All of us, regardless of age, experience anxiety on a daily basis. Hopefully, as adults, we have learned healthy ways to cope with life’s daily stressors and can identify those times that call for when we need more, i.e. a job loss, relationship problems, a death, an illness, etc. If we’ve prepared well, we have the tools, resources, and supportive people ready and in place when we need them.
Attending high school gives teens ample opportunity, perhaps more than they’d like – on a daily basis – to practice coping skills managing different kinds of anxiety in numerous settings (social, academic, and personal.) While feeling anxiety from a low to moderate level can be unpleasant, it’s also beneficial. It helps teens in the short term: I’m worried about my chemistry test, so I’m going to increase my study time tonight. It’s beneficial in the longer run and helps teens build self-esteem: I’m proving to myself that while I only got a C- on my last test, I put forth extra effort and improved my grade to a C. These examples involve a real event. Anxiety can also involve a perceived event. For example: I perceive my friends don’t like me, so I’ll choose to start engaging with new peers who are more positive. Because anxiety develops from thinking about real or imagined events, almost any situation can set the stage for it to occur. While most children will experience some anxiety related to school and will cope well, some children experience excessive anxiety.
Bitterness and anger trapped inside your body- sound fun to you? The common practice of holding a grudge, or harboring negative emotions against someone who has wronged us, is poisonous both mentally and physically. So why do we do it? Even when the hurt feelings are justified, grudges only serve to hurt us further while doing nothing to solve the offense suffered or repair the damaged relationship. Here’s some steps you can take to release the ugly feelings, and move toward forgiveness and inner peace.
1. Sort through the emotion; get to the heart of what hurt you.
Before confronting another in anger, or determining you can never forgive them, find out if there are deeper issues involved. Perhaps the offender hit a deeper nerve they were not even aware of. There is an old writer’s motto that states, “I write because I don’t know how I feel until I read it.” Journaling out all the feelings involved in the offense, the grudge, and the reactions you are having might reveal other ways to look at things and release much of the pain, leaving room for forgiveness.
Husband, wife, friend, family member – your emotional style is a contributing factor in each and every life relationship. It determines the level and depth of your connection.
Therapist Julie A. Hanks, LCSW, Owner and Director of Wasatch Family Therapy, shares how to identify your emotional style and understand how it affects your relationships!
Have you ever noticed that you find yourself repeating relationship patterns, even if you don’t particularly like them? Do you find that you tend to feel similar emotions in your close relationships time and time again? We all have a unique style of relating to others that has its roots in our earliest relationship patterns. In our first few years of life our emotional world revolves around our family and parents (or caregivers). While these patterns aren’t set in stone they provide a default pattern for our emotional life and our relationships throughout life. It can be helpful for you to understand your relationship style so you can modify it when it causes distress or it no longer works for you. Identifying your style doesn’t mean that you are blaming your parents for the way you are. It can be helpful to understand your early relationships and how they impact your current emotions and relationship patterns so you can choose to make changes.
Which of the following best describes you?*
1) I want to be closer to others than they want to be. I worry that the people I love will leave me. When I share my true feelings it overwhelms others.
2) Others want to be closer to me than I am comfortable with. I’d rather depend on myself than on others. I prefer to keep my feelings to myself.
3) It’s easy for me to be close to others. I have many people that I can depend on. I can say directly how I feel and what I want in my relationships.
You want close relationships but often feel not good enough, fear abandonment, and feel overwhelmed by your emotions. You have a difficult time saying goodbye or being separated from loved ones.
You value independence more than close relationships, you have difficulty knowing and sharing your emotions and needs, and you prefer not to rely on others. Others regard you as somewhat distant.
You can easily develop emotionally close relationships, you feel deserving of love, and you recognize that saying “goodbye” is a natural part of relationships. You can express your emotions and needs directly in your relationships.
How to Develop a More CONFIDENT Relationship Style:
• Seek solitude
• Practice self-soothing
• Take emotional ‘step back’
• Seek consistent relationships
• Express feelings & needs
• Seek connections
• Practice self-awareness
• Take emotional risks
• Seek nurturing relationships
• Express feelings & needs
Quiz adapted from Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.
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