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Is your glass half full, or glass half empty?

It is all about perception and that perception shapes the way we think, act and feel all day long.  In our practice, we see an overwhelming number of average and extremely high achievers suffering from depression and anxiety.  Why is that?  I am not a psychologist myself, but as a counsellor, there are a few factors that I can attribute to this in comparison to my world growing up as a teenager.  The main one is:

Comparison is everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.

Social media and the digital age has a lot to answer for here.  People are comparing themselves and their lives to “moments” in others.  The pressure on each and every one of us isn’t put on us, we put it on ourselves.  When working with my clients, often they are feeling in a career or life rut because they look at what other people are achieving, what car they drive and whether they own a house or not. And, who appears to have a better job than they do.  There has been a real generational shift here and in a future blog, we will look at Millennial’s and their shift in values.  This is why I also encourage parents not to put too much pressure on their teens to achieve what they did, in the same timeframe that they did (it is a different world now).   I constantly dish out this advice as if it were ice-cream on a hot day:

Don’t compare yourself to others, if you have to compare, compare yourself to you.  Where have you come from, what have you achieved, celebrate the small stuff!

With my own children, there is no doubt we could provide them whatever they want (within reason), whenever they want.  But we don’t.  Demands can be met instantaneously, it’s almost too easy.  We teach about what they have in comparison to other children, we try not to keep up with the Jones’s and keep life as simple as we can in this day and age.  We teach them about competitiveness, but in a way that we are talking about how they have personally improved, not that someone else did better than them.  My main message is, be careful with comparison, be careful with the negative.

If you or one of your teen’s is struggling with anxiety and negativity toward school, or you are not feeling the love in regard to your life and work,  I strongly encourage you to watch this short video.  Let it be a reminder about how we can re-programme ourselves almost instantaneously.