How To Manage Peer Pressure – When most people think of peer pressure, they typically envision the harmless teasing and cajoling of youths and teens. However, at Horizon Plymouth, we know that peer pressure can be much more malicious and have much more severe and negative consequences on children, youths, and even adults. These effects can be very serious and impact individuals for the rest of their lives. At Horizon Plymouth, we offer support and guidance to help individuals move forward from the impacts of peer pressure on their lives and mental state.

What is peer pressure?

Peer pressure is when somebody performs, thinks, or feels a certain way as a result of direct or indirect pressure exerted upon them. Direct pressure is what is commonly thought of when visualising peer pressure, but indirect pressure is actually much more common and is defined as the modelling of the behaviors performed by a group or culture that the individual is part of.

While there are positive elements of peer pressure, such as when teens are influenced to participate in beneficial behaviors by the impact of their friends, there are also very pervasive negative effects. Often, these effects are seen in substance abuse when individuals partake in harmful behaviors because of the influence of the culture and individuals around them. This can lead to addiction and long-lasting negative effects that may have ramifications for the individual for the rest of their life. When someone spends enough time living according to the expectations of those around them, they can experience mental distress as a result of continually feeling compelled to perform actions based on those around you rather than your own morals, wants, needs and values.

How can counselling help?

Working with a counsellor can be one of the many ways to deal with and move beyond the negative effects of peer pressure. There are many strategies that a counsellor can use to help an individual struggling either with the effects of peer pressure or the ongoing occurrences of peer pressure. Some of the strategies that may be helpful for you to explore with your counsellor may include:

  • Planning out events beforehand: If you know that you are going into a situation in which peer pressure will occur, your counsellor can help you visualise scenarios that may happen and practice responses so that you are more prepared to withstand the peer pressure.
  • Establish supports: Creating supports for yourself to lean on in situations where you may experience peer pressure may help you to withstand the influences. For example, bringing a friend, setting time limits for events, and confiding in a trusted source may help to provide you with support and strength in situations where you would otherwise feel alone.
  • Set clear expectations for yourself: Being honest with yourself about what you are and are not willing to do before you ever even set foot into a situation where peer pressure might occur could help you to stand firm and resist doing things that you know will impact you negatively. Your counsellor can help you set these expectations by writing them down, saying them out loud, or any other form that feels concrete and referenceable to you.

As always, the Horizon Plymouth counsellors can help you to navigate feelings, thoughts, and uncertainties created as a result of the negative effects that peer pressure may have had on your life. Counselling can be a safe, unbiased, and confidential place in which to grow and heal and promote a healthier, stronger mental state. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of peer pressure, don’t wait to get professional help. Contact Horizon Plymouth and schedule your initial consultation today.

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