We all try to take care of our bodies, stay fit, and eat healthily. However, there has been a positive tendency to take care of one’s mental health. It has been long established that your psychological state is just as important (if not more important) than your physical condition. Deteriorating mental state affects our bodies, our social skills, chances for success, and the people around us. So it is essential to observe and check your own mental health as well as your loved ones. But what if we are dealing with a teenager? Everyone is going through some rough patches during puberty, but how to make sure this “patch” will not turn into a full-blown depression? In this article we will disclose some tips on how to talk to young adults about their emotions, how to maintain teen mental health, and teach them tools so they will be equipped to take care of themselves in the future. Stay tuned for some practical advice and theoretical inputs.
- Make sure it is not a taboo subject. We all know that sometimes it is hard to recognize some worrying behavior patterns among already angst-fueled teenagers. One of the best things an adult can do is to arrange a safe environment for kids to talk about their mental health. There is nothing shameful or scary in having various issues, and a teen must know it. Establish a safe non-judgmental environment with the help of understanding and compassion. The more approachable you will be in the eyes of a kid – the better; it will ensure the possibility of an open discussion about possible mental problems and timely assistance with them if needed.
- Teach them about a healthy lifestyle. We always start with the basics. So showing kids that mental is intertwined with the physical state is important. Make sure to provide them with accurate information on how to take care of their bodies, so their minds can avoid additional stress factors.
– drink plenty of water
– maintain a proper sleeping schedule
– eat enough fruits and vegetables
– cut down on sugars and fast food
– be active, spend time outdoors
– exercise often
– do not overuse social media and other content
Do not forget to explain the mechanics behind these factors and how exactly they are improving your mood and overall emotional condition. Otherwise, teenagers might perceive it as an intercessory lecturing or regular nagging. It goes without saying that it’s always better to teach with your own example.
- Inform about stress-dealing techniques. It is always good to have some tools at your disposal, including tools on how to do with anxiety and stress. As we all know, adolescents are prone to self-loathing and angst. However, it is important to not take it lightly in order to be able to prevent more serious consequences such as teen depression. Here are some things that can help teenagers dealing with stress:
– if you feel overwhelmed – take a break. Change the activity, go for a walk, talk to a parent, or simply watch your favorite TV show.
– try meditating. It has been scientifically proven that meditation helps to relax and reduces stress levels. There are numerous apps available for beginners who want to learn meditative techniques.
– talk it out. Some problems might seem gigantic when you are dealing with them on your own. Discussing them with someone will help to feel less alone and seeing an issue from a different angle. That’s why it is so essential to create a friendly, open atmosphere so the teenager will actually come to you for any advice or help.
– find a hobby. Having a lot of interests makes life more fulfilling and allows exploring the world and yourself more. For example, it is always nice to have a hobby, like writing. Your teens can start writing their own blogs. This is a great opportunity to improve your writing and punctuation skills. At first, it will be tough for them, and they will need to chat with essay writers or any other experienced in this field person to get some useful advice. But later, after spending some time on it, teenagers will turn to this hobby for relief.
– if it becomes difficult to deal with stress – turn for help. It is crucial to teach a teen that there is nothing embarrassing about seeking help. That’s what leads us to the next point.
- Inform kids that mental issues are treatable and there is no harm in getting professional help. It is important that teenagers, who tend to exaggerate problems to the max, know that any problem or situation is solvable, including mental health issues. Talk to them about celebrities going through depression and getting help, draw from your own experiences. Nowadays having a therapist is just as normal as having a career coach or a fitness trainer. Just like any other specialist in different fields, psychologists will help to guide you through the mental processes. And it is absolutely normal that sometimes we cannot navigate our feeling on our own, just as sometimes people do not know how to train their muscles. That’s what specialists are for. Make sure to share this positive attitude with your teen.
- Provide essential information. Sometimes we are afraid of the unknown; it is scary to not know what to do in an unfamiliar situation. The solution is to provide the required algorithm of actions if the teen experience some mental problems. List the helpline numbers in your area, support services such as psychological help centers or psychologists’ contacts. Ensure the teenager realizes that it is very common to have emotional problems and everyone goes through similar experiences at one or another period of their lives. The more we know how to act in certain situations – the less scary and alone we feel.
These tips might seem obvious and easy to achieve. But as it is commonly known, nothing is easy while dealing with teenagers. So it is better to start talking to your kids early own, so they will know themselves better and trust you to provide advice and help if needed. We are all just humans and deal with stress and depression as best as we can. It is very important to build trustful and compassionate relationships with kids and try not to judge them in any case. Be open and make sure your kids know that no matter what happens – they can talk to you and you will help them, and there is nothing wrong with getting professional help if needed. Do not underestimate the power of a simple honest conversation.
Sandra Larson is a child psychologist that specializes in teenage behavior patterns. She advocates for better awareness of mental health issues among teenagers.