How to Banish Toxic Thoughts (The Big Secret That ACT Therapists Want You To Know)

How to Banish Toxic Thoughts (The Big Secret That ACT Therapists Want You To Know)

Recently, a journalist had reached out to therapists asking them for their top tips on how to banish toxic thoughts.

She had asked, for 2019, the top thoughts to banish and never think of again.

The problem? Banishing thoughts DOESN’T WORK!

From an acceptance and commitment therapy perspective, it’s actually a lot more useful to focus on allowing these thoughts to happen rather than banishing them.

You can let them pass you by, and come up with something that may feel more helpful, but telling a thought to STOP is like getting into a finger trap. The more and more you pull away, the tighter and tighter the thought holds on. 

When you fight a thought, you’re giving that thought so much more power than it actually has.

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How Much Privacy Should You Give Your Teen?

How Much Privacy Should You Give Your Teen?

How much privacy should you give your children, and how does this vary by age?

As your child gets older, you should increase the amount of privacy they have, while still monitoring what's going on. We need to teach our teenagers increased independence, and part of this involves increased responsibility and less checking in. However, if your teen is breaking agreed upon family rules about curfew or location, I do think it's ok for parents to supply a logical consequence: increased monitoring.

Should you let your children know about the tracking devices you put on their phones?

The fact of the matter is, kids and teens can be pretty good at hiding things if they don't trust you to handle the information the way they want you to. So rather than sneaking around, I encourage parents to be very upfront about privacy policies in their house.

This can involve rules like, "We'll put a tracker on your phone, and we'll monitor it once on the weekends." Or "We're allowed to check your texts each night at a set time."

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Helping Your Angry Teen Open Up

Helping Your Angry Teen Open Up

Most parents feel a little disconnected from their teen.

But that doesn't mean that your teenager should shut you out all the time, or that you shouldn't continue to make an effort to engage with them. There is a balance between giving them space to develop into the independent adults they'll become, and supporting their growth and development with regular check ins.

This can be especially difficult if your teen is often angry, at you and/or at others.

Below you'll find a few tips for helping your teen open up to you more, even if they have problems coping with their anger.

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Body Clues Activity: Emotional Expression and Identification for Anxious Kids

Body Clues Activity: Emotional Expression and Identification for Anxious Kids

Internal emotions and external expression:

We all experience emotions internally and express them in slightly different ways from one another. We all have our inside emotional experiences and our outside displays of frustration, anger, and sadness.

When we experience a spike in emotions, it helps us know we may need to take the time to Stop and Think, using our Wizard Brain. Otherwise, our Lizard Brain might take over, leading to an explosive reaction.

Our Lizard Brain wants to react right away (it is in charge of fight, flight, and freeze, of course) – so if you notice yourself feeling heated, your Lizard Brain may tell you that you should explode and yell. However, if you take the time to stop and think “will I get in trouble if I explode?” you can make a wise decision, even when you start feeling upset.

How to help kids clue into their emotions:

Draw an outline of a body. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Try to get a head and arms and legs in there, and call it good.

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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Generalized anxiety disorder is the diagnostic name for kids, teens, and adults who meet the criteria. Oftentimes people will say they have anxiety, or general anxiety, without quite meaning that they meet all of the criteria. You can find a screening tool* for kids and for adults put together by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (*which gives you information, but you will want to meet with a counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist for a true screening). 

What makes anxiety a disorder?

Generally speaking, an anxiety disorder gets in the way of your everyday life, and is harder to manage. It comes up in multiple environments, so home and school, or work and home. 

Physical symptoms of anxiety - your body clues:

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