For a lot of teens who struggle with depression and hopelessness, they come up with feel-good myths to make themselves feel better, whether or not they believe they are true. These affirmations may sound optimistic, but it can be difficult to accept them as personally relevant. Adopting a realistic positive mindset, rather than an idealistic one, helps reduce symptoms of depression as it encourages young adults to build an internal locus of control.
Why Feel-Good Myths Aren’t Always Effective
The problem with feel-good myths are not the messages they convey. In fact, many of them are useful lessons in letting go, self-acceptance, and slowing down. However, instead of challenging some of their negative beliefs, most feel-good myths suggest that experiences in your life are out of your control and will happen as they’re meant to happen. For young adults who are angry about and overwhelmed by negatives situations in their lives that feel out of control, this can sometimes sound discouraging.
Examples of feel-good myths:
- Everything will be fine.
- Things will work out (on their own).
- Everything happens for a reason.
- Once this happens, everything will finally be perfect!
After leaving a residential treatment center, many teens feel confident that they have resolved their issues and can transition back to familiar environments smoothly, but don’t prepare for conflicts that may arise. While they feel more prepared and capable than they did before treatment, they set high expectations for themselves. Managing symptoms of depression and anxiety isn’t a quick fix and it’s normal for these feelings to reappear when they believed they were doing well.
Steps to Taking a More Realistic Perspective
- Validate your experiences. Everything will be fine, if you begin to recognize that your responses to negative situations have been valid. While experiences are shaped by attitudes and reactions, it is valid to feel hopeless and anxious in situations.
- Set multiple-short term goals to help these “myths” come true. Everything will work out, if you do the work. While many negative emotions are temporary and intense emotions fade, your circumstances will change when you start to do something different. Starting with smaller, concrete personal goals helps you create a more successful future.
- Listen to what your experiences may be telling you. Everything happens for a reason, but it’s up to you to decide what that reason might be. Instead of being ashamed of negative experiences, consider what they have taught you. Looking at your personal values helps you make choices that are consistent with them. This may influence academic goals, personal goals, and possible career paths.
- Celebrate your successes. Once you accomplish a goal, everything will finally be perfect, if you show gratitude for how hard you’ve worked. While setting goals can be great motivators, they can create high expectations that may not be possible. Expecting these goals to bring happiness isn’t always realistic. There are many other factors that help you feel more comfortable and content with where you are.
Journey Home Can Help
Journey Home is a transitional living program for girls and assigned female at birth ages 16-21 that have graduated from a residential treatment center or wilderness therapy. We are the perfect fit for teens who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success. Journey Home blends a traditional home setting with positive peer and staff relationships. We believe in the value of good health and healthy hobbies in promoting future success.
For more information, call 801-444-0794 . We can help your family today!