It’s not unusual for teens to feel down in the dumps, especially in this day and age. Social, academic, and social expectations can create a strong feeling of hopelessness and disappointment in ourselves. Stress levels can skyrocket as we are faced with messages that constantly tell us to do better. Over the past years, bad mental health in teens has become an increasingly common issue. In a classroom of 30 students, there could be an average of 5 students (or more) struggling with disorders such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. In order to get your health back on track, there are lots of things that you can do. Even if it may seem impossibly hard, take it step by step and in the long run it will be so good for you!
Try making new friends. You know that saying, “make new friends, but keep the old”? That totally applies to your mental health! Healthy relationships with peers are important to teen’s self-esteem and provide a great social outlet. It’s really great to have new people in your life, but make sure to remember your other friends too.
Join a club, sport, or after school activity. Keeping yourself busy with activities you enjoy helps you stay positive and not focus on negative feelings or behaviors.
Do things in your life that have meaning. A study from the University of Louisville shows that the more people participated in personally meaningful activities such as helping other people or pursuing big life goals, the happier and more satisfied they felt.
Ask for help. Sometimes this can be terrifying, but if you have someone that you know you can trust, don’t worry about it. You can go with a friend if it makes you more comfortable, or maybe even write them a note if you don’t want to start the conversation face to face.
Use your social media wisely. Although today it’s close to impossible to not use some source of online communication like Instagram or Twitter, remember to not just depend on social media for maintaining your relationships.
Go outside. Maybe Oregon doesn’t always have nice, warm weather, but spending just 5 minutes outside can boost your self esteem. 90 minutes in nature can decrease brain activity in the places where we produce some of our negative thoughts, so take advantage of all the beautiful paths and trails that surround us! Enjoy your walk out to the T or H building, or just take a step outside in between classes.
These are just a few ways that you can boost your mental health, but make sure to do what works best for you. It takes time and effort and it can be a seemingly endless battle. A quick resource is the Crisis Text Line, where you can text “START” to 741-741 if you need to talk to someone (anonymously) , and 911 if you or someone you know is in urgent need of help. There are countless other text lines and websites, and you can check out the online version of this article at chshighoscope.com for links to these.
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