Helping Teens to Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!

Where are my "Friends" fans at?

For those who have not been fortunate enough to enjoy the glorious, highly relatable 90s show "Friends" - it is a comedy series based on 6 friends in their 20s living in NYC. (it's also on Netflix- and I highly encourage you to watch it after reading this).

For those very familiar, or even only vaguely familiar with the show, you will likely know of the famous "Pivot" scene.

Ross asks his friends Rachel and Chandler for help moving a new couch into his walk-up apartment and hilarity ensues! (you can watch the whole clip here:

helping anxious teens pivot | woodbridge, ct | mental health therapy

Teen Anxiety, Snow Days, and Pivoting

If you've been paying attention the weather- you'll notice we've had a lot of snow in CT the past few weeks. In fact, it's been happening almost weekly causing havoc to many people's schedules.

I will admit, I was one of the people very excited for the snow days at first! One of the reasons I love living in the northeast is because sometimes the weather forces us to slow down and take a break- something I need reminding of myself from time to time.

However, now that it's Spring and it's STILL snowing - I am so over it!

Having to rearrange mine, and my clients' schedules every week to accommodate the weather is totally killing my vibe!

Creatures of Habit

As humans, we love homeostasis- meaning we like rituals, structure, and order. It helps us function when we keep to our usual routines and schedules. When these are thrown off, we exit homeostasis and sometimes enter into chaos.

When things change, our minds and bodies sound off an alarm that something is different.

It takes a lot of physical, emotional and mental energy to adapt to change- even if it is a positive change. This can impact one's stamina, energy, tolerance, and concentration. 

Helping Teens (and ourselves) Pivot

Pivoting is the actual point when a mechanism turns. While originally meant to orient mechanical directions, it can be used as a reminder for when we as humans need to shift, or turn, with the changes that come our way.

Here are some pointers about pivoting that can be learned from Ross's couch situation:

1. Lying About the Reality Doesn't Help

Ross lies to Rachel about having an elevator in the new building, which she quickly points out doesn't exist. He also famously draws a sketch, while helpful visually, is not dimensionally accurate. 

2. Shouting Encouraging Things is Not Enough to Make it Happen

As a therapist who helps teens with low self-esteem feel better- I am all for positive self-talk and encouraging statements. However- it is not enough! Ross initially shouts "You can do it! You got this!" to Rachel who is helping him move the couch alone. While highly encouraging, she isn't physically capable of making the movements he requires to move the couch up the stairs. He does the same thing when Chandler joins Rachel in helping Ross. Again, shouting encouragement doesn't change the fact that the couch will not fit the way he wants it to fit.

3. Ignoring Helpful Feedback Can Be a Deterrent

Several times Rachel and Chandler offer their helpful feedback and observations from their lower side of the couch. Ross is at the top so he is blinded to what is happening below. Rather than take a moment and listen to what his friends are telling him, he continues to shout "Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!" 

When you are honest about the current state of things, your current abilities and deficiencies (no one is perfect!) then you can plan for the right resources to help. Also- be willing to accept feedback from your friends - especially if you're asking for their help.

Want even more positive influences in your teen's life? Teen Girls Therapy Group is a weekly space where your teen girl can connect with others dealing with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. By talking and learning together, they learn to feel better about the relationships they have with themselves and others.

Apply for a spot now by calling 203-228-8971 or completing the contact form here.

Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT