Social anxiety is tough, but teens don’t have to figure it out alone. Find Your Fierce by Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, uses evidence-based skills from cognitive behavioral therapy to give teens a toolkit to help them overcome their anxiety and move toward becoming their bravest, fiercest selves. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction and first chapter: Introduction Humans are supposed to care about what others think of them, and this starts feeling especially important when you’re a teenager. That concern about what others think can sometimes turn into worry about being judged or embarrassed in front of others, grow even bigger, and get in the way of spending time with friends, participating in school, and going out in public. If that sounds like you, you might have social anxiety disorder and you most certainly would not be alone. Social anxiety disorder is the second most common anxiety disorder and affects many of your peers—over 9%. A lot of people with social anxiety disorder blame themselves for what they’re experiencing. No one chooses to feel this way, though, and you certainly did not sign yourself up for this. You might have inherited some genes that make you more likely to experience social anxiety—a lot of teens with social anxiety also have a parent with social anxiety. Sometimes stressful events or big life changes, such as moving to a new school, being bullied, or going through puberty, can bring your social anxiety front and center. Chapter 1: What Is Social Anxiety? Social anxiety is a fear of judgement or embarrassment that has lasted for at least six months and gets in the way of life at home, at school, or in other social environments. For example, social anxiety may make it difficult to attend family gatherings, complete homework, and spend time with friends. Those with social anxiety disorder may avoid raising their hands in class, going to parties, ordering in restaurants, making eye contact, giving a presentation, using public restrooms, eating in front of others, going to school, making phone calls, or texting friends. Social anxiety disorder can look different from one person to the next. Although social anxiety disorder can get in the way of everyday life, it can be managed with some skills. The aim of this book is to give you a toolbox so that you, and not your anxiety, can be the boss of you. A type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention is very effective for social anxiety disorder. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are linked, and teaches you tools to manage all three. You are the expert on you; no one knows you better. An important part of CBT is that it aims to make you not only the expert on you but also the expert on your own treatment. In this book, you will learn how and why these skills work. There will be activities throughout the book to help you practice what you learn.Read More
Magination Press’s new series of activity books, The Find Out Files, help kids explore emotions and relationships. Magination Press interviewed author and parenting expert, Isabelle Filliozat, about creating My Fears, one of the books in The Find Out Files. Magination Press: You chose a meerkat as the animal guide for My Fears. Why is a meerkat well-suited to the topic of fear? Isabelle Filliozat: Meerkats are called the sentinels of the desert. They have this behavior of looking around and paying attention to any movement, this quick reaction. That’s why I choose them to illustrate the “protection from danger” system. Fear being the primary emotion of that system. MP: You explain how fear is a physical reaction that protects us from danger, and so sometimes fear is a good thing. Why is it important for people to learn to tell the difference between real dangers and perceived ones? IF: If it is a real danger, fear is useful. It can save us. Fear helps us perceive danger, see a movement, identify a threat. It gives us the energy to step aside, run, escape. But if it is not a real danger, there’s no use to stress our body like that ! Shivering in front of a mouse, or a dead rat, panicking on a plane or choking in an elevator doesn’t bring us any positive benefit. But all those irrational fears come from our story and if we listen to them, and analyse their roots, they help us cure our inner-self. MP: How did you decide which common fears (swimming, monsters/nightmares, or meeting new people) to feature in the book? IF: I wanted to feature a physical fear, a mental fear, and a social fear. Then you have tools for about any fear. MP: Sometimes, when people are afraid, they get angry. Why is that? IF: Because it is the same structure in the brain that sends the order for fear or anger: the amygdala. Both emotions ensure protection. When there is a threat, the amygdala triggers the stress reaction. Depending on the circumstances, we have three possibilities: fight, flight, freeze. So facing a danger, someone may display a fighting behavior. Also, if you were taught as a child that you shouldn’t be afraid, that boys don’t fear, you fear your fears! You don’t want to surrender to fear, don’t want to be seen as a coward… so you display aggressive behavior. Or if you were beaten or harshly scolded when you were afraid, then feeling fear is so stressful, so you attack! Some people like scary movies or books. Why do you think that is? Some people like taking physical risks, to climb cliffs, to drive their motorcycle fast, to jump from high bridges, to surf big waves. Stress, fear—it’s adrenaline. It’s sensations. It’s excitement. It’s feeling alive! But we don’t all dare take risks! Almost all of us like suspense in movies or books, we identify with the characters, we feel sensations, quiver, thrill, our heart beatsRead More
Facing Anxiety Through Story.
Once upon a time, there lived a princess named Jacqueline. The royal knights protected her from danger — even if there wasn’t any!
When Jacqueline climbs the beanstalk, she meets a giant who is just as afraid of the knights. In this modern retelling of a classic fairy tale, Jacqueline shows everyone that there’s nothing to be afraid of after all.
Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with worry-busting strategies and calming tools.
Serious illness in a family can cause many emotions like worry, fear, or sadness. Whether a child is experiencing the illness or a loved one is ill, children need the opportunity to talk about their feelings. The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers explores how a family supports young Gerbert, as he experiences a serious illness, and how Gerbert finds a way for his family to remember him when he's gone. Hear the authors read The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers aloud and see three activities related to feathers. Read two posts from the authors about helping siblings cope with grief and helping children with serious illness talk about their feelings. Read the Note to Parents and Caregivers from The Gift of Gerbert's Feathers, the Kids' Reading Guide, and access a feather coloring sheet.Read More