Empowering Resilient Teens: My interview with Andrea Zacharias

Are you wondering how to help your teen to be more resilient?

The KEY is to empower your teen! That means that as parents, we need to be more informed about where our teens really need our guidance, and where we can let go, just a little!

Over the summer my colleague, Andres Zacharias at The Empowered Teen, interviewed me for her Raising Successful Teens Global Summit.

In this interview, I share MY best tools and strategies for empowering your teen to build resilience and confidence so they can achieve success!

Want to learn more about how to empower YOUR teen to be resilient?

CLICK HERE to book your FREE 30 minute call with me, and we’ll create an action plan for YOU!

Time management tool for DISTRACTED teens!

Teens are more easily distracted than ever!

Once they reach high school, they’re expected to be able to study at home, on their own.

As a teacher, I know that by this time in September many high school students are struggling to keep up with their studies. Teens struggle with time management!

It is SO frustrating (for teachers and parents) to watch teens slap together last-minute work, procrastinate, or stay up late sacrificing their sleep in order to complete their work. These tactics do not lead to academic success or mental health!

The truth is that many teens have poor time management skills because:

  1. There are many tasks that they’ve never done before, so they can’t estimate the time it will take
  2. They are highly distractible (even college-aged students!)
  3. They need someone to SHOW them how to manage their time

Time management is SO CRITICAL for teens to learn so that they can create healthy habits for life, and achieve the success that they desire. Teens need to learn how to schedule in their work, so that they also have some time for PLAY (which seems like slacking off, but which actually nurtures their creativity so their school work and their problem solving abilities improve).

We all wish that teens wouldn’t be SO distractible, but the reality is that THEY ARE!

Living a mindful life is all about noticing, without judging. Instead of judging ourselves (or our teens) for being highly distractible, we need to acknowledge this distractibility and work with it!

Research Psychologist and Professor Emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills,  Dr. Larry Rosen taught me that teens need to work WITH their distractibility. I was so inspired by my conversation with Dr. Rosen, and his research on how teens study, that I created this planner for teens to use.  It’s a time management tool I call

The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens

Knowing how long it’s going to take to get through a few chapters of a bio textbook, or a novel for English class is key to balancing school work with a social life, or any kind of life! Take the guesswork out of reading with The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens.

CLICK HERE to grab a copy for your teen!

Here’s to your teen’s academic success!

Deanne

P.S. I’ve never met a teen who didn’t want to be successful. They just don’t always know how to be successful, and they don’t always BELIEVE that the smallest steps in the right direction can and will add up to success down the road. This tool can help teens to learn that small steps do result in BIG success!

The effect of 9/11 on today’s teens

16 years ago the world watched as two planes flew into New York’s World Trade Centre, and we heard the stories of the victims, heroes, and terrorists. We watched as communities coped with the unexpected, shared tragic loss, and suffered through weeks, months, and years of knowing that life for them would never be the same.

Our teens have grown up in an era of TERROR.

It’s easy to dismiss this idea and tell ourselves that our babies and toddlers weren’t affected, but the truth is that 16 years ago the “unthinkable” happened; each of us has had to re-calculate our world view after the events of 9/11, and that shift has had a profound effect on our children. TERROR has been a part of our culture in a real and tangible way.

As a resilience coach, I wonder,

How can we be resilient in the face of extreme fear?

Since the 1970’s, psychologists have agreed that resilient people believe that they can do something to manage their feelings.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CAN HELP YOU TO MANAGE YOUR FEELINGS!

Teens are reporting higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression every year.

We NEED to teach our teens how to manage their feelings.

We NEED to teach our teens to be present in the moment so that instead of numbing their emotions with food, Instagram, video games, homework and basketball practice, they can actually FEEL their emotions so that they can MOVE THROUGH THEM.

When we don’t process our emotions, when we don’t allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, we’re not able to make the best decisions for ourselves, we’re not in touch with our divine gifts, and we’re at risk for developing disease.

So today, give yourself 5 minutes to just let your emotions flow. Get curious about what you’re feeling in the moment. Let that be enough.

I found a virtual waterfall for you! CLICK HERE to give yourself a quiet 5 minute retreat space, and just listen to the flowing water as you let your emotions flow.

If you find this exercise difficult, just tell yourself “Everything is OK right now”, because if you’re sitting in a safe plae listening to a waterfall, you are not in imminent danger.

Here’s to your wellness: body, mind, and spirit!

Deanne

Back to School Stress

Are you feeling the fall pressure?

Does your calendar ALREADY look completely packed?

Instead of falling into the old patterns of overwork and overwhelm from years past, take some time to make the bold commitment to

DO THIS YEAR DIFFERENTLY.

I’m challenging you to schedule time in your calendar for DOING NOTHING. Schedule in some time every day (10-20 minutes) and a larger chunk of time each week (1-3 hours) when you don’t have a “to-do” list to accomplish.

This is a time to do only what you WANT to do. Do what you’re inspired to do IN THE MOMENT. Sit down, drink a cup of tea, draw, stretch, lay on your bed and listen to music.

Stick to your commitment of allowing yourself this down time (this is for teens AND parents!)

Here’s why: when we give ourselves time to stop, breathe, decompress, rest, and listen to what we need in the moment, our rested mind and body is able to make clearer decisions the rest of the day (so we actually end up saving time!)

Can I tell you a quick story about doing things differently?

Last weekend I ran a 10 K race. There was a woman ahead of me who would run, then slow down to a walk, then run again. I had used this strategy in my training, but on race day I was committed to running at a strong pace for the entire race. I was SO FRUSTRATED that this woman was actually moving at the same pace as me!

Here’s the lesson: We fool ourselves into feeling like we need to push-push-push all day long to be productive and successful, when in fact, varying our pace allows us to use our energy more efficiently, and gives us some much needed VARIETY in our lives so we don’t get burned out from the push.

Give yourself the gift of taking a break EVERY DAY!

 

You are WORTH IT!

Deanne

Suicide Prevention

A teen in my neighbourhood took her own life over a week ago. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and her school community who is grieving her loss and wondering what they could have done to prevent her death.

Just today I met a woman who recently lost her son, who took his own life. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to go through each day knowing that your child is gone. And wondering what you could have done, if you had only known what was REALLY going on in your child’s mind. This is every parent’s worst nightmare.

In Canada, suicide is the second highest cause of death for youth aged 10-24.

Suicide prevention isn’t a term that I use often because it evokes our fear of losing those closest to us, however, for some parents and teens that fear is very real.

Suicide prevention strategies might seem like something that only a few people, in very extreme situations, or teens labelled as “high risk” might need.

Today, I’m inviting you to think differently about suicide prevention by thinking about your own Mental Health.

Mental Health is important for EVERYONE because we all face difficult periods in our life. The loss of a family member, losing a job, divorce, having to move, all of these stressers have an impact on our mental health. The pressure on adolescents to be successful at school and be successful socially is intense, and teens don’t always have the understanding that their difficult times are only temporary.

I know that many teens roll their eyes when we talk about mental health in schools, because they feel like it doesn’t affect them. Or their deep shame about  their own internal dialogue prevents them from reaching out for support.

This is why we NEED to embed mental health education in the high school curriculum.

As an English Language Arts specialist, I know that literature allows us an amazing opportunity to explore the thoughts and behaviours of fictional characters to open an continue on a conversation about mental health that can last weeks and months, instead of minutes or an hour.

Understanding mental health through fictional characters also helps us understand that mental health is not an individual issue, but that there are environmental, social, and physiological factors that can impact our mental health.

Mindfulness practice is also a way for students AND teachers to learn the strategies necessary for checking in on their own thoughts, and learning to shift their thoughts in a way that supports their mental health. Whether you’re a teen, or an adult, EVERYONE needs to check in with the thoughts they’re having on a consistent basis. Mindfulness practice gives you that time and space to check in with your thoughts.

The Canadian Mental Health Association describes 5 characteristics of Mental Health, which are

  1. Ability to enjoy life
  2. Resilience
  3. Balance
  4. Self-Actualization
  5. Flexibility

CLICK HERE to take the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Health Meter to really check in with your own mental health. Only YOU really know your heart and mind.

You deserve a life that FEELS GOOD!

Yours in mental health,

Deanne

P.S. The first step is admitting your mental health status to yourself. The next step is reaching out for support. For immediate, 24 hour support call kids help line.

The real reason why I started Gratitudeworks

I’ve spent 14 years working with teens EVERY DAY as a high school English Literature ( or as we say here in Calgary, English Language Arts) teacher.

In my local school district, students have been reporting increasing levels of anxiety and depression each year. In my last semester of full time classroom teaching, two of my students were hospitalised for their mental health. It was then that I realised that my purpose was no longer to be a classroom teacher, but to teach teens, parents and teachers how to incorporate strategies into their lives that would support their mental health.

We’re all so busy, worried, frustrated, and overwhelmed and

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

I’m on a mission to transform the lives of teens and parents LIKE YOU through

SIMPLE

DOABLE

SUSTAINABLE practices to improve the quality of YOUR LIFE.

Mindfulness is one of those practices.

I know that going to a concrete building swarming with teens can wear you down! Mindfulness practices, whether that is quietly drinking a cup of tea, or sitting for meditation for 5 minutes, or 20 minutes,  are what have sustained me in the busyness of school for years. Research has shown that mindfulness practice is effective in improving sleep, lowering stress, and improving self-compassion. No only do our thought about ourselves improve, but our perspective about life shifts to be more positive with mindfulness.

In October 2016, I interviewed Dr. Dzung Vo, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. Dr Vo  has created a mindfulness based stress reduction program for TEENS as a response to the stress and depression that he is seeing in his teenage patients in Vancouver, Canada.

If you’ve got 3 minutes, I invite you to CLICK HERE and watch the video on Dr Vo’s mindfulness for teens website, the video is called “Youth Voices” where you’ll hear from REAL TEENS about how mindfulness has transformed their lives.

On his website, Dr. Vo also shares REE DOWNLOADABLE GUIDED MEDITATIONS

If you don’t have time to try some of these meditations right now, just pull out your calendar and schedule in 15 minutes later today to check them out.

You deserve a life that FEELS GOOD!

Be well,

Deanne

 

 

TIME magazine’s got Mindfulness covered!

MINDFULNESS: The new science of health and happiness is the title of TIME magazine’s most recent special edition.

If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of tuning in to the power of the present moment, just flip through the mag and you’ll read about how mindfulness can help to:

Save yourself from stress

Help students “get an edge” in the classroom with sharper thinking and more self-control

Boost kindness

Rest your brain from multitasking

Improve sleep

Release happy chemicals(endorphins) in the brain

Help your digestion

Reduce pain symptoms and migraines

WOW!

Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation are also being embraced by hospitals to help patients heal and manage pain, as well as major corporations such as Nike and Google to help with employee productivity (a happy employee is a productive, creative, and engaged employee).

It’s true that paying attention to the present moment, using all of your senses is SO SIMPLE. But it’s also so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of life that we overlook the power of SLOWING DOWN, and FOCUSING IN on just ONE THING

One breath

One sound

One beautiful sunrise.

I hope you’ll find at least 5 minutes today to savour the present moment and focus in on just ONE THING.

“Mindfulness is about putting down our juggling balls for a little bit. It’s about embracing the beauty of monotasking” – Mary Elizabeth Williams

 

Be well,

Deanne

Teens choose electric shock over spending time alone!

I was just reading Growing Up Mindful by Clinical Psychologist Christopher Willard,  and I was SHOCKED (forgive the pun) when I read that, “A recent study found that young men would rather receive ten minutes of low-level electric shocks than spend ten minutes alone with their thoughts, without electronics” (pg 3, Growing Up Mindful)

This is the heartbreaking truth for many of our teens today: They would rather CHECK OUT with social media, shopping, eating, drugs, etc, than CHECK IN with their own thoughts and emotions.

WHY? Because they have never been TAUGHT how to CHECK IN, and SHIFT their thoughts and emotions.

Checking in with your own thoughts and emotions is a CRITICAL SKILL for life which generates:

  • Authentic CONFIDENCE
  • Healthy BOUNDARIES
  • Healthy DECISION MAKING
  • EMPOWERMENT

If you are a TEEN, or the parent of a TEEN, It’s time to learn how to

CHECK IN to your authentic confidence (this doesn’t mean taking over the room, it means knowing what you stand for and not second-guessing yourself)

CHECK IN to your POWER and WISDOM

You’re invited to CHECK IN to Power Centers: Unlock the power of your LEGENDARY SELF by learning to CHECK IN not CHECK OUT

This 8 week program will guide you step-by-step through a process of CHECKING IN with yourself

CLICK HERE to register

In this 8 week series, you’ll learn how to

  1. Accept yourself
  2. Balance Creativity and Discipline
  3. Develop Authentic Confidence
  4. Love yourself
  5. Speak UP
  6. Trust yourself
  7. Connect to your Purpose
  8. Set Healthy Boundaries

I’m SO excited to share this with you!

CLICK HERE to grab your spot!

With gratitude for YOU!

Deanne

P.S. We start on Tuesday, February 21st, so don’t delay! CLICK HERE to register

What’s your current AWESOMENESS level?

Have you ever wondered how some people manage to just be so AWESOME?

DO you sometimes wish for a user’s manual to YOUR life?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to tap into your LEGENDARY SELF?

You know, the parts of you that are the most awesome, the most funny, the most talented, and to make your decisions from the centre of your own awesomeness?

If you’re ready to UNLOCK the POWER of your LEGENDARY SELF, then join me for a FREE webinar training to take the first steps to YOUR authentic power.

Saturday, February 18th at 9:00 am PT

CLICK HERE to register for YOUR LEGENDARY SELF: Rock solid strategies to live YOUR life not someone else’s

In this webinar you’ll learn the first steps in

1.       Accepting yourself

2.       Balancing Creativity and Discipline

3.       Developing Authentic Confidence

4.       Loving yourself

5.       Speaking UP

6.       Trusting yourself

7.       Connecting to your Purpose

8.       Setting Healthy Boundaries

I’m SO excited to share this with you!

CLICK HERE to grab your spot!

With love,

Deanne

Looking for UNSTOPPABLE CONFIDENCE?

hey self”

“yeah”

“you suck”

****************************

“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“tell me something you like about me”

“you, uh…well…”

*****************************

“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“you suck”

***************************

Get OUT of this cycle of thought and turn that inner critic into your inner coach.

Join me for HEART POWER for teens: Transform your inner critic into your inner coach for authentic confidence.

This is a 3 part webinar series.January 31, February 7, February 14, 2017

CLICK HERE to register

I look forward to seeing you there!

Deanne