Tips for Beating the COVID Blues …

If you are a parent of a teen or young adult, it may come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in mental health problems for students (as reported in medical and psychotherapeutic practices, counseling centers, and clinics). International research studies have documented increased levels in teen loneliness, depression levels, anxiety and reduced general well-being–caused and/or intensified by the pandemic-related social contact restrictions. 

While, as parents and caring adults, it is outside of our control to stop the pandemic, there are strategies and actions that can be taken that can help to reduce or even help prevent these terrible effects. To paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher, Epictetus, It’s not what happens but how you think about it that makes the difference.

Understanding the Cognitive Triangle …

One of the models I share with many of my students and clients is simple in design but quite powerful in helping people with their mindset mastery. It’s often referred to as The Cognitive Triangle:

It shows how our emotions are linked to both our thoughts & beliefs and our behaviour & actions. It also tells us that if we’d like to change one of the corners (e.g. how we are feeling), then get curious/explore and make changes in one of the other corners. For example, is your teen feeling sad or “depressed” about remote learning? What are they saying to themselves about it? This sucks? This will be terrible? I hate being forced to learn this way? Look at everything I’m missing? Clearly these thoughts will help reinforce and strengthen negative emotions. Instead, what if they focused on what was going well in their lives? Or the fact this won’t last forever? Or thoughts that accurately reflect the permanence/pervasiveness of current restrictions? There is a big difference between, I have to stay home and I’m safe at home. The same can be done with their actions–what are they currently doing/not doing that support feeling poorly? What actions typically help make they feel happier or cheer them up? Exercise? Getting outdoors? talking with friends? Look at activities that could be added, stopped or changed.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

– Epictetus

The Power of Gratitude …

Another powerful exercise I often teach and share is the Three Good Things (or Three Blessings) exercise by one of the founders of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman. In this one minute video he shares this simple activity that, much like the cognitive triangle, is simple yet powerful.

YouTube | Three Good Things, Nov. 20, 2009

So there you have it, two simple yet powerful strategies to help combat or lessen the COVID blues, or any other type of negative experience your teen (or you) may be facing. If you feel these were helpful, please consider sharing this post within your own networks and help others discover them too. Be well.

Ready for your teen to experience greater happiness? Improved motivation? Self-confidence? Better results at school or home? Check out additional resources at, including our free Teen Success Audit. Let us help stop overwhelm and indifference from sabotaging your teen so they can be happy, motivated, and successful in school AND life!

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