Q: Hello, I’m 16 and recently (about a month ago) I started analyzing myself and my thoughts too much. Throughout all my life I was slightly shy and found it hard to talk to girls, but that wasn’t a problem. Now, the problem is that ANYTIME, whatever I do, a thought comes to my head which says “I should be feeling nervous”, or “Am I doing it the correct way?” I try to ignore these thoughts, but it’s impossible. Its like if I am always having pressure to, for example, move my hands correctly, having a good pulse, passing things correctly, etc. Even with my friends and my family the thoughts of “I should be feeling nervous” or “am I doing it the correct way?” come to my head. This is really disturbing me and annoying me. I don’t want to feel this way, I want to be confident and don’t care so much about insignificant details. These thoughts come strongest when I am with a girl (even a friend) and I think “Am I in a correct position?”, or “Is she liking me?”, or “what should I say or do?” It might be fear towards love or something like that. I really want to take these thoughts away but I just don’t seem to have the answer. If you have any solution, please help me. This doesn’t seem to be getting better and I’m beginning to feel very frustrated, sad and angry. I didn’t use to be like this. I just want to take these thoughts about “getting nervous” away from my head.
Thank you.

A: Part of your problem could be a typical thing that happens to teenagers. It is a time when you become very self-conscious and feel like you are on stage all the time. If this is what it is it will most likely resolve itself. The best you can do is talk yourself through it and remind yourself that you are much more aware of these things than anyone else is. Most likely, others are not paying that close attention to the point that they would critique or judge you so you have to stop doing this to yourself. Work on becoming more accepting and supportive of yourself. Practice paying attention to the things you are good at and qualities you are comfortable with rather than focusing on negative things. You can change your thoughts with practice, which can eventually change your feelings. The other possibility is that you are beginning to show symptoms of an anxiety disorder which can account for the constant thinking and nervousness. My suggestion is that if you continue to work on these issues on your own and don’t feel better in a few months that you seek professional help. Find a good counselor or therapist who works with teenagers and anxiety disorders. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if this feels like more than you can handle. Good luck and peaceful thoughts.