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.

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

UNSTOPPABLE CONFIDENCE for TEENS: Choosing ME Challenge!

Valentine’s Day brings a LOT of pressure for teens (and, quite frankly, for adults too!)

There is pressure to show your friends that you care, by giving them gifts of chocolate, or a thoughtful card, or supporting the leadership club’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser by having a flower delivered to their homeroom. (While you hold your breath and hope that they did the same thing for you. Is your BFF really your BFF?)

There is pressure to ask out your “crush”, or to tell your friends who your “crush” is (or to be constantly wondering if it’s safe to tell your best friend that your “crush” is someone of the same sex)

There’s pressure to ask someone out because the other kids are dating, or at least telling stories about dating.

There’s pressure to take the relationship you’re in to “the next level”.

There’s the constant worry that the relationship won’t work out, or maybe it will, and do you really want that?

Let’s take some of the pressure off, and focus on the TRUTH:

The ONLY relationship that you will have for your ENTIRE LIFE is the relationship you have with yourself.

So, how’s that going for you?

If you’d love to build UNSTOPPABLE CONFIDENCE in yourSELF

AND

Have a chance to play on Facebook and Instagram to win some cool prizes

Then I have the perfect opportunity for YOU!

CHOOSING ME 5-Day Instagram Challenge for teens (and adults too!)

In this FREE challenge you will receive

  • Daily video lessons to build your CONFIDENCE so you can TRUST yourself to make good decisions
  • Access to our EXCLUSIVE Gratitude Lounge Facebook Community
  • Daily strategic action items for you to do to figure out what it means to LOVE YOURSELF
  • The opportunity to WIN big prizes that will help you to nourish your inner life

Authentic CONFIDENCE happens when we know how to give ourselves what we need at the deepest level.

 

You have nothing to lose, and so much CONFIDENCE to gain!

I would LOVE to be your guide in this 5 day Choosing ME challenge to help you become your own best friend. The challenge begins on February 10th, so go ahead and

CLICK HERE to get started!

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

Finding Fulfillment in an Achievement-Driven World

What

What if you knew how to create

a fulfilling life for yourself

no matter what circumstances arise?

Teens are suffering from anxiety and depression in record numbers. Teens are under immense pressure to achieve high grades, high status in their social groups, and a long list of extra-curriculars. Parents are under pressure to perform at work, and to provide their teens with all the opportunities at sports, and dance, and drama, etc. etc., that they need to be “successful”. We are living in an achievement-driven world. We reward people for their athletic accomplishments, their physical appearance, their wealth, and their credentials. Many people who are admired for their talent, beauty, fame, and wealth are MISERABLE. So, the question is, how do we find fulfillment in an achievement-driven world?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t set goals. Everyone needs something that they are reaching for so they continue to grow and develop. Maybe, just maybe, all of this striving for something in the future needs to be balanced out by some time spent enjoying the moment.

How can I learn to enjoy the moment?

 

Stick with me, my friend, I’ll show you the way.

Parents, you need to show your teens that ADULT LIFE IS ENJOYABLE.

Teens, if you can learn to balance out striving for your goals with an ability to enjoy the moment, then you will have an AMAZING LIFE and save yourself from the anxiety and burn-out suffered by many of your peers, and the adults in your life.

What if you could really ENJOY your life?

 

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

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!

 

Helping teens manage the READING in high school

10

There is so much READING in high school!

It’s true. Most of the homework assigned in high school is READING. The amount of reading material that high school students have to get through in a short amount of time can be overwhelming. Trying to get through three chapters of biology, five chapters of a novel, and two sections of math every night can lead students to tears, avoidance, and overwhelm. The truth is, reading in high school is an endurance sport; both take skill, a daily commitment, a positive mindset, and a culture of achieving excellence.

As an English Literature teacher, I know this all too well. When we ask students to read a novel, it is like asking them to run a marathon. Most of the students I’ve worked with are walkers. We learned to walk long, long ago, and every day we walk to the car, up the stairs, and we are grateful for our functional walking ability. Students read every day. Teens are reading all the time; texts from their friends, articles on Facebook, ads on the internet, instructions on food packages. Just like some people enjoy a good weekend jog, some students might enjoy reading because they love a good story. And yet, people who walk and occasionally jog are not fit for a marathon.

When students enter an English Literature class in high school, we are asking them complete a marathon. Many students have not acquired the mindset for endurance. Even more, they know that they can read, and so they underestimate the amount of time and effort they need to continue to commit to reading.

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for this FREE 60 minute LIVE webinar,

High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades.

We’re going LIVE on Saturday, December 3rd  2016 at 11:00 am MST >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

I’ve pulled together my 14 years of teaching English Literature into this FREE webinar designed for teens who are ready to tackle the challenge of high school reading, and for parents who are wondering how to set their teens up for success. In High School Reading Mastery you’ll discover how to help teens:

  • Develop a solid reading schedule
  • Do the reading whether they “feel like it” or not
  • Read things they’re not interested in
  • Focus on short-term daily reading goals to get to the long-term goal of good grades
  • Create a culture of reading mastery

Click THIS LINK to access the registration page now for High School Reading Mastery. If you’re not available to attend LIVE on Dec 3rd, don’t worry!  Register today and you’ll get the link to the recording. This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Brain science shows that teens are not always skilled at long-term planning and anticipating the outcomes of their behaviour; teens need the support of adults to help them to plan for success. Please share this webinar with the teens and parents in your circles who are ready to make a difference. For your FREE access to High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades CLICK HERE