Tuesday, 4 July 2017

7 Tips to Help Teens Break Bad Habit

Bad habits have negative impact on your overall well-being. These habits could include smoking, over-spending, unhealthy eating, procrastination, or even biting your nails. Some of these habits could put you at health risks or impede your ability to achieve some of your goals.

If you seriously want break bad habits, learning how they are formed could be very useful. In the video below, Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habits, explains the science of how habits work and how to break them.

During adolescence, teens attempt to assert independence and autonomy from authority figures in their lives. For some teens, this effort could lead to picking up bad habits. These seven tips are helpful to motivate you to conquer bad habits and develop more positive ones.

1.  Admit that you have a habit that you want to change

When you see a habit as unfavorable for you, it is more likely that you will want to take steps to change. Then imagine what your life would be like without that bad habit.

2. Identify a possible reason for maintaining the bad habit

Your habit could satisfy a need. For example, you might be over-eating because you are not getting on with your parents. When you understand and deal with the underlying problem, this could make breaking the habit easier.

3. Keep a log of your activities

Try to monitor the habit for about a week to find what triggers the behavior. You could find that you engage in the habit at certain times more than others. For example, you could bite your nails because you are finding school stressful. Then you need to take steps to deal with stress.

4. Find a replacement for the habit

Since a bad habit might be meeting a need, try filling the void with something that is healthier. For example, you could become more physically active and practice relaxation exercises to deal with stress, instead of indulging in an unhealthy eating habit.

5. Avoid triggers

 As far as possible, stay away from people, places, and things that could encourage or strengthen the bad habit you are trying to break. For example, you will need to stay away from places where alcohol is served. Keep close watch on the choices you make and consider their consequences.

6. Practice positive self-talk

Psychologists explain that how you think about a situation affects your feelings and behavior. Keep an optimistic attitude about breaking the bad habit, and even if you relapse, get back up and continue on the path. Tell yourself, “I will overcome this habit so I will be patient with myself.”

7. Get support

You need support and encouragement from people who want to see you succeed at breaking the bad habit. Ask your family for help for they can provide the affirmation and support you need. Take the opportunity to pair up with another teen who wants to break the same habit but avoid people who encourage the habit.

Breaking a bad habit can be challenging, but don’t give up. Take one step at a time. Visualize yourself succeeding, imagine what it feels and looks like, and keep pressing on!

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

© 2017 Yvette Stupart

Saturday, 1 July 2017

6 Steps to Help Teens Overcome Anxiety

Do you experience intense fear of certain social situations? For example, if you have to give a a presentation in class, you experience increased heart rate, nausea, and trouble catching your breath. 

You fear embarrassing yourself so you avoid certain social situations. This condition is called social anxiety and here are six steps you can take overcome this problem.

1.  Share your struggles with your parents

If you have excessive fears in social situations, for example speaking up in class, you need to let you parents know. They might need to get a mental health professional to evaluate your problem in order to give you the help you need.

2. Identify automatic negative thoughts 

Do you have negative thoughts about what will happen in these situations? Listen to what you are telling yourself. For example, you know the answer for a question your teacher asks, and your self-talk is, “I won’t know what to say, and they will think I am stupid.”

3. Challenge negative self-talk 

Negative thoughts increase your anxiety and fear for some social situations. Start by asking yourself questions like: “Is there evidence for what I am thinking?” Or you could ask yourself, “What is a more positive way of looking at this situation? 

4. Face the social situation you fear 

Continuing to avoid the social situation allows the problem to persist and prevents you from doing some things that you want to do.
Start slowly, taking small, gradual steps. For example, is you fear meeting people, start making small talk with other students in your class. Be patient with yourself and continue to practice the skills you learn.
Teenager, Anna Vite, on TEDx talks, shares her struggles with social anxiety since she was a young girl. In her presentation entitled, "Talk!" she explains that social anxiety limited her voice.
Anna now asserts, "My social anxiety is not going to disappear but I have found a way to manage it ... Even though I have social anxiety, I have a voice." Like Anna, you can move pass the fear and anxiety that keep you from speaking.

5. Practice relaxation techniques 

When you relax it eases the symptoms of anxiety and makes it easier to face social situations. Practice doing deep breathing exercises by breathing slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhaling slowly through your mouth. This could keep you calm when you face situations that make you anxious.

6. Draw from a caring network

Spend time with people are supportive, affirming and have a positive impact on your life. Also, try to take the focus from yourself and your fears, and reach out to others. For example, reach out another teen at school with genuine interest and kindness.
These steps could help to build your confidence so you become less self-conscious in everyday social situations.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
© 2017 Yvette Stupart

Thursday, 29 June 2017

How to Stop Teen bullies in Social Settings

Public discussions focus a great deal on school bullying in many countries. But bullying is not restricted only to kids in the school yard. There are forms of bullying behaviors which are manifested by control, intimidation, and social group isolation.

Social and power differences are important factors that motivate teens bullies. Teen bullying in social situations could take several forms including causing the victim to be perceived in a negative way.

If you are experiencing bullying from another teen in social situations, for example at parties or on social media, this could cause you distress, hurt your feelings, and damage your reputations.

Here are four steps you could take to deal with teen bullies social settings.

1. Understand Bullying in Social Situations

Bullies intimidate others in many social situations. This could take the form of making unreasonable demands or demands which are not expected to be met. Social exclusion is another form of bullying where others are encouraged to prevent the targeted individuals from participating in group activities.

No matter what form social bullying takes, steps must be taken to effectively deal with the problem. This could include the “victim” becoming more assertive through greater self-confidence.

2. Build Your Self-Confidence

As a teen, an important area to focus on when you are dealing with bullies in social settings is your level of self-confidence. Self-confidence indicates that you have a good understanding of yourself and an appreciation who you really are.

When you are self-confident, you are assured of your abilities, and you are not largely dependent on others for affirmation. You have a positive view of yourself and with self-assurance comes your ability to resist the attempts of bullies to target you in social situations.

3. Become More Assertive

To deal with teen bullies, you need the capacity to choose to engage them, ignore them, or walk away. Respond firmly to bullies in these situations, but be careful not retaliate in anger. Do not allow the bully to control your actions.

Bullies are generally very insecure and sensitive to how others perceive them. Therefore, one strategy is to expose the bully’s insecurity making them less likely to continue to hassle you.

In the video, Dr Phil gives three teen girls advice for dealing with bullies. He encourages them to take their power back.

4. Take Steps to Educate the Perpetrators

You can deal with some bullies through educating them about specific bullying behaviors. In some cases the perpetrators are unaware that their actions are forms of bullying. You could also point out how he or she is exerting control intimidation, explain the specific ways this is taking place, and how it makes you feel.

It is important  that you respond to bullies’ intimidation appropriately and put an end to bullying behaviors towards you.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.ne
© 2017 Yvette Stupart

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

7 Time Management Tips for Teens

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Three Teenagers Share Their Battles with Depression

For most teens, the adolescent years are vibrant and full of opportunities and promise. But some teens face grave challenges during this period. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites depression as the main cause of illness and disability among adolescents globally.

Even more, depression could lead to suicide, which is ranked as the third cause of teen deaths. According to Mental Health America (MHA), adolescent depression is increasing at a distressing rate, and a recent survey indicates that one out of five teens suffer from clinical depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicates that in the United States, an estimated 3 million youth, age 12-17, had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. More than just statistics, real teenagers struggle with depression every single day.
Three Teens' Story

In these TEDx videos three teens share their battles with depression. In the first TEDx Talks, Hunter Kent, a high school senior, spent many of her teen years struggling with depression. She shares a journey that took her through despair and suffering.

Hunter says, "When you are living with depression, it doesn't just pass, it can strike after tragedy or emerge out of the blue. It can come from stress and pressure from school, friends and family, bullying and emotional abuse, and the media that damages our perception of self-image and self-worth."

Rising out of her adversity, Hunter has found help and the ability connect with and express empathy for others who need encouragement in their own struggles.

In he second TEDx Talks, Abigail, a high school freshman, shares her struggle with depression, leading to her as a fourteen year old, stepping onto the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge, preparing to jump.

Abby says, "Depression starts slowly ... as a little snow ball ... [it] starts rolling down the mountain, eventually picking up enough speed or momentum until it is a full-blow avalanche, out of control, that takes over your life and all of your senses."

Now, she is shares her story about recovery and "the courage to keep on going even when things look hopeless."

Finally, Kevin Breel, shares his own experience with depression. He did not look like depressed teen. He was team captain, consistently on the honor role; he was funny and confident.

He says, "There's a pretty popular misconception that depression is just being sad when something goes wrong ... Real depression is being sad when everything is going right and that's what I suffer from ... My story is this, I suffer from depression."

Kevin calls for people to recognize the problem of mental illness just as it recognizes physical problems. He is confident that we can beat the problem of depression if we stand together.

What is Depression?

While it is natural to be sad at times, depression is more than just feeling discouraged or being sad occasionally or when things don't go the way you want them to.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. This could lead to various emotional and physical problems which could reduce a person’s functioning in all areas of life.

The DSM is the manual used to diagnose mental disorders. It describes different types of depression including major depression and persistent depressive disorder. According to the manual, persistent depressive disorder is characterized by the following emotional and behavioral criteria.
  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day (feels sad, empty, and hopeless)According to the manual, a major depressive episode occurs when a person experiences at least five the following symptoms for at least two week
  2. Marked diminished interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed 
  3. Significant weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting 
  4. Trouble sleeping, unable to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much (hypersomnia) 
  5. Increase in restless activity, for example, hand-wringing or pacing, or slowed movements and speech 
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day 
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt 
  8. Decreased ability to think or concentrate or make decisions 
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
From the stories of the three teens, Hunter, Abigail and Kevin, it is evident that recognizing depression in teens might not be easy. But adults need to be alert for the emotional and behavioral changes in teens that could indicate that they are struggling with depression..

These changes could cause significant distress and problems in many areas of depressed teens' life. Teen depression is real, but help is available.


We need to face the facts about teen depression. We need to get well needed information and access help promptly for teens who struggle with depression.. Below are just a few sites with resources that could help you understand the problem of depression better. You can also find help for a teen who is struggling with depression.

Depression in Teens - Mental Health America

Major Depression Among Adolescents - National Institute of Mental Health

Depression in Children and Teens - American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

A Parent's Guide to Teen Depression  - HelpGuide

Teen Depression: Symptoms and Causes - Mayo Cllinic

Images courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

© 2017 Yvette Stupart

Friday, 23 June 2017

Teens - Change Your Self-Talk and Change Your Life

Like all of us, you have a steady conversation with yourself. This is what you are thinking and telling yourself. These messages are called self-talk and research indicates that the average person has about 500, 000 thoughts each day!

A branch of psychology called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) maintains that how you think largely determines how you feel and behave. Your thoughts or self-talk could be positive or negative. Positive self-talk could lead to positive feelings and actions. On the hand, negative self-talk  could lead to negative emotions and behaviors/

Self-talk affects every aspect of your life. In the TEDTalks, Dr. Valerie Mason-John, explains that we are what we think.

She shares her own story of how the negative thoughts in her head that told her that she was worthless led to self-defeating feelings and behaviors throughout her teen and into adulthood.
She explains that when she stopped listening to the negative chatter, she started to  hear, "I am beautiful" and "I am unique." She has since made it a habit to tell herself positive statements like these every day, and her life changed.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Teens Can Experience the Benefits of Gratitude

Teens who cultivate a grateful attitude focus more on what they have than what they don’t have. Gratitude has a positive impact on their overall well-being.  Studies show that there are benefits to cultivating a positive attitude that comes through being grateful.

It is helpful to start to develop an attitude of gratitude when you are young and make it a habit to be appreciative on a daily basis and not just at thanksgiving. Being grateful will help to change your thinking to develop a more positive mindset.

A study shows that grateful teens are more likely to be happy than their less grateful counterparts. So start by listing the things you can be grateful for on a daily basis.

In the video below, coach Ahalya Kumaran,  describes five of her favorite ways to show gratitude. These include giving special notes of appreciation and doing something thoughtful for the people she is grateful for in ways that they do not expect.

A study shows that grateful teens are more likely to be happy than their less grateful counterparts. So start by listing the things you can be grateful for on a daily basis/

In the video below, coach Ahalya Kumaran,  describes five of her favorite ways to show gratitude. These include giving special notes of appreciation and doing something thoughtful for the people she is grateful for in ways that they do not expect.

5 Important Skills Every Teen Should Learn

Teens need to be prepared to become responsible adults. They must begin to acquire skills to handle problems and situations in life from they are young. They need the lessons and experiences that will help them develop the necessary skills.

Here are five essential skills that teens need to develop to prepare them for adulthood.

1. Confidence

Teens need a deep sense of being valued and worthwhile. Confidence develops primarily through their interactions in the family setting. When parents provide an affirming environment teens can explore new activities and learn from their mistakes.

2. Communication

 Teens need tp be able to express  themselves verbally. Effective communication is a key ingredient to help them to build healthy relationships. They need to learn how to deal with their emotions and express their needs and what they are thinking effectively.

3. Teamwork

 Teens with well developed interpersonal skills get on better with others. As they learn how to show empathy, that is, trying to understand other people’s point of view, their ability to work with others improves. They learn to share and develop strong friendships.