How Can Teens Improve Their Mental Health? 7 Strategies
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How Can Teens Improve Their Mental Health? 7 Strategies

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Mental health isn’t something you only focus on at certain times, like during a therapy session. Your mental health affects you all the time, and it has an impact on everything you do. If you’re already feeling anxious or depressed, it’s hard to practice a sport, be creative or study. The point is that when you’re not in good shape mentally, whatever you enjoy in life loses its sparkle.

Maintaining good mental health isn’t easy. It takes practice. This article will go over some basic things you can do to improve your mental health.

Who should prioritize improving their mental health?

Nothing can take the place of a well-nourished mind. When we care for our minds, we are better equipped to handle stress, manage emotions, and navigate the ups and downs of life with resilience and clarity. Teens today are facing a multitude of mental health concerns. Global data about mental health conditions is limited. As of 2019, an estimated 1 in 7 (14%) young people aged 10 to 19 experience a mental health disorder. U.S. teens seem to have a slightly higher rate of poor mental health — in 2021, prevalence was closer to 30%. Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental health issues for teens today.

The truth is, you shouldn’t wait until you have symptoms If you can help. No more than you should wait until your teeth are falling out to brush. But if you’re feeling exhausted with a demanding schedule, sad for no reason, or worried and upset often, that’s reason enough. Having thoughts or secrets that you feel you can’t share with anyone else is a huge mental burden. That’s why mental health isn’t something any of us can manage completely on our own.

If your gut tells you your mental health is suffering, it probably is. Taking the time to improve your mental health now is a kind, compassionate and responsible thing you can do for yourself.

7 ways teens can improve their mental health

We don’t take a symptom- or diagnosis-based approach to mental health here. At Lightfully, we focus on the core processes in every person’s life that affect their mental state. Following the seven strategies in this article will help you gain a new awareness of your thoughts, behaviors, emotions and relationships.

Try these seven practices to start improving your mental health:

Find your personal values

Values are deeply personal and can vary widely between individuals based on their cultural, religious, and personal backgrounds. When you’re feeling low, it’s your personal connection to your values that can keep you going. So what makes your life worth living? What do you admire in other people? What do you aspire to? Start by brainstorming and narrow down a list of three to five personal values to live by. Here’s a look at ours!

Be inspired

You don’t have to have long-term goals or a road map for your entire life figured out. When it’s time to do that, your instincts, passions and talents will be your compass. The thing to do right now is spend time with whatever excites you. This could mean nerding out on sports statistics or listening to every musical soundtrack you can find. It’s your life. The sooner you can find what motivates you, the better.

Remember — your mind and body are connected

Nutrition and exercise play crucial roles in improving mental health. Remember that thing we said about following your gut? Well, there’s research that shows your gut acts kind of like a second brain. Eating a variety of foods and getting movement every day makes you feel physically better, and it improves your mental health too. Don’t make yourself do any intense workouts if that’s not your thing. Playing a virtual game that gets you moving or dancing to your favorite music in your room totally counts.

Know your boundaries

There will always be times when you have to tell the people around you how you want to be treated — and sometimes you’ll have to set limits for your own behavior. Boundaries are like guidelines for the kinds of language, behavior, interaction, work and other activities you engage in. They can change depending on the people and situations at hand, and they can change when you decide they need to. In any part of your life where you can be vulnerable or face risks, like relationships or money, you need to know your boundaries and how to maintain them.

Create some self-care practices

Self-care can be both relaxing and challenging. These are the things you do to keep yourself going and manage your stress level, like maintenance for your life. They also tend to be the first things to go out the window when you’re busy and really need them. For instance, you might need to listen to music for 10 or 15 minutes after school to reset and transition to whatever’s next. You might need to declutter your homework space once a week or track your moods to help improve your mental health. Find one or two things to start with and keep it simple.

Build up your support system

The people you surround yourself with have an impact on your life. You can’t always control who you’re spending your time with, but there should be a few key people you can go to when you need help. What are some challenges you’re facing now or very soon? Who has more experience than you? Who can you trust to give you honest answers and a little encouragement? If you need somewhere to start, check out our mental health support group.

Find a great therapist

Everyone struggles with their mental health now and then, even if they don’t have a specific diagnosis. A therapist can help you improve your mental health with advice that’s tailored to you and your life. Or they can just listen and ask questions to help you reflect.

Improve your mental health at Lightfully

If you’re feeling a little lost, or even if you’re experiencing some mental health symptoms, you’re in the right place. Our programs go beyond what you’d get with a regular outpatient therapist to include more psychoeducation to help you learn how your brain and body work together, support groups, and practice with emotion regulation techniques. Each client gets a personalized plan including evidence-based, clearly defined, treatment hand-picked for you.

You can improve your mental health, and we can help you. When you’re ready, reach out to a Lightfully Teen Admissions Concierge Coordinator. We can’t wait to meet you.

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