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.

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

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

What new possibilities await you in 2017?

Are you declaring 2017 to be a year for YOU?

Are you ready to step into your life in a way that is deeply aligned with your values?

Is a part of you feeling guilty that focusing more on YOU will mean focusing less on your teens?

I know that adults who are focused on their own growth and development are MORE aware of how they can support their teens in ways that are sustainable and lasting.

Go ahead- make this the year that YOU step into your own life, and get clear on your role in your teen’s life.

I’m here to help.

Happy New Year!

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!

JOY Detective

What makes you jump for joy?

When we told our 3 and 5 year old kids that we were going to get our Christmas tree, they literally jumped for joy! They jumped, and giggled, and looked at each other, which kept the jumping and giggling going for a few minutes, and my partner and I smiled, and laughed too. Joyful enthusiasm is contagious!

The opposite is also true. Sometimes it’s not “cool” to show true joyfulness. It’s as if JOY is a hallmark of the childish, ignorant or unintelligent.  Sometimes it seems that the only acceptable use of JOY in the teen world comes out as, [sarcasm] Oh, JOY! [eye rolling]

Even for adults, Joy might be remote. I’ll admit, Joy isn’t one of the emotions that I experience very often. I am often content, pleased, and grateful, but joy comes in such erratic bursts that I have to really take note when it happens. I’ve become a bit of a “joy detective”; I’m always on the lookout for what brings me a moment of joy. I have a “Joy Jar” on my kitchen counter. Whenever I have a joyful moment, I write it down on a slip of paper, and stuff it in the jar.

 

Here are a few moments from my “Joy Jar”

  • Dancing in the living room with our kids
  • Riding my bike on a beautiful fall day
  • My son playing with his toys as he sings “Everything is awesome”

These are the simple, sweet, wonderful moments that make my life worth living. Not only are those brief moments of joy so wonderful, but I can actually re-live them by writing them down and savouring the memory. When I’m feeling low in the joy department, I take a few papers out of the jar and read them over, a smile crosses my lips, and I know that I can continue on. Not only that, but I have a clear image of what actually brings me joy.

The old adage “what you look for, you will find” is so very true. When I’m planning my day, or my week, I’m wondering how I can create an opportunity for joy, instead of just letting it happen (or not). I know from experience that I’m more able to feel joy I I’ve spent some time taking care of my more uncomfortable emotions like anger and resentment. If I’ve given myself some time and space to process those emotions, I am more able to be present in the moment to experience JOY.

You don’t need to let your emotions happen to you. You don’t need to wait for joy to come along; you can create joy. I’m not talking about pumping yourself up, I’m talking about creating the conditions that will bring you joy. If you feel like joy is too much of a stretch, think about moments in your life that you’re grateful for. Make a list. Notice what qualities these moments share. Then ask yourself- how could I make these moments BETTER? Teens are great at this!

What would make a long car ride better- my favourite movie soundtrack!

What would make an obligatory family dinner better? If I could choose the restaurant!

What would make going to the grocery store better- if I could drive, the car, Mom!

Whether you’re a teen or a parent, become a joy detective in your own life. If joy feels too big, become a gratitude detective. Start noticing the moments that bring a smile to your face. When you really dig into what brings you joy, you’ll find ways to create those conditions more often.

What brings you joy?

 

With tidings of comfort and joy,

Deanne

P.S. If you’re serious about cultivating JOY in your life, and you’re excited about the idea of becoming a JOY DETECTIVE, I am here to support you! Book a call with me today to create you very own JOY DETECTIVE treasure map to find up what really lights you up inside!

 

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.