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How To Cope With Anxiety Revolving Around Adulting

How To Cope With Anxiety Revolving Around Adulting

Ah, adulthood – the realm of bills, responsibilities, and decision-making. While it’s liberating to have control over your life, the journey into adulthood often comes with a side dish of anxiety. The overwhelming sense of responsibility and the fear of making the wrong choices can leave even the most confident individuals feeling uneasy.

If you are getting ready to venture out on your own for the first time, you don’t have to let your worries overcome you. Here is how to deal with anxiety over adulting.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

First and foremost, it’s crucial to recognize and acknowledge your feelings. Adulting can be tough, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Give yourself permission to experience these emotions without judgment. Remember, you’re not alone in this; many of your peers are likely
struggling with similar feelings.

Break it Down

One effective way to tackle the anxiety around adulting is to break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Whether it’s setting up a budget, navigating insurance paperwork, or even just grocery shopping, breaking tasks into smaller chunks can make them feel less daunting. Create a to-do list and celebrate each small accomplishment – it’s a great way to build momentum.

Prioritize Self-Care

Amidst the chaos of adulting, it’s easy to neglect self-care. However, taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for managing anxiety. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and incorporating activities you enjoy into your routine. Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or practicing mindfulness, these moments of selfcare can significantly reduce anxiety.

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations for yourself is key to managing anxiety around adulting. Understand that no one has it all figured out, and it’s okay to ask for help. Avoid the pressure to have your life completely mapped out – life is unpredictable, and plans may change. Give yourself the flexibility to adapt to new opportunities and challenges as they arise.

Financial Literacy

One major source of anxiety in adulthood is often tied to finances. Taking the time to educate yourself about budgeting, saving, and investing can significantly reduce this stress. There are numerous resources available, from online courses to personal finance apps, that can help you build a solid financial foundation. Remember, small steps today can lead to a more secure financial future.

Celebrate Small Wins

In the hustle and bustle of adulting, it’s easy to overlook your achievements, no matter how small. Take a moment to celebrate your successes, whether it’s sticking to a budget, conquering a new skill, or successfully navigating a complex task. Acknowledging your accomplishments, no matter how minor, can boost your confidence and help alleviate anxiety.

Seek Guidance

It’s perfectly fine not to have all the answers. Seeking guidance from mentors, friends, or even professionals can provide valuable insights. Establishing a support system can be immensely comforting and can help you gain different perspectives on various adulting challenges. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust when you’re feeling lost.

Adulting may come with its fair share of challenges, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can navigate this phase of life with grace and resilience. If you are struggling to deal with anxiety about adulting, reach out to learn more about therapy for young adults. Take a deep breath, and let the journey into adulthood be a path of growth and self-discovery. You’ve got this!

Violence in Teen Dating Relationships

Violence in Teen Dating Relationships

Violence in teen dating relationships is more common than you might think. Image Credit: David Castillo Dominici at

Violence in teen dating relationships is more common than you might think.
Image Credit: David Castillo Dominici at

It’s scary, but true.  On occasion a teenager gets into a violent dating relationship.  We all tell our kids that if anyone ever lays a hand on them, the relationship should instantly be over.  However, teens are susceptible to the belief that someone can change.

Recently I worked with a client who consistently dealt with this very issue.  After a few instances of telling me that he promised he’d be different, and then breaking that promise, she finally ended it.  However, she continued to “protect” him even after things were over.  She felt so ashamed that she had let things go on like that, that she still didn’t want to tell her parents he had been hurting her.  She also didn’t want them to hate him.

It’s really easy to judge someone who gets into this situation.  It’s easy to assume your son or daughter would never fall prey to abuse in a dating relationship.  However, that’s a misunderstanding of how this situation arises.

Abuse doesn’t usually occur out of the blue.  It starts with your teenager dating someone who is intensely interested in him or her.  They want to spend tons and tons of time together.  After a little while it becomes apparent that your teen’s boy/girlfriend gets pouty or angry when your child wants to see their friends.  Before you know it, your teenager doesn’t see their friends anymore.  Then you notice your teen has a lot of arguments with their significant other.  The boy/girlfriend is quick to apologize, but has said some harsh things first.  Most of the time your teen seems happy in the relationship, but when they argue, it’s extremely intense.  That’s when the abuse starts.  Both the abuser and the victim seem surprised the first time it happens.  They both agree it will never, ever happen again.  Things are great afterward so your teenager actually believes this, despite everything you’ve ever mentioned to them about abuse in a relationship.  Besides, they’ve lost contact with all their friends, so they fall victim to the lie that they would be completely alone without this other person.

You and I both know without this other person they would re-establish their friendships, feel less anxiety, become social again, and overall feel a lot happier.  It’s pretty challenging to convince your teenager of this though.

As Mom or Dad you can help your teenager stay aware that relationship violence does occur in teen dating relationships.  You can stay very on top of their relationship.  Strongly encourage your child to maintain their friendships as well, and do a lot of their dating in groups.  Watch their moods.  If they are morose sometimes it’s worth checking to see if it’s related to their dating relationship.  If you see your teenager isolating from you, that is also cause for concern.  Also, if you notice bruises on your teenager, this is major cause for concern.  Adolescents do get bruises in sports, from running into things, etc., but consistent bruising is a huge red flag.

Being a parent is scary sometimes, and incredibly challenging.  I don’t mean to give you one other thing to worry about, but I do want you to have an awareness that abusive teen dating relationships exist.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

Getting Out of a Bad Relationship

Getting Out of a Bad Relationship

You know you should break up with him. You know he’s not a good human. You know you’re lonely/unhappy/depressed with him. Why can’t you end it? You ask yourself this on a regular basis. Your friends and family hate the relationship. Sigh. It’s so hard.

If you know you should get out, but you can’t bring yourself to do it, here is some great advice on how to start:

Disclaimer #1: If your bad relationship is violent and/or dangerous in some other way, this advice doesn’t apply to you because you don’t have time to take baby steps. Please take what feels like a drastic step and do whatever is necessary to preserve your safety such as calling the police or contacting a battered women’s shelter.

Disclaimer #2: While I speak in a way that directs this towards females, this advice is for males too.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

Bad Relationship, Bad Emotional State

Bad Relationship, Bad Emotional State

Ryan…oh Ryan. I so badly wanted you to make me first. I so badly wanted you to dedicate yourself to me the way I was dedicating myself to you. Instead you dangled the carrot just enough to keep me hanging on. I was never in first place. There was always the promise I would be after “just this one more thing,” but I never was. My emotions in reaction built from confusion to anxiety to sadness to desperation to resentment to strength.

Any good therapist could have diagnosed me as depressed or anxious; they would have been wrong. I learned from you being in a relationship that didn’t feed me and didn’t honor God led to the emotional experience of depression and anxiety. I thank you now for this troublesome time in my life because I better understand my clients. The number of lovely young women and young men I meet with who seem depression and anxious, but are feeling that way because of a bad relationship is staggering. They always ask the chicken or the egg question, but it is answered when they cut the anchor. Once they let go of their Ryan, they almost always feel a significant improvement in their mental health.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

How to End a Codependent Relationship

How to End a Codependent Relationship

Codependence is emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually exhausting.

Codependence is emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually exhausting.

Ending a relationship in which you get a lot of your value from helping someone who does not necessarily want help is a huge challenge.  You believe this person would fall apart without you.  They might tell you things like, “I will kill myself if you ever break up with me,” or “The only reason I don’t use drugs again is because you keep me sober.”  However, their behavior is still very unhealthy and you are completely caught in it.

When you finally decide it’s time to get out of the relationship you need to realize 6 very, very important things:

1. You have value to this world whether or not you are associating with this person.  There are many, many people who love you and think you are worth a million bucks just because you’re you.  You don’t have to earn their love.

2. When you end the codependent relationship, whatever actions the other person takes are not your fault.  If the person goes on a bender and then blows up your phone with texts that tell you it’s your fault, you HAVE to remember that it isn’t your fault.  You are never, ever responsible for what someone else chooses to do.  You didn’t hold a gun to their head.

3.  You’ve been manipulated for a long time.  You are so used to hearing that you’re a piece of garbage when you don’t do whatever the other person wants, and then that you are a savior whenever you show up and save them from themselves.  It’s really hard to get used to just being responsible for yourself.

4.  It is imperative that you cut off contact for awhile, and maybe indefinitely.  Even though you are making a healthy choice for yourself, if you get a call that they are thinking about suicide, your heartstrings will be pulled, forcefully.  You will want to rush into the situation and save them again.  It is really hard to resist.  However, if you give in you will be completely entrapped again.

5. Focus on what you mean to do with your life.  Write down the ways you have given up things you shouldn’t have just to keep this other person sane.  Write down money you shouldn’t have spent, lies you shouldn’t have told, friend you shouldn’t have lost, trust you shouldn’t have broken, etc.  On the other side of the paper write down who you were before this person affected you so deeply.  This is who you can be again if you stay away from the toxicity of a codependent relationship.

6.  Most threats are idle threats just to get you back.  For the most part if you stop responding to these desperate pleas for help, someone else will step in.  This person has always come to you because you have had poor boundaries with them.

There are two really good, emotionally safe places to go if you struggle with codependent thinking and behavior.  The first is Alanon.  This is a great place to go if someone you are close with is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you have helped enable their addiction.  The second is CODA, which stands for Codependents Anonymous.  This is for anyone with any codependent behavior, whether it is being “too” helpful to someone with a drug problem or “too” helpful to someone with mental illness, etc.

If you’re a young adult and you’re reading this, we have some therapists on staff who are able to provide you additional support as you work through this. We know it’s not easy.

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT