She knows that teens are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and perfectionism and encouraging them to develop their strengths and see beyond themselves can help boost their self-esteem.
She keeps having all kinds of negative thoughts that are becoming more common with other teens in homes and schools. Her anxiety is increasing daily and she finds herself becoming more perfectionistic over time, measuring herself against unrealistic standards.
"Why is this happening?" She says. She can’t say for sure—but she knows there are steps teens can take to improve their mental health.
She reads about a 2018 study of early adolescents suggesting that self-concept (your perception of self) plays a central role in emotional well-being. According to the study, a supportive classroom environment and positive social relationships also affect teen well-being—but the impact is indirect. Positive self-concept seems to be the key variable in the well-being equation. If a student feels good about herself, then she may be more likely to connect with others and benefit from the supports provided at school.She decides to take some steps to help herself out and see if she would feel good about herself eventually.
She Gets Physical
She remembers quite well that kids really can benefit from regular exercise (especially when their tendency is to sit in front of a screen). Apparently, the exercise setting also matters. Students who participated in supervised activities in schools or gymnasiums reported more significant growth in self-esteem than those who exercised at home and in other settings.
Obviously, she knows that adolescents’ self-concept is most strongly linked to their sense of physical attractiveness and body image, an area where many girls struggle.
So, she encourages herself to do more regular exercise programs during and after school, and support team sports, strength training, running, yoga, and swimming—not just for their effects on her body but on her mind, as well. Getting out and engaging in some form of exercise made her feel stronger, healthier, and more empowered. She Focused on self-compassion (not self-esteem)
She decided to do this because self-esteem is a global evaluation of one's overall worth, it has its dangers. What am I achieving? Am I good enough? How do I compare with my peers?
What would happen if she could stop judging herself? She read a research by Kristen Neff that claims that self-compassion—treating yourself with kindness, openness, and acceptance—is a healthy alternative to the incessant striving and performance orientation often tied up with self-esteem.In her study of adolescents and young adults, she found that participants with higher self-compassion demonstrated greater well-being. Why? They were okay with their flaws, acknowledged that they struggled just like those around them (“Everybody makes mistakes; you are not alone”), and treated themselves with the same kindness they would extend to a friend (“It’s okay; you did your best”). This helped her understand her own worth better.She also decided to avoid social comparison and capitalize on specific skills, help others(especially strangers).
Now this beautiful girl realizes that when teens regularly contribute to a larger cause, they learn to think beyond themselves, which may ultimately help them to be more positive, empowered, and purposeful. And as many teens like herself struggle with anxiety and perfectionism,the urge of others may be to jump in and fix their problems, whatever they perceive them to be.
But a better approach, one that will hopefully help reverse these worrying trends, is to cheer them on as they develop the mental habits and strengths that will support them throughout their lives.
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