It is incredibly common for teenagers to worry about the future. From personal worries like school pressures and body changes, to wider, global concerns about the environment and economic futures. It can sometimes feel as though you’re expected to have your entire future mapped out, so how can you decide who you want to be while minimizing anxiety about the future?
First of all, remember that it is completely okay not to have all the answers; parents and teachers may ask you questions about your future plans, some friends may seem like they have everything entirely figured out already, and you may be struggling enough just getting through the day-to-day, so understand that if thinking about the future right now is just too much, it is fine to take some out to clear your head before you make any big decisions.
Is there something specific that you find yourself constantly feeling anxious about? Perhaps school exams, university applications, money, friendships? Try writing down your main worries (either in the form of a list, or a journal if you want to go into more detail) and use that list to come up with an action plan to both deal with lowering your anxiety and putting things in place for the future.
You can’t control everything – and that is important to understand – but with a good plan to follow it can make the world of difference. Sometimes even just the act of writing down, talking about, or visualizing these worries, can allow you to take some weight off and gain some clarity.
You also have to learn to be open to uncertainty; of course the unknown seems scary, but embracing it can allow you to explore more about yourself, and who knows what good things may happen unexpectedly?! Having a plan is great, but there will always be things that happen in life that are out of your control or that you just couldn’t plan for, so try to find a balance between plans and spontaneity.
Shifting your mindset so that you stay present and focused can also be incredibly helpful; it’s so easy to get entangled in stressed and worries about the future, but becoming more mindful, more self-aware, and living in the moment will allow you to enjoy your life for what it is right now. Too much pressure and speculation can detract from all the wonderful things you have going on around you, and all the little moments that are right there to be savored. And if in doubt.. meditate!