A Teen’s Guide to Improving Mental and Spiritual Health

Being a teenager nowadays is genuinely exhilarating – largely because there is a variety of opportunities that await the young generation. The thrilling sounds of parties and the flashing neon lights of puberty are special and even more unique with the recent year’s advent of technology. Then again, the current generation is faced with the double edged sword of reality as many teens are placed in circumstances that may test their mental and spiritual health.

happy-teens

As this era has opened itself to exploration and to a more frequent tapping on the cumulative deviant mindset, many teens has faced the harsh realities of life. One of the more widespread challenges of the youth in recent years is teen pregnancy.

In 2014 alone, a total of 249,078 babies in the U.S. had been born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women in this age group. Though it is a huge 9% drop from the 2013 statistics, this is still a staggering number for U.S teens. More often, the effects of teenage pregnancy is devastating, as some young mothers fail to reconcile themselves and to fully outlast the depression it may concur.

Teenage depression is also a hindrance for those it effects. Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how a teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in one’s life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and unrelenting changes in the body can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens. However, for some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings — they’re a symptom of depression.

More often than not, teen depression presents itself not just slight case of mental weakness that can be overcome with willpower. In some cases, it has serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teens, depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling.

This is where effective handling of one’s mental and spiritual health comes in. In fact, even without these problems, teenagers should be aware of ways that can help them improve their mental state as well as their spiritual health. Here are some ways teens can be stronger in character and more resilient with regards to mental and spiritual wellness.

Alone Time is Always Essential

Most people today aged 15-18 years old spend time outside partying and “in a hurry” to explore adulthood. This is not necessarily a bad thing for young adults, especially if their goal is to improve their attitude of being outgoing and adventurous. What is imperative in their “trial and error moment” is that teenage people should not forget that alone time is the best time to improve.

What exactly are the things one can do during alone time?

The first thing that may pop out of people’s heads when ‘alone time’ is stated is munching on popcorn and watching their favorite flicks. This is just one of the best ways a teenager can find out about their personalities as they reflect on the type of the movie they are watching. Instead, to know more about one’s self is for them to be one with the universe through meditation.

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In the digital age, mindfulness seems like a lost art for teenagers. When they’re constantly texting with friends and checking their Instagram likes, they’re not actually living in the moment.  Mindfulness means giving full attention to present thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It is so important for teens to be present in the moment and deeply consider their feelings. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation.

In spite of its purposeful effect on a person, meditation may not be easy to sell to teens. Some may immediately think it sounds lame, pointless and boring. The good news is that mediation only takes a few minutes, and there is a ton of reasons they can benefit from giving it a try.

An important thing to consider while meditating is that it is supposed to be done in an environment that emulates nature. This includes having a soothing music to form a relaxing atmosphere, finding a comfortable meditation spot and creating a clean ambiance to avoid any unnecessary irritants and distractions. From getting the best air purifier for allergies to adding the most stimulating aroma for concentration, setting the right mood is a great way to invite teens to enjoy meditation even more.

Travel Young, Reap the Benefits

Traveling is one of the best ways the mind unwinds from all the challenges of everyday life. This is simply because one is introduced to a whole new environment, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. While the teenage dream survives on having thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram, plus thousands of likes and shares on Facebook, there comes a time when a teen should explore the wonders of what’s real and tangible of the REAL world.

teen-photographer

Traveling can bring about many benefits for the human mind as well as the human spirit. For one, a person becomes more adventurous and outgoing, able to tackle tasks on hand especially on surviving skills. Decision making is also harnessed as teens are at a stage when they tend to rely more on what their intuition says and what they have already experienced.

Likewise, journeying to places can vary, offering exciting adventures every time. Traveling by air seems to be an exhilarating mode of transportation as one gets to have an aerial view of the world. Trips by sea can be quite tranquil since it provides the same aesthetics but a much slower, more gradual transcendence, as if meditating in a vast blue expanse. Finally, traveling by land is an experience EVERYONE can relate to since it is more accessible and more in tune with reality.

Overall, all trips can be exciting, depending on how the travelers looks into the world.

Don’t Be Afraid to Open up

The main dilemma of many teens is that they find it hard to open up to people, even to those who are close to them. Again, it is important to remember that each teen is faced with personality problems. As such, they do need guidance from people who are close to them.

At home, it is essential for parents to try to truly get down to the bottom of their child’s nuisances. This is done by constantly reminding them that their parents are present when they need them, and can guide them through hard times. Parents are the first lifeline of their children with regard to mental fortitude and spiritual wellness.

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The same thought applies at school where teens spend most of their time. It may be important that teens have constant communication with their peers, especially those who fall within the same age bracket. Friends tend to understand each other more, especially when they are in the same circle experiencing similar circumstances. Teens should open up to their friends and learn to trust each other with their problems in order for them to get their opinion on important matters, as well as support in times of turmoil.

Nothing is more comforting than a friend’s company in times of trouble.

Likewise, it may also be helpful for teens to communicate their thoughts with trusted guidance counselors at school. The American School Counselor’s Association (ASCA) offers detailed literature about the role of the school counselor.

One of the major components of that role is accountability. School counselors are responsible for analyzing data on their own effectiveness and adjusting their techniques to maximize their value to students. As a result, the role of the counselor is ever-changing and depends on a variety of factors at work within the school.

Jessica Gonzalez

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