Mental health is built on a foundation of Sleep 8-10 hours per night, Good nutrition, and exercise- yes this means getting sweaty. Daily exercise will improve your mood, increase your ability to learn, and enhance self worth and confidence.
We need others. Virtual connections do not adequately fulfill those needs. We need to be with people, see them, and interact with them directly in person as much as possible. Call a friend instead of just texting them, meet up with people, make plans to see each other, attend church activities even when you aren’t interested in the activity, say hi to strangers, look people in the eye and smile (uncomfortable at first, but it trains the brain to feel good about yourself and to feel connected, plus you can bless others. You may be the only one to smile at them that day.)
Disconnect daily- Turn off or put down electronics. They overload our brains, create mental fatigue and anxiety, contribute to isolation and short term solutions. Social media is designed to manipulate you to spend excessive time on it. The more time spent in social media the more likely you are to feel depressed or anxious.
Reach inward: (that means without distractions like electronics)- reflect, study scriptures, pray, meditate, plan, journal. This helps to create an emotional reset for us that rests the mind, releases stress, builds self-awareness, and improves energy.
Reach up. As teens it is often most comfortable to keep everything inside or between you and others of the same age. It is easy to worry about what others will think of you, especially adults. As adults we have experienced many of the same underlying questions, doubts, and confusion you may be going through. We understand more than you might think, but we often receive very limited information about what you are going through and therefore provide less helpful support. Also, reaching up to Christ. When I came to accept that I couldn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know and that he loved me anyway, it alleviated much of my shame and unworthiness I was struggling with.
Reach out. Lift others. Focusing on others helps us feel better about ourselves.
Befriend yourself. Get to know yourself. Face your emotions, your doubts, your desires, Be kind to yourself. Practice seeing the good in yourself. Make a list of things you like. Make a list of things you want to become. Look for those things in yourself.
Growth mindset. The teenage brain is awesome! You are designed to grow, to overcome, to learn, to try new things and build new skills. Embrace mistakes, corrective feedback and setbacks as part of learning and growing.
Embrace failure: Failure is a critical part of growth. Don’t fear it, embrace it. Failure is only temporary anyway as long as we embrace it. So fail so you can learn to get back up and take away the lessons from your effort. Your brains as teens are specialized to face, accept, and overcome failure.