Mental health and emotional health are important throughout adulthood. When we eat well, get good sleep, and exercise regularly, the body and mind stay healthy. If teens can get going on these types of mental health habits they are more likely to keep physical and mental illness at bay.
Here are a few mental health habits can begin to incorporate into their lives for a healthy adolescence and adulthood:
1. Make Sure to Spend Time With Others
It’s important to step away from the television, Ipad, and laptop from time to time. A teen can participate in extracurricular activities, go to the park, and read a good book on the beach. Getting outside and enjoying the company of friends and family is important for mental health.
2. Look For One Person You Can Trust
Everyone needs at least one person to share the stories of stressful moments and challenges. That person can be a best friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, or a parent. This can also be a therapist. However, it can be comforting to have at least one person in your life whom you trust and who you feel listens to you (versus someone you pay to listen to you).
3. Build a Network of Support
For teens, friends are a great way to start building a network of support. Most friends want to be supportive, and having them there to rely on can make a teen feel better. In fact, one recent study, published by the British Psychological Society in June 2015, revealed that when teens are faced with adversity, friendships can be a tremendous support. In addition to friendships, teens might also think of teachers, counselors, parents, mentors, and therapists as a part of their circle of support.
4. Take Good Care of the Physical Body
As mentioned above, getting good sleep, eating well, and exercising are essential for mental and emotional health. If teens can get in the habit of doing this now, they will be happier in the long run. Parents and caregivers can encourage teens to treat their bodies with care.
5. Find at Least One Way to Manage Stress
Too much work, school, and responsibilities can make a teen feel overwhelmed. To combat this, teens can use tools on a regular basis to unwind. Here are some ways that this can be done:
- deep breathing
Another tool some teens use is to engage the senses. In the middle of a stressful moment, become aware of your surroundings by using one or more of your senses. This and other techniques can prevent anxious thoughts from taking over.
6. Volunteer or Make a Contribution to Your Community
When teens give to others, it takes away from having to think about the stressors in life. And there is a fulfillment that comes with volunteering time, money, or energy to benefit the lives of others.
The suggested mental health habits listed above are meant to encourage continued mental and emotional health as teens develop. Adolescence is a time for teens to prepare for adulthood. If mental illness, addiction, and other risky situations don’t impair a teen’s life, an adolescent can go on to have a happy, successful, and meaningful adulthood.