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Female youthHealthy Lifestyles

Someone wrote, "Life is difficult" and sometimes it can be! Everyone has problems and things are not always easy. This section is meant to give support and some ideas for surviving and thriving.

Ideas for Healthy Living

  • Plan things to look forward to!  Make plans with friends, find out about upcoming movies and concerts or get excited about the freedom to shape your life.
  • Reduce your exposure to pressure and stressful situations you encounter on a daily basis.  Think about which aspects of your life are truly necessary and cut back on commitments that create unneeded stress.
  • Take some time to think about your life in a peaceful setting without any distractions.  Focus on observing and understanding your environment and the reality of your situation, non-judgmentally.  Seek out others you can empathize with you or that have faced similar situations.
  • Set one achievable goal each day.  It might be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning (if you’ve been depressed) or spending 10 minutes doing something for yourself, i.e. going for a walk or calling a friend.  When you’ve accomplished your goal, give yourself credit for your success.
  • Come up with a phrase to praise yourself such as “I deserve dignity and respect” or, “It is going to be OK” or “I don’t have to please anyone else, I just have to take care of me.” Repeat your affirmation throughout the day, while waiting for the bus or brushing your teeth.   It might take awhile or you might feel like what you are saying is not true, but over time you will change your thought patterns and ultimately this will help you feel better about yourself.
  • Eat healthy food.  Excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, may be more likely to contribute to mood disturbance.  Foods such as vegetables, fruit, oil-rich fish and whole grains may help your outlook.  Even regularly taking vitamins can help you feel well. Overeating and irregular eating patterns have been linked to depression.  Establish a healthy eating routine that works for you and allow yourself the freedom to manage your schedule around this routine.
  • Find ways that are fun, healthy and legal for helping yourself to feel better. Have you ever heard about endorphins?  Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that when released give you a good feeling.  Some simple ways to release endorphins are giving or getting hugs, petting your dog/cat, and prolonged, continuous exercise (at least 20 minutes) that produces a “runner’s high.”
  • Identify stress busters that work for you.  They may be things like laughing (watch a funny TV show, read a joke), deep breathing, exercise, getting organized (making lists with timelines, prioritizing items,etc.), setting limits about what you can accomplish in a day and doing the hardest things first when you have more energy. For more ideas, type in stress busters and let Google find other ideas for you.
  • Work on accepting and appreciating your feelings.   Even though sometimes it might not feel like it, our feelings, all of our feelings, are important and expressing and accepting them is healthy. Write about how you’re feeling in a journal or talk to a friend or family member.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs, including caffeine.  Too much caffeine can contribute to anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness and mood swings.  Alcohol can worsen depression, interfere with sleep, and contribute to suicidal behavior.  Drugs have negative effects like clouding your judgment, interfering with your ability to think clearly, and can lessen inhibitions.
  • Notice the positive things people say about you. If you don’t know what they are or don’t feel like there are positive things, ask someone you trust to tell you what they like about you. Feeling appreciated and important is a basic human need for everyone.  You may not be able to name your positive qualities but friends and trusted adults see you differently.  Let them help (it will help them feel good too.)
  • Do something nice for someone else.  Some ideas-play ball with your younger brother, pay a compliment to someone, help an elderly person rake their lawn, volunteer at the animal shelter, etc.  Not only will your efforts be appreciated, but you'll feel better too.
  • Discover your talents, they don’t have to be school related, and build on them.  Seek out a mentor who can help you develop your gifts and who believes in you.  Join a club or get involved in an activity with people who have similar interests.
  • Identify a trusted adult and spend time with him/her.  This can be a neighbor on your street, a favorite relative, the parent of one of your friends, etc.  Support from friends of all ages can help ease burdens when life feels difficult.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep.  Experts suggest that teenagers need 9 to 10 hours of sleep in order to feel alert all day.  Problems will feel more manageable if you’re well-rested.
  • Eat dinner with your family.  As corny as it sounds, spending time with people who accept you unconditionally can buffer you from problems. And if your family doesn’t accept you unconditionally, try to find people that do.  What about your friend’s parents?
  • Practice gratitude. "I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet."- Chinese proverb.
  • Slow down.  Turn off the MP3 player, cell phone, video game and computer.  The answers to your problems may be getting a busy signal if you’re always listening to something else.
  • Repeat this short meditation (or another one that is helpful to you) in times of stress:
    Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
    The courage to change the things I can; and
    The wisdom to know the difference.