Tips on How to be Mentally Healthy
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
By Valeri Guevarra, Founder of Teen Health 101
Many teens may say that they have "no time" to care about their mental health, but the truth is that it is just as important as physical health. Below are some simple ways to stay mentally healthy specifically designed for teens.
Talk about your feelings Whether it be a friend, parent, sibling, or guardian, talking about your emotions is extremely important as it allows you to be supported when you are under stress or faced with a conflict. This is especially important for when coping with traumatic events, such as death or trauma. You do not need to ask your parents to hire a therapist, simply being open with your parents or friends about how you feel will suffice.
Stay physically active
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two are actually connected in a way. Studies have shown that physical exercise releases endorphins in the brain that promote happiness and positivity. Exercise also helps boost one's self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep and feel better. Join a sport or go to the gym with friends are just some of the many options.
This topic is discussed in depth on the nutrition page, but maintaining a healthy and balance diet is linked to healthy minds. Go to the grocery store with your parents to help maintain a healthy diet. This can help you connect to your parents and ensure that good food goes into your body. Score!
Avoid alcohol and drugs
This tip seems obvious, but still needs to be mentioned. Drinking and taking drugs are often done to deal with loneliness and fear and are temporary solutions to emotional conflicts that can be solved. Once the drug or drink wears off, those negative feelings remain and do not disappear, and you are back to square one.
Maintain healthy relationships
Having healthy relationships helps you regulate and handle the stresses of everyday life. This advice goes hand in hand with talking to others. Friends and family are one of the important parts of your life at a teenager; it is important to regard them as such. Be honest in your relationships; let these people know how you feel.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Whenever you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, always reach out to others around you. Let them know how you are feeling. Bottling emotions up is never a permanent solution and often leads to more anxiety. Whether it be a teacher, guidance councilor, or best friend, never be afraid of reaching out to those around you.
This is especially important for teens today because life often seems like a constant to-do list. Don't feel bad if you need to take a minute and center yourself. Even just taking 2 minutes from a long math assignment or project can help your mind relax and help reduce stress.
Do something you enjoy or are good at
It can be a sport, hobby, activity, or even making TikToks. Do something that helps you feel accomplished and good about yourself. A self-esteem boost once in awhile is often a good thing. Don't compare yourself do others doing said activity; just be proud of simply doing you, improving from before, or even just starting the hobby.
Accept who you are
Recognize that there are things you can change and can't change. Don't dwell on those things you can't change (ex. people's perception of you, your body type, or DNA), and focus on what you can. Maybe you want to lose some weight; research and try to find sustainable ways to go about it. Take small steps in reaching goals that change who you are. Also, identify the balance between wanting to be a completely different person and improving yourself.
For every person that you think is better than you, there is a person is worse off. Remember those people whenever you feel like the world is working against you. Volunteer at local charities or food banks to see first hand on what some see life as. It may help you understand and realize that those little things that make you want to "kill yourself" or "end of the world" are nothing compared to others. Even caring for a pet can help your mental health because it provides a mutual positive relationship in your life.