Did you have any superstitions or strange habits when you were an adolescent?
I certainly did. When I was padding up to bat in a Cricket match, I always put my left pad on first. Why on earth did I do that? It seems so strange when I think about it now.
You will see some of the top Tennis players, for example, have superstitions – how they walk off the court at the end of the game; how they move at the end of a point; how they lay out their seating area; mannerisms before they serve a ball ….
Or, did you have something special you did to rid yourself of exam nerves, as Angie did?
“You’ll think this is really silly,” Angie said to me when we were chatting about positive preparation for her final exams.
“Nothing is silly if it helps you stay calm and rids you of stress,” I responded.
“Well, before I write my exams, I listen to a whole lot of my favorite Disney film songs,” Angie informed me with a broad smile. “It just works for me and makes me feel calm and happy.”
“And your brain is releasing some chemicals that will help you feel positive and calm, a ‘feel good’ effect,” I was able to offer as a word of encouragement.
Australian psychologist, Andrew Fuller, comments in his excellent book – well worth reading, as it is loaded with helpful tips – Tricky Teens – How to create a great relationship with your teen … without going crazy!, about the power of music to access our emotions and suggests we create two playlists of songs, one for the hurting and sad times and another to be used, as Angie did.
10 Daily Tips for Teenagers
Andrew also shares more tips for teenagers to take good care of themselves, some of which include straightforward, helpful daily tips which he calls, ‘mini habits’:
- Say hello to one person each day that you don’t know.
- Give two people a compliment each day.
- Climb stairs each day.
- Listen to a favorite song and relax.
- Think three positive thoughts.
- Forgive someone or something.
- Message at least one friend.
- Read two pages of a book.
- Go outside and walk 40 paces.
- Drink one glass of water.
These are great tips and can form part of a positive discussion between a volunteer adult mentor and a teenage mentee as well. Better still, the mentor can share how many of these he or she follows each day. They can become new weekly goals to work towards.
Although I am obviously not a teenager, I do most of these every day without too much thinking, as many of them are ‘mini habits’. For example, weather permitting, I head off for a brisk 7km walk every morning and always say hello to people I pass during the walk, all of whom I do not know. When i wake up in the morning I always give thanks for three things as a reminder of how privileged I am – for example, hot and cold running water, a home, family, food to eat, electricity, clothes to choose from, transport …. I read more than two pages of a book, have a glass of water most days, climb stairs every day, listen to songs I enjoy most days, take time out to relax every day and try and offer words of encouragement to people either personally or through Facebook and Twitter posts.
Therefore, my brain is releasing many chemicals to keep me in a positive frame of mind most days, even on those more challenging days when I might be dealing with a challenging issue.
Reaching out to someone else, as Andrew suggests, is a great way to avoid being filled with self-pity. I have often shared this with teenagers when they are staring to feel sorry for themselves: “Reach out to someone in need.” “Have you encouraged anyone today?”
What do you do to take good care of yourself? Those ‘light-bulb’ or gold nugget moments or ideas?
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Twitter @million2016coxy or on Facebook (where you are able to join a closed mentoring group) or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website Robin’s free Mentoring Minutes daily podcasts (each podcast between 1.5 and 3 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here.