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Burning Off the Deadwood: Purification by Destruction

A fire can destroy some parts of a forest while also opening room for more growth. We may have long-held beliefs, thoughts, or actions, that are like deadwood or brush on a forest floor. When we rid ourselves of these things, we can begin to grow in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Some of our current actions and behaviors can be holding us back. We may have thoughts or beliefs that no longer seek to serve us. We may have coping mechanisms or ways of managing stress that are no longer conducive to our goals or our future. We may need to rid ourselves of these unhealthy habits to build a new way of life.

Common Self-Defeating Thoughts and Habits

We may find ourselves engaging in self-defeating thoughts and habits that have become more of a burden than a blessing. Parents of troubled teens may see their teens acting in ways that are against their own self-interests. They may see them do things that will not help them in the long-run. Here are some of the commonly held thoughts and habits that can hold kids back from finding happiness and healthy lifestyles:

Self-Defeating Thoughts

Self-defeating thoughts are often the result of low self-esteem. These thoughts create a cycle within those struggling with depression that continuously reinforces the negative thought pattern. Here are some common self-defeating thoughts:

“I’m not good enough.”

“No one likes me.”

“I’ll never be enough.”

“I don’t belong anywhere.”

“I’m not good at anything.”

“I don’t deserve happiness.”

“Why try anything new? I’m going to fail anyway.”

Self-Defeating Behaviors:

Comparing oneself to others (especially on social media!)

Social media apps, like Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram can make kids feel like they are missing out. The problem with a lot of social media apps is that most people post only things that others will like or admire. Like a highlight reel, people often only post pictures of themselves on vacations or at parties which may only be showing a small glimpse of their lives. Teens may not yet understand that social media posts do not tell the full story of a person’s daily life. 

Worrying about the future

Excessive worrying can take away our happiness in the moment. We may deprive ourselves of seeing what is great about the things in our surroundings or miss out on opportunities we can take right now. Teens struggling with depression may have an excess of worry about the future. 

Watching too much TV

Television can have a similar effect on teens as social media. They may see movie stars as unobtainable models of perfection. They may also be bombarded with negative news from around the world.

Eating junk foods

Junk foods or fast foods can also create a negative loop of self-defeat. We may feel good while eating the foods, however, the feeling is temporary and over time we may feel more lethargic or worse due to the lack of nutrition that these foods offer.

Ridding Ourselves of Bad Habits to Foster Growth

Where a forest fire can promote new growth by destroying dead wood and old brushes, a fire can also promote new plant and tree growth that were otherwise inhibited. When we are trying to help our teens get rid of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, we also foster a need for growth and change. Introducing teens to healthy habits help them rid themselves of bad behaviors. Try some of the following:

  1. Set a routine and schedule for the home. By scheduling fun activities, like board games or outings with teens, we can help them have fun in positive ways. Having a daily routine for the home, like set dinner and bedtimes, can help teens struggling with anxiety about unknown future events by allowing them to know what to expect. Scheduling activities in the home can also help keep kids away from social media and television.

  2. Eating healthy and nutritious meals. Planning meals can seem like a lot of work, however, when we do not plan, we open the door for junk or fast foods. Teaching kids to eat healthy and well-balanced meals will help them learn to keep away from unhealthy food choices.

  3. Go out of the way to point out the good things. Our kids may be doing great things that can go unnoticed. When our kids do something well or what we expect of them, we may be missing opportunities to positively reinforce their behavior. Be sure to look for the small things, like getting up on time, finishing homework, helping with chores, or being nice to siblings. Rewarding these behaviors does not need to be complex–sometimes a simple acknowledgment can go a long way! This may help kids build self-esteem and change their self-defeating thought patterns.

Finding new ways of behaving and thinking are some of the best ways to rid ourselves of unhealthy habits. Where getting rid of bad habits can be a crucial step to self-growth and change, we can also foster new habits and behaviors that can last a lifetime. Teens may be feeling pressured or depressed due to things in the media or on television. They may compare their lives to those of others and feel that happiness is unobtainable. By setting up a routine in your home, planning nutritious shared meals, and acknowledging small positive behaviors, you can go a long way in creating a happy and healthy household. Fire Mountain is here to help kids and their families live their best lives.

Call us today at (303) 443-3343.

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