Raising Successful Kids 101: How to Avoid the Anxiety and Hyper-Achievement Loop and Build Resiliency (HPC: E59)

Anxiety didn’t used to be so hip and popular when Sarah Janette was diagnosed, and she felt such a stigma and resulting shame that it caused a major health issue. As an eating psychology counselor, her mission is to provide young women with strategies to master stress, enhance productivity, and better navigate a healthy lifestyle on both high school and collegiate campuses.

She joins us today on the Healthy Parenting Connector to share practical strategies for parents to start healthy habits with your kids to avoid the over-achievement mindset, find their passions, and learn to be more resilient, no matter what life throws at them.

We talked about:

  • The cycle of anxiety generating anxiety
  • The achievement mindset in our culture and how it sabotages parents’ good intentions for our children’s success
  • How to combat the perils of “Comparison-itis”
  • Why we need to talk about food with kids and how powerful nutrition is for mental health
  • One simple question you can ask kids instead of explaining nutrition to them

FREE DOWNLOAD: 3 Ways to Build Brain Resilience

  • A big challenge for you to change bad habits around dinner and WHY
  • A huge message of hope and empowerment – we CAN change our habits and we ARE in control of our stress and anxiety – but we have to be intentional about it.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Raising Successful Kids Video Time Stamps

  • 0:20: Sarah Janette is passionate about helping teens and young women. She is an eating psychology counselor, integrative health coach and functional medicine practitioner.
  • 1:41: Every parent wants their teenagers to be on a healthy path as early as possible. Sarah shares her background and how she came to help teens and young adults.
  • 3:29: Sarah struggled with anxiety in college and felt shamed and helpless. She now shares tools and strategies to help young women especially handle or avoid similar diagnoses.

Anxiety Begets Anxiety

  • 4:20: If you have anxiety, it can cause psychological and physiological experiences that increase anxiety and it becomes a destructive cycle that’s very hard to break.

You cannot have physical health without mental health. -Sarah Janette

  • 5:02: You cannot have physical health without mental health and vice versa.
  • 5:26: Culturally there’s a much broader acceptance of mental health disorders. This is good because it allows more conversations to be had, reduces shame and makes help more accessible.

The Link Between Stress and Disease

  • 6:24: Sarah eventually experienced a physical health issue which she believes was partially due to her anxiety. She shares that story and its relevance to our conversation today.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Foods that Fight Depression

  • 9:12: Being stressed does not automatically mean you’ll develop a given disease. It’s a component that leads to disease, but there’s usually more to it than that. It’s also something that we can work to mitigate.

We absolutely have a way of managing our relationship to stress and making it work for us and not against us. -Sarah Janette

Healthy Striving Versus Over Achievement

  • 11:30: We see a very high achievement mindset being pushed on our young people today. Of course we want what’s best for our kids, but not achievement at the cost of their health.

Promoting an environment of healthy striving is entirely different than asking someone to excel in an arena of hyper-competitiveness and over achievement. -Sarah Janette

  • 12:57: These high standards are creating a culture of comparison that’s leading to anxiety among high schoolers and college students. Our society teaches that we measure worth on external markers and achievements.

Anxiety is the number 1 problem on college campuses today. -Sarah Janette

  • 14:08: Statistically, academic achievement markers don’t speak to a child’s success in their career or later life. We really need to stop celebrating over achievement and pushing a societal view of success on our kids. There’s much more to life than good grades or making a certain sports team.

You can strive for competitive excellence so long as you maintain your boundaries around your physical and mental health. -Sarah Janette

  • 16:13: Stress can obviously be negative, but it’s also not unhealthy to experience degrees of stress and discomfort because it forces us to grow.

Practical Strategies for Your Kids

  • 17:02: We talk strategies for parents of elementary school aged girls to prepare them for high school.

How is it that I want to feel today? What do I need to eat/drink to get myself there? -Sarah Janette

  • 18:35: Sarah shares some tips on eating for good mental health. Cultivating a healthy microbiome is so important when discussing anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

Food is information for the body. -Sarah Janette

There's no way to talk about good mental health without talking about the food that we're eating. -Sarah Janette

  • 20:35: Sarah shares her message of hope for parents.
  • 21:46: We end with a practical step you can implement with your family today.

Our bodies inherently know how to heal; we just have to give them the right inputs. -Sarah Janette

  • 23:57: Sarah gets a little nerdy and shares some details about digestion. 😛

Resources We Mention About Reducing Anxiety

Avoiding Anxiety in Kids and Teens

I interview experts about kids' health every week.


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