilities and procrastinating.
  • Removing yourself from others and staying in isolation.
  • Procrastinating or just not completing things because it takes too much energy.
  • Using things like food or drugs as a coping mechanism.
  • Using others to take your frustrations out on.
  • Deciding not to come into work, deciding to leave early or come in late just because you want to.

How Can I Fix Having Burn Out?

Use the “Three R” method to start dealing with your burn out problems.

  1. The first step is to Recognize. You need to actually step back and recognize if you are suffering from being burned out.
  2. The second step is to Reverse. You need to undo the damage that has been done by the mountain of stress. Manage the stress you’ve been dealing with and seek the support you need.
  3. The third step is Resilience. Start taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health to avoid any future burn outs.

There are also a few other ways to start your recovery from this mental state. Sometimes it is already too late to prevent this exhaustion and you have passed your breaking point. If you try to force yourself through it instead of taking the time you need, you will only make it worse.

  1. Slow Down!

Once you’ve passed your breaking point, simply trying to force your attitude to change or looking after your physical health won’t be enough to fully bring you back. You need to take a break and let yourself calm down before you start trying to tackle anything else. Give your mind and body some time to rest and recuperate.

  1. Get Some Emotional Support.

Don’t isolate yourself from the rest of the world, it won’t help. Your friends and family are going to be a very big part of your healing process and they will help you to get better. It can really and truly help to let someone else know how you’re feeling without expecting them to try to fix your problems. Make sure you are going to be talking to someone who knows how to listen and won’t automatically fault you for feeling the way you are.

  1. Reevaluate Yourself.

When you’ve passed your breaking point, you know something in your life is not working the way it should. It is a good time to go over your goals and the things you have in life. Is there something you feel like you aren’t doing that’s making you unhappy? Take the time it takes to figure out what set you off.

  1. Face Your Problems Head On.

You probably got way too stressed out because you were avoiding the problems in your life and not addressing them with a plan on how to fix them. Take the active route instead of the passive route in the future and you’ll begin to feel less helpless and more powerful in your everyday life.

Being burned out is a serious problem and it is one you should never be ashamed of. If you have felt helpless and trapped, take a step back and try to figure out why you’ve been feeling this way, then try to do something about it.

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Dealing with Intrusive House Guests Assertiveness- Confident Counseling

Dealing with Intrusive House Guests

Intrusions from carefree guests can be very stressful. It seems like everybody knows, at least, one person that wears out their welcome after a get-together or comes to stay a week and is still there 2 weeks later. Some people can take advantage of a friendship and never display an ounce of guilt or remorse. When this happens to you there are 3 ways you can react. You can be too passive and let the guest take advantage of your kindness. You can also be too aggressive and bring the friendship to a screeching halt or you can be assertive and cope with the problem in a positive and proactive way. Assertiveness is crucial in dealing with intrusive house guests.

Plan & Prepare – The easy way out would be to never invite a potential intrusive guest to a party or for an extended stay in your home. The truth is, you might actually like the person when they are not overstaying their welcome. They might be funny, fun to be with, and a good friend for the most part. However, even the best of friends can clash when boundaries are not drawn and avenues for friction are left wide open and unattended. Whether this person has been invited for a short get together or is coming for an extended visit, prepare for their arrival and have a plan in place to prevent the inevitable.

Establishing Ground Rules – There is a good reason rules exist. They are there to keep things under control. Some people are afraid to set ground rules prior to a planned event because they don’t want to hurt feelings or seem like a “party pooper”. It seems no one wants to be that type of host, but if you don’t pursue this course of action, you are asking for your area to be intruded upon. When boundaries are not set situations can get out of control. Some guests can perceive “no rules” as “anything goes.” Sure, we would like to believe that everyone we know will always be respectful and considerate when invited into our home, but unfortunately, reality tells us something different.

You can prevent guest visits from becoming intrusions by setting the rules prior or at the start of the event. Sometimes it is easier to explain the rules to the entire group so no one feels singled out. Once all the guests have arrived gather them together and make a quick speech. The process does not need to take long, but it needs to be clear and direct. Let everyone know that when the party ends everyone goes home. If there are areas of the home that are off limit; let it be known at this time. If you have spent your hard-earned money on a beautiful carpet or new furniture, ask everyone to be careful. Establishing clear ground rules takes assertiveness, but it can save you unnecessary stress in the long run.

Don’t Be a Doormat – Nobody should voluntarily want to be treated like a “doormat.” But you know the old saying, “nice guys finish last.” There is nothing wrong with being nice, but you cannot allow some people to mistake “kindness” for “weakness.” Just like a wolf, lion or tiger zeros in on the weakling in the herd; the intrusive guest could take advantage of your weakness and move in for the proverbial kill. Your inability to say “no” or to “draw a line in the sand” on specific issues may be perceived as permission to proceed guilt-free. It is imperative that you stand up for yourself and your home against guest intrusions.

The Clear & Direct Approach – Assertiveness is considered to be the ability to express your feelings in a direct, clear, and effective way. It is about standing up for what you want and believe. You can accomplish these goals and still respect the rights of your guest. You can handle guest intrusions while still being proactive and positive. Let’s assume you are letting a friend or relative bunk at your house until they can find a job and their own place to live. It is good to be in a position to help, but boundaries must be set to keep the stay from being “open-ended.” If you simply say the guest can stay until they obtain their goals; they might take it as permission to stay as long as needed.

Let your guest know from the start what you expect. For example, you can ask them to clean up after the mess they make. You should set a time limit on their stay or simply let them move in and forget about it. Unless the guest is only staying a night or two, a different set of boundaries must be set. An extended visit of this type is not a vacation. The guest should be treated respectfully, but their amenities should be more controlled and limited. Visits turn into intrusions when the host lacks assertiveness.

The rules of mutual respect can be observed, but be firm on your objectives. A true friend will not overstep their boundaries unless they assume that none exist. Prepare and address guest intrusions with an honest straightforward approach. There is no stress-free alternative to assertiveness in this scenario.

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The Love Dare-Unconditional Love Couples Counseling Confident Counseling Couples Counseling Northborough MA

When an Introvert and an Extrovert Date

They say opposites attract. But do they stay together and how do they make it work? According to one study, introverts make up about 30-50 percent of the population. The odds of an introvert and an extrovert dating is pretty high. Click here to learn more about what the differences between an extrovert and an introvert are. An extrovert regains energy from social interaction while an introvert recharges by being alone in their own heads. You can imagine that this poses several challenges for relationships where both partners have a differing need for social engagement. Here are few tips for couples struggling with these differences.

Understand your differences

The first important step for any partner in this type of relationship is to learn as much about their significant other’s personality. The more you understand how their personality trait impacts your relationship the greater the chance that you will be understanding and less likely to take their differences personally. For an extrovert, it is easy to think their introverted partner is “strange” or antisocial living in a world that idolizes extraversion. For an introvert, having a partner who wants the company of others can feel overwhelming and like rejection. As Francis Bacon said, “knowledge is power” and in this case it will give your relationship the power to reduce conflict.

Compromise and Balance

Ok so now both you and your partner understand each other better, but now what? You both still need a different amount of social interaction and alone time. The next step is to learn how to compromise so that both your needs are met. It is helpful for an introvert to have as much notice as possible about upcoming social events. For the last-minute plans, an introvert will appreciate having a predetermined time that the outing will end. For extroverts, it will be helpful for introverts to welcome extended outings without time limits. For this to work the introvert will benefit from staying home as the extroverts spends extended periods with others. The importance is about having balance to decrease resentment.

Acceptance

The most important step is learning how to accept your partner for who they are. It doesn’t help thinking of your partner as abnormal when introversion/extraversion is a personality trait that can’t be unlearned or changed. Instead harness the strengths you both bring to the table. Introverts are natural listeners and excel at deep one on one conversations. They are usually highly creative and are thorough in making decisions. Extroverts are excellent speakers and have a tendency to take risks. They are socially engaged and oftentimes the life of the party. Understanding these differences will allow you to use them at the best opportunities for optimal success.

After following these steps, you should have a greater sense of compassion and love for your partner. If the conflict is too great, please reach out to a professional who can assess and create a plan for addressing your concerns.

 

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Impostor Syndrome-Do you feel like a fraud? Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Impostor Syndrome-Do you feel like a fraud?

It’s the first day of your new job and you’re excited yet nervous for all that lies ahead. Here you are. You worked hard, probably even over-prepared for this moment, yet you immediately worry that everyone will find out you really don’t belong here. Even though you didn’t lie on your resume, you feel you don’t deserve this. How can they possibly believe you do?

You feel like you fooled everyone into thinking you’re competent, like you “tricked” them. Does this sound familiar? During a moment of success have you doubted yourself or felt that it wasn’t a big deal? It is extremely frustrating to go through moments like this especially when you see others placing confidence in you while you feel like a “fake.” You’re always on the guard, worried that others will “find you out” and realize you’re not worthy.

This phenomenon, Impostor Syndrome is common in perfectionists and overachievers who aren’t able to internalize and accept their success. These people have unrealistically high standards for themselves that it is difficult to meet their own goals. Even when they do reach them, they are more prone to attribute their success to luck than their own skills. This type of intellectual self-doubt is often paired with anxiety and/or depression.

Many people who feel like impostors grew up in families that placed a big emphasis on achievement. Specifically, parents who send mixed messages by alternating between over-praise and criticism can increase the risk of fraudulent feelings developing. Living in a society that focuses on achievements adds to the problem. The result is confusion between approval, love, and worthiness. Self-worth becomes on achieving.

Those struggling with Impostor Syndrome may avoid applying for promotions, for more responsibility and suffer from higher stress. How can you break this pattern?

Challenge your thoughts

You will discover that at the root of your self-doubt is a negative core belief that you’re not good enough. Ask yourself, when will I ever be good enough? What does good enough mean? Challenge this negative thought by finding evidence in favor of it and against it. It helps to ask yourself would I think this of a love one if they were in my shoes? If the answer is no, then ask yourself why you think this way of yourself.

Accept imperfection

Recognize that nobody is perfect. Practice letting go of high standards by doing a “good enough” job and walking away. Make time to appreciate your hard work and create rewards for yourself for completed tasks.

Recognize your strengths

List out the skills you have and learn to accept that you are good at certain things which have value. Yes, there will always be someone better at something, however that doesn’t make your strengths any less important because they are unique to you.

Talk to others about this

Being open and sharing this struggle with those you trust is a way to create awareness for others. They may even help you recognize when you’re engaging thoughts of self-doubt that need challenging. If it is difficult to work on this on your own, consider contacting a counselor to learn skills and challenge negative thinking pattern together. If you struggle with anxiety and depression, a professional will teach you how to cope in a healthy and effective way.

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Parenting Introverted Teenagers- Self-Esteem & Body Image Counseling for Couples and Teens-Confident Counseling Northborough MA

Parenting introverted teenagers

Parenting a teenager is already hard enough. It becomes even more challenging when their personality is different from the norm. Our society favors extrovert traits. From everything from advertising, the political sector, to classroom settings, and work environments extroverts have the advantage. In the classroom, group projects are common as well as speaking out loud in front of the class for grades. The same goes for the work environment. Group meetings are commonplace and those that speak up get the floor over those that take time to think things over quietly by themselves. Cubicles are seen to be the norm for many fields which promote constant collaboration over individual introspection.

It’s crucial that as a parent you learn how to parent your introverted teenager effectively by taking the following steps. 

Learn about introversion

I previously wrote an article discussing what introversion is and what the common personality traits here. You can read this article here. Don’t just stop there, continue doing research and it will pay off in the end. You’ll understand what makes your teen tick and why they tend to respond the way they do. You will be less likely to see their behavior as abnormal and fear for depression. It’s common for parents to confuse their child’s normal behavior as a sign of depression. That’s not to say that they aren’t depressed. Since introversion is a personality trait they way they respond will not change based on fluctuations in the situation. Whereas depression is a marked change in behavior.

For example, if your child is normally outgoing and extremely social then any isolating behavior is a sign for concern as that is not typical behavior. An introverted teen would already be less social and be by themselves in their room even when nothing particularly stressful has happened. If they start to display extreme changes in their behavior or stop doing things they used to enjoy, then that is a sign for concern as well. If you aren’t sure, it won’t hurt to get a professional evaluation for your child. 

Introverts naturally need time alone to recharge. Social interactions, especially with strangers, drain mental energy which is why your introvert may start to disengage, get really quiet, and even become irritable after long periods of social activity. Parents may interpret this as a disrespectful behavior and a sign of rejection, when really they need time alone to “recharge”. In families with lots of younger children, it is helpful for your introvert to have the ability to be alone when they need to recharge as they may tolerate less stimulation.

Talk to your child about what you learn

After you’ve done some reading about introversion and the common traits, talk to your teen about it. This is helpful because it creates conversation around it and decreases any negative stigma your child might have felt. Unfortunately this society favors extroverts and so many introverts feel like there is something wrong with them for not conforming so easily. It’s important to understand what introversion looks like for your teen in particular. Personality traits lie on a spectrum and so your child will be able to tell you where they lie on that continuum.

Accept them

As a parent, it’s understandable to worry that there might be something wrong with your teenager since they aren’t conforming to what is viewed as “normal”. Now that you’ve learned about introversion and talked to your teen about it, the last thing is to accept them for who they are. Understand that they aren’t “weird” or “broken”.They in fact are normal. Introversion isn’t something they will grow out of. Instead encourage them to listen to their bodies when it’s telling them they need to recharge for self-care. You can also help them harness their strengths such as their ability for thoughtful in their decision-making and their excellent listening skills. Remind them that introverts and extroverts compliment each other.

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