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