CHICAGO (CBS) — Many people are struggling with the new normal. Missing out on important life events during the pandemic can be especially difficult for some teens and adults.
Dr. Sheela Raja, a clinical psychologist and author of PTSD Survival Guide for Teens, spoke with CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot for some insight.
Dr. Raja has some resources for those in need during the pandemic. She says resilience is often defined as the ability to get back to our daily routines, or in this case potentially create a new daily routine, after stressful situations. Post-traumatic growth is defined as the deeper psychological meaning and purpose that people may find after they experienced trauma. People are experiencing different things right now—from inconvenience and cabin fever, to genuine trauma from job loss or illness. If you are having reactions, you are aren’t alone. The resilience to find a new normal can take a while.
Raja says young people, especially teenagers who are missing so many milestones this month, like graduation, can learn a lot from resilient people.
Here are some of her tips:
- Express yourself. This is called emotional tolerance. Our tendency to push back against negative emotions actually tends to increase their intensity. It’s ok to be disappointed—just allow yourself to experience and express your emotions—don’t push them away. You may notice that negative emotions don’t last forever, instead they come and go like waves.
- Practice cognitive flexibility and gratitude. Look at your disappointment from various points of view. Most of the time, there are multiple ways of interpreting something. Is there another way of looking at this situation? Is there another solution that could also work? What are all my options? Is there any positive aspect or benefit in this difficult situation?
- Find purpose and meaning, however small. So many young people are giving back. Think about your own strengths and get creative.
The American Psychological Association has tips on how to help teens deal with stress.
The CDC also has specific tips to help young people deal with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.