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.

Having the freedom to love

All the heart shaped chocolates in the stores these days reminded me of this e-interview that I did this past summer! I know that part of the process of growing up is figuring out who you are, and I know that the usual teen drama is amplified when teens are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, because there are so many people who haven’t ever thought about something other than their own experiences. I had the great fortune of connecting with the folks at Free2Luv, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to rockin’ individuality, celebrating equality, spreading kindness & standing up to bullying through arts & entertainment, and they were gracious enough to have both Tonya (President and Co-Founder of Free2Luv) AND a youth volunteer answer my questions!

How did Free2Luv begin?

1 out of every 3 children experience some form of bullying and 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school and online.  Further, 20% of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide.  As parents, Tonya and Kym Sandis believed this epidemic needed to stop and Free2Luv was born. “We know the scarring and lasting impact bullying has on our youth, robbing them of their innocence and emotionally stripping them of their well-being.  Coming from the entertainment industry, we understand the power the arts have to heal, uplift and empower and we utilize this platform to spread our mission of celebrating individuality, rockin’ kindness and standing up to bullying,” says Tonya, President and Co-Founder of Free2Luv.

How can shy teens show their peers that they can be free to love anyone they choose?

We like this question as it opens up the reason why we named our nonprofit Free2Luv.  We believe first and foremost, self-love is key, whether you are a teen, child or adult.  When you are confident in who you are and treat others with love and respect, you show everyone around you unconditional love.

“If a shy teen wants to advocate everyone’s freedom to love, I recommend they tap into their passion and share from their place of comfort.  This can be done through art, music, dance, sports, you name it.  We have had youth advocates share poems, art, stories, even their passion for race car driving and they have used it as a platform to spread LUV, kindness and compassion with others,” says Tonya.

“There are many LGBTQ+ groups, either at school or online, that are a great way to express yourself.  They are both a safe space and a place where you can share and be yourself. You can also talk about and share things that you love that are related to your identity; i.e. LGBTQ+ books, music, TV shows etc.,” says Free2Luv LGBT Teen Ambassador.

What can teens do if they are in a situation where it is not safe for them to share the message that love is love?

Safety is of the utmost importance.  If you feel that an environment is unsafe to share your message that love is love, find a supportive community and/or environment.  It could be a gay/straight alliance at school, an online organization such as ours or an informal community gathering.

“Find a safe space online.  There are so many people going through the same thing that want to share and speak out, but are not safe to do so in their home or where they live.  Finding a place online where you can be yourself and talk to others who are going through the same thing can help so much,” says LGBT Teen Ambassador.

What is the best part of being a teen in today’s society?

“As the Co-Founder of Free2Luv, I work with teens and youth daily and I’m so moved and impressed by how socially aware and conscious they are.  If we could focus on that every day instead of all the news we hear through the media and online, there are real, young inspirational people that are true game changers in the world and we are proud to hold hands with them.  There are so many wonderful vehicles today that offer youth a way to express their voice that weren’t available even 10 years ago, so it’s a really exciting time to be a teen.   And with that, also comes a big responsibility because as easy as it is to spread kindness, new technology can also be used in destructive ways to spread hate.  The age-old adage, treat others as you want to be treated, still applies.   We need to model kindness and compassion to create a kinder world for all,” says Tonya.

“Technology is a big part of why being a teenager today is amazing.  The ability to learn anything and learn quickly, the ability to talk to anyone anywhere in the world, the ability to hold the world in your pocket, the ability to be a part of a movement that is happening on the other side of the world and to speak out and stand up is amazing.

I think another, if not the most amazing part of being a teen today is that we are changing the world for the better every day.  We are passionate and we care about the world we live in.  We are using our voices and standing up for what is right.  It’s so important and wonderful,” says LGBT Teen Ambassador.

 What evidence of their work would the Free2luv team love to see in ten year’s time?

We would love to see thousands of advocates holding hands with us in communities around the world sharing our message of love, unity and the importance of kindness and compassion.  We are passionate about growing our empowerment events and workshops and reaching more and more communities throughout the U.S.  We are especially passionate about sharing our programs with underserved youth who may not normally have access to the type of programming we offer.  We know the power of one person to stand up and make a difference and for us, success is one more child becoming self-aware, standing up, speaking out and letting their voice be heard.  Will you join us?

check out www.free2luv.org for more details!

 

Looking for UNSTOPPABLE CONFIDENCE?

hey self”

“yeah”

“you suck”

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“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“tell me something you like about me”

“you, uh…well…”

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

“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“you suck”

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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

Show your teens some LOVE

I know you love your kids. I also know that sometimes you pour so much love into your kids that it hurts. It hurts because you’ve sacrificed  a lot of your time, money, and life force energy to support your kids.

It hurts your heart when you feel like you should’ve done more.

It hurts your heart when they don’t seem to appreciate all that you’ve done for them.

It hurts your heart when you give and give and give and feel so depleted.

This kind of giving is not sustainable.

So how do we figure out how to show them that we love them without depleting ourselves?

How often do you give YOURSELF the time, money, and life force energy and support that YOU need?

Even more than showing our teens that we love THEM, we need to show our teens that we love OURSELVES.

We need to love ourselves to model for our teens that they can love themselves.

The sooner we’re able to teach our children that it’s their job to figure out what they need, and to find a way to give it to themselves, the stronger our teens will be.

Teens who can fill themselves up are more confident and make healthier choices because they’re not looking for other people to give them the feelings they crave.

So, how can YOU start to show YOURSELF some love?

Let me just say it,

Self love feels selfish.

Whenever I schedule in some time just for me to do something that I enjoy (like have a long bath, or go for a walk by myself, or drink a cup of tea and look out the window), I feel like I’m taking time I could use to work, or be with my family, or run some errands. Once I realised that if I feel like I’ve been deeply nourished, then I can be more playful and present with my family when I’m with them, then I no longer felt like I was TAKING time, instead I was GIVING my family the best version of myself.

CAUTION. If you haven’t been taking some quality time for yourself, you will feel like you are a bottomless pit. After one blissful hour to yourself, you’ll feel like an hour isn’t enough. It will feel SO GOOD that you’ll worry that you’ll need more and more time away for yourself.  You’ll feel like you could just check in to a hotel for a few days and then…just…never…go…home.

Don’t worry. That’s just a signal that you need to schedule more time for yourself, and once you get the hang of incorporating time for yourself into your schedule, you’ll realise how NECESSARY this time is to be at your best. Once you’ve started giving yourself the time, and space, and emotional availability to listen to your deepest needs, you’ll have a greater sense of clarity around what YOU need, and what your family needs.

Of course, you will go home, because you’ll start missing your family. You’ll remember all the quirky and wonderful things you love about them and you’ll be interested in what they have to say. What an amazing gift for your family to have you back with them with love in your heart for yourself, and for them.

When we give ourselves love, then giving love to others is no longer depleting, it is sustainable because we have a better sense of clarity around how to best show our family that we love them.

With love,

Deanne

P.S. What would really nourish you on a deep level? Jump on the phone with me for 30 minutes and we can create an amazing plan that will have your LOVE levels so high, you’ll have love to give! CLICK HERE to connect with me!

Processing emotions for a PEACEFUL heart

What gives you mental PEACE?

The other day I had a rare opportunity to sleep in. I could sleep for another hour, but my mind wouldn’t let me. My head was just too full of spinning thoughts to have any chance of falling back to sleep. So I went downstairs to the treadmill and ran. The rhythmic motion of my body and the exertion of elevating my heart rate moved my anxiety out of my head, through my legs and arms, and OUT. After my run I was able to look at my to-do list with a solution driven-mindset, instead of looking at it through a lens of anxiety. None of my problems went away. What DID go away was the anxiety that was blocking me from taking the next step toward my goals.

I don’t love to run. I’m not an athletic person. But I have realised that physical activity is ONE of the ways for me to process my emotions so that I can have PEACE of mind. When I haven’t exercised, I start feeling worried and stressed.

This awareness did not come to me overnight. It wasn’t until I started developing a mindfulness practice that I became aware of the signals that my body and mind were sending to me that I needed to process my emotions.  I needed to NOTICE my emotions (and not just hide them) before I could learn how to process them. By learning to take small moments to actually BE in the present moments, I’ve learned to notice what I’m feeling. Before mindfulness, my emotions were like a beach ball that I was trying to hide under water. It took a lot of energy to keep pushing my emotions under the surface, and inevitably, I would get tired, and POP! Up surfaced all the emotions I’d been trying to hide, usually at a time when I was NOT prepared to handle them. When my anger and frustration and resentment popped to the surface, EVERYONE noticed my emotions, I would cry, or snap at my kids or my partner, or internally fume with resentment. Yikes! I’d think. How did I get here? Why did that one little thing set me off?

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to notice how I’m feeling at multiple points throughout the day so I can acknowledge my emotions and take care of them before they build up. It’s not that I don’t feel frustrated or angry anymore, it’s that I notice those emotions sooner, so I can identify WHY I’m feeling that way, and do something about it.

Here’s how YOU can start to notice your emotions:

  • Take three deep breaths and ask yourself “How am I feeling right now?”
  • Sit for 2 minutes and look out the window and tune in to your emotions
  • Write out your to-do list and then ask yourself “How does this list make me feel?”
  • Look at the emojis on your phone and ask yourself “What am I feeling?”

Once you’ve established WHAT you’re feeling, you need to figure out how to PROCESS that feeling.

How do you process your emotions?

  • Do you MOVE? Breathe deeply, talk, dance, run, kickbox, wrestle.
  • Do you use WORDS? Talk with friends, write in a journal.
  • Do you escape into STORIES? Watch a good movie, play video games, read a good book, or watch sports to go on an emotional journey so you can feel the range of your emotions.

After you’ve taken some time processing your emotions, you can reflect from a more resourceful mindset about what got you into that highly charged state. This is the time when you might need to take action in your life by making a phone call, scheduling some time for yourself, or setting a boundary. This way, you are truly responding to the circumstances of your life.

The skill of NOTICING your emotions and the skill of PROCESSING your emotions are critical for teens who are experiencing their emotions on high volume. Often we feel like our emotions are happening TO us, when in reality, our emotions are moving THROUGH us, to give us information about what we need to attend to in our lives. The more adults who can remind teens that their emotions give them VALUABLE INFORMATION, and the more adults who can help teens find a way to PROCESS their emotions, the more resourceful our teens will become. Teens will understand that their emotions aren’t happening TO them, they are happening FOR them to pay attention to their needs.

A peaceful heart can be cultivated by noticing and processing your emotions.

Teens finding HOPE amidst despair

Does your teen dare to hope?

Teens are reporting higher levels of anxiety, stress and overwhelm each year; despair looms larger than hope. Many of my students feel like everything has already been thought, it has already been said, and they wonder what they could possibly contribute to the world. In this disconnected and isolated space, hope becomes a radical proposition. I’ve heard from many parents who are worried because their teen DOESN’T have any hopes or dreams.

So, how do we nurture our children’s hopes and dreams? How do we hold open the door of possibility?

Hope is all about having a new perspective. It is about seeing the evidence in the present moment that good things are on their way in the future. My students who have been involved in service projects or community groups all see evidence that that their presence is valuable.  Whether they volunteered at a Senior’s home, spent time babysitting small children, or volunteered at a community event, they all report feeling connected to the people they serve, and knowing that their presence makes a difference. Teens need to see evidence of their efforts being worthwhile. If they can see the face of a child or a senior light up, they have the undeniable instant feedback that THEY MATTER. This is just one way of providing our teens with the HOPE that their life will continue to matter.

Another powerful way of nurturing dreams and cultivating hope is through inspiring stories. In October I have the incredible honour of interviewing Mark Black for the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series.

Mark Black is a man who knows about hope. At age 23 Mark faced an unimaginable challenge; His doctor informed him that his heart was failing. Without a rare and dangerous heart and double-lung transplant he would not see his 25th birthday. Three years later, after receiving his second chance at life, Mark ran his first marathon. Since then, Mark has gone on to run more marathons, develop a successful career, and raise a family. Mark Black, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a Heart and Double-Lung Transplant Recipient, 4-time marathoner, resilience expert, speaker, and coach. Mark helps people “Thrive in Challenging Times”.  A Certified Speaking Professional, Mark has inspired more than 100,000 people in more than 350 presentations. CLICK HERE for the interviews

Not only is telling stories of hope about other people important, but as you’ll see from Mark’s interviews, the stories we tell ourselves are also critically important. One of my favourite take-aways from these interviews was Mark’s question about “which bucket are you rummaging around in?” which is really his metaphor for asking which stories we are telling ourselves, about ourselves, most often. One of the most powerful themes of the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series is the importance of training your mind to focus on thoughts that are helpful and life-affirming. When we can tell ourselves the best version of our story, we can dare to dream about a compelling future ahead.

CLICK HERE to enjoy this video encore with Mark Black. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to dream a bigger dream.

Expand.

Open the door to possibility.

Think bigger.

HOPE

Holiday Harmony With Your Teens

I know that the pressure is ON for everyone in these last few weeks of December.

The holidays are supposed to be a time to connect with family and friends, but sometimes, the tension is so high that these are the days of the most frustration, resentment, and disappointment. Our teens are riding the rollercoaster of emotions as they are reminded that one more year has passed, and the regular family holiday traditions that they once enjoyed don’t give them the same feelings anymore. If you want HARMONY with your teens this holiday, give yourself the gift of one hour to truly prepare for the holidays.

You’re invited to Holiday Harmony With Your Teens, a free 75 minute RETREAT webinar designed to get your out of overwhelm and into what is really important. Together we’ll explore HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE and how those qualities can help you create a lasting connection with your teens.

Holiday Harmony With Your Teens is available until December 23rd.

CLICK HERE to watch.

With tidings of comfort and joy,

Deanne

Just for today, I will be grateful

I can’t commit to being happy all the time, but I can commit to being grateful, one day at a time. In fact, it is my daily commitment to gratitude that keeps me going…

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To read this entire blog post, CLICK HERE

You’ll be lovingly re-directed to Lunaholistic, which is an amazing online resource, and Calgary’s Reiki Centre in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’ve always had a commitment to gratitude in my life but I really became committed to gratitude in a deeper way when I met Geneva Robins, my meditation teacher and Reiki Master. I wouldn’t be where and who I am now if it hadn’t crossed paths with Geneva’s non-stop enthusiasm and gently powerful presence.

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