In today’s blog, Nedra Jeffords, LMSW and mental health counselor, shares five tips for mental health check-ins in honor of World Teen Mental Health day.
- Talk about your problems! Even if it doesn't solve them, talking about stressors releases hormones in your body that reduces the negative feelings associated with stress. Time spent talking with friends and loved ones is valuable!
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation. It is a useful technique that relaxes the physical tightness and tension felt as a stress response and works by sequentially targeting different body parts.
- Try journaling (one of my favorites!) Writing about feelings, thoughts, and experiences is a simple and inexpensive exercise that can be done independently. Sharing with others is totally optional; the benefit is from the writing itself and can be kept to measure growth or ceremoniously destroyed. Boys like to refer to their journaling as writing music “lyrics.”
- Practice mindfulness activities, which include meditation, imagery, body scan, and deep breathing. Mindfulness is a state of non-judgmental awareness of what’s happening in the present moment including one’s own thoughts, feelings, and senses.
- Make an “emergency” or “soothe” box or bag. When we are very distressed, it is difficult to think rationally and to decide how to help ourselves. A box or bag filled with a few of your favorite things can be useful during times of feeling overwhelmed or distressed. It should be kept in a prominent and easy-to-locate place so that you can easily access the bag or box and find something that will help you cope and feel better.