Resilient Teen

Let’s face it, teens are amazing explorers and life adventurers, and sometimes that gets them into trouble. The teenage brain thrives on new experiences to grow, and so teens are hardwired to experiment. But some experiments come with high risk, and current brain science is telling us that  teens are not great at assessing risk and anticipating the consequences of their actions.

As adults, we want to both encourage our teen’s adventurous spirit AND protect them from making damaging mistakes. Perhaps more importantly, when our teens inevitably find themselves in a difficult situation, we want them to learn how to work through it, so that they can build their own problem solving skills.

After all, didn’t YOU make some pretty big mistakes as a teen?

We all did.

The difference between our teenage mistakes and the mistakes of this generation, is the added impact of our children’s mistakes being broadcast far and wide on social media, with devastating consequences for both teens and their families. Our digital connections can be an amazing opportunity, and also a heavy burden. Teens also see the glossy, filtered, photo-shopped, perfect snapshot version of other’s lives on social media, and they are comparing how their life FEELS with how everyone else’s life LOOKS.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’ve spent 14 years as a High School teacher, and working with teens every day taught me that my students were under incredible stress and pressure to do, and be, and have it all. Under this intense pressure there was no room for failure, so some students took themselves out of the game completely by skipping school. Others attended school but had an attitude of “I don’t care”, “this is stupid”, or “It doesn’t matter”, or suffered silently with their own devastating inner thoughts and tried to be invisible.

Teens are reporting higher rates of anxiety each year, which is not surprising when we hear how teens feel overwhelmed by the amount of information at their disposal, compare themselves to countless others on social media, and feel like everything has already been said and done. All of these pressures ON TOP OF the usual ups and downs of being a teenager requires all of us to think differently about how we support teens today.

I’ve been wondering,

How can we support critical thinkers instead of direction followers?

How can we provide support to teens, while still allowing them to figure things out on their own?

How can we support RESILIENCE in youth?

To answer these questions, I’ve joined with over 21 thought leaders to bring you an online conference dedicated to supporting RESILIENT teens. The interviews are REAL, short, and to the point CONVERSATIONS with teens, parents, entrepreneurs, coaches, and mentors, who share their own story of resilience, and what they’re doing now to make things a little but easier for others to move through their own hardships. CLICK HERE to grab access!

It’s called Resilient Teen: Supporting independence, confidence, and resourcefulness in teens.

It is FREE for you to attend. You can grab access using THIS LINK

This event is FOR TEENS who want to know how to overcome the tough times, and FOR PARENTS who want to understand how to set teens up for success in school AND life.

You can watch each 30 minute video from your laptop or mobile device, so you will have STRATEGIES and INSPIRATION at your fingertips.

Here is what we’re talking about in the video interviews:

  • Developing a positive MINDSET to learn from past mistakes
  • How to walk through TEEN DEPRESSION with renewed purpose
  • How CONNECTING with their school community helps youth develop resilience
  • How teens can THRIVE even when they don’t complete high school
  • The KEY SKILLS of resilience and how to teach them to your teen
  • How PARENTS can be a supportive resource to their teens

CLICK HERE NOW to gain complimentary access to the experts starting on MAY 1, 2017

I’m excited to share these videos with you!

Deanne

P.S. Psychologists are telling us that one key to resilience for teens AND adults is being CONNECTED to a community who can support you through your difficult times.

You are invited to join us in  The Gratitude Lounge Facebook group. During the month of May, the lounge will be buzzing with conversation about the Resilient Teen interviews. Whether you’re a teen, parent, grandparent, teacher, if you’re interested in supporting teens, or learning about resilience, CLICK HERE TO JOIN us on Facebook.

 

 

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.

How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

Have you seen the November cover of Time magazine?

My heart dropped into my stomach when I picked up a copy of November’s Time magazine with the headline, “Anxiety, Depression and the American Adolescent”. I couldn’t help but think of the 15 year old student who told me so matter-of-factly about her sister’s recent recovery from cutting. Then I thought about all the times that a student would be absent from my class for a few days before I got an e-mail from the school councellor telling me that the student had been hospitalised for mental health reasons.  Time magazine’s November issue is highlighting what those of us who work with youth have known for a long time. Our youth are not doing well, and it’s not just THEIR problem, it’s OUR problem. The epidemic of youth depression and anxiety is a signal that we need to change…but where do we begin?

copy-of-copy-of-the-resilient-teen-blueprint

Many of you were wanting to know more about teen resilience, so I’ve created a 50 minute webinar for you to hear more about what we can actually do to impact the lives of teens.

Click THIS LINK to join me for The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

 

I offered 50 minutes of FREE training LIVE on Monday, November 21 at  7:30pm MST and npw you can watchthe replay!

Click THIS LINK to access the replay.

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Our teens need us now more than ever. Please share this invitation with the teens and teen supporters in your circles who are ready to make a difference. To watch the replay of The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful CLICK HERE

How can we support “wellness” for high school students?

img_1130I’ve been teaching high school English Language Arts in the province of Alberta, Canada, for the past 14 years. In 2009, Alberta Education developed a definition of wellness which states :

Wellness is a balanced state of emotional, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual well-being that enables students to reach their full potential in the school community. Personal wellness occurs with commitment to lifestyle choices based on healthy attitudes and actions.  (2015, Alberta Education,   Framework for K to 12 Wellness Education  )

Alberta Education has divided Wellness into five categories,

  1. emotional wellness,
  2. social wellness,
  3. intellectual wellness,
  4. physical wellness
  5. spiritual wellness

In the past number of years, I’ve been working with my teaching colleagues on wellness initiatives that address each of these categories within high school classrooms, which for me included incorporating meditation and self-reflection into my English courses.  The heart of wellness education is not just for students to learn about the concepts of wellness, but to create a culture of wellness where students can have experiences and opportunities to practice making choices that are good for their health.  This clear focus on Wellness Education inspired me to step outside the classroom and create a 25 day online speaker summit, LIT FROM WITHIN: Connecting teens to their own inner resources for success in school AND life, which was available in October 2016. LIT FROM WITHIN directly addresses  the questions faced by high school youth and their parents as they reach for a life of making healthy decisions.  Here are each of the five categories of wellness as they are defined by Alberta Education, with the questions I’ve posed in the interviews on LIT FROM WITHIN.

Emotional wellness is acknowledging, understanding, managing and expressing thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner.

  • Do you hate spending time alone because of the thoughts in your head?
  • Wishing you were prettier/taller/stronger/cooler?
  • Are you tying yourself in knots trying to think your way into feeling differently?
  • Which is worse: the guilt of cheating, or the shame of not feeling like you’re enough?
  • Are you willing to break down your fears and learn about yourself?
  • Do you have ALL THE SELF CONFIDENCE YOU COULD EVER WANT?
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious?
  • What is meditation, and how can it help me?
  • Are you tying yourself in knots trying to think your way into feeling differently?

Social Wellness is relating positively to others and is influenced by many factors including how individuals communicate, establish and maintain relationships, are treated by others and interpret that treatment.

  • Does everyone else’s life on Facebook and Twitter look better than yours?
  • Are you wondering how to find a mentor?
  • Have you been world schooling without knowing it?
  • Do you have the travel bug?
  • Are you tired of people asking what you’re going to do after high school?

Intellectual Wellness is the development and the critical and creative use of the mind to its fullest potential.

  • Do you have great ideas but struggle to get things done?
  • Do you know that there are scientific reasons that teens still need their parents?
  • What kind of person do you want to be on, and off the web?
  • How can we set limits for our technology use, and why would we want to?
  • How do we go from knowing something to ACTUALLY doing it?
  • What are you curious about? Do you even know HOW to be curious?
  • Why are so many “successful” people so miserable…and how to avoid that trap!
  • Are you waiting to get out of school and into the “real world”?
  • Study-distraction-stress, how do I get out of this cycle?
  • How do I move closer to my goals?
  • What is actually happening in my brain when I learn?
  • Do you every feel like your brain has been hijacked and you’re doing things that just “aren’t you”?

Physical Wellness is the ability, motivation and confidence to move effectively and efficiently in a variety of situations, and the healthy growth, development, nutrition and care of the body.

  • What is sugar doing to your body and mind?
  • How can you actually develop self-compassion for your body?

Spiritual wellness is an understanding of one’s own values and beliefs leading to a sense of meaning or purpose and a relationship to the community.

  • What story do you believe about yourself?
  • What is possible in the midst of your difficulty?
  • What lights you up? What inspires you?
  • When did you feel like you were at your best?
  • Why is passion so important for young leaders?
  • How can I learn to trust myself to make decisions from the heart?

Through the 25 days of LIT FROM WITHIN, participants not only learned about the brain science of adolescence, and immersed themselves in a culture of inspiration and strategies to develop confidence in making healthy choices, they also had 5 different mindful meditation experiences as a way to kick-start a life-long practice of cultivating a sense of wellbeing.

Gratitudeworks is committed to developing support and resources for teens, parents, and teachers to develop a culture of wellness in the lives of individuals, within families, and in classrooms.

Book a 15 minute strategy call today to get one step closer to THRIVING in high school!