An emotionally healthy school year means that kids and teens are thriving. The school year is underway. Classes have begun, students are learning, and ideally, there’s a concerted effort among schools, home life, and other support systems to help students build academic success. Academics are important, but they’re not the only part of school. Our kids, no matter their grade, deal with an entire world of people and situations that impact their emotional health and wellbeing. Use this checklist to help your kids create and maintain an emotionally healthy school year.
The idea of quieting the mind seems like a foreign concept, esoteric and perhaps even the stuff of science fiction. As our society get busier and noisier and faster, so, too, do our minds. Stress levels have skyrocketed, tens of…
Emotional health is an important component of our mental health and has to do with our subjective emotions like joy and sorrow, pride and shame, self-love and self-loathing, and more. While it’s true that emotions come and go, often striking us seemingly out of the blue, it’s also true that we are not powerless in the face of our feelings. While we might not entirely stop them, we can rise above negative emotions in order to live well in spite of them. One way to do so is by creating a bare spot in your garden.
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. —Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss certainly knew his stuff. Life—and wellbeing—are indeed a Great Balancing Act. Specifically, they’re about balancing doing with being.
Knowing how to handle ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) can reduce anxiety and increase wellbeing. Recently, in ANTs—Automatic Thoughts Can Ruin Your Picnic, I explored how ANTs can be pesky little creatures that get in the way of our living life fully. These automatic negative thoughts that pop into our minds in certain situations can cause great stress and anxiety. They can even intensify depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. We all have ANTs (they’re not exclusive to mental illness). Unfortunately, it’s natural for the human mind to get stuck in unhelpful thought patterns that drag us down. There are ways to deal with ANTs so they don’t ruin the proverbial picnic of your life. Here are three approaches whose effectiveness has been proven by research.
Are ants trying to ruin your picnic? If you’re human, it’s quite likely that they are. Ants are pesky little critters that love picnics, and ANTs are pesky little (or big) thoughts that love our mind. No matter what kind of ants you are dealing with—the insects or the negative thoughts—you don’t have to let them ruin your picnic.
Self-optimize to live your life intentionally, creating your own concept of a quality life. Determining what makes a quality life and creating a path to get there is a process that in many ways is similar to what web developers call search engine optimization, or SEO. Think like a successful business person and self-optimize to enhance your own personal SEO.
Mindfulness for traumatic brain injury can be both extremely helpful and seemingly impossible. For a long time, mindfulness and traumatic brain injury didn’t fit together for me at all. Over a decade my first brain injury (I’ve had three), I still deal with TBI symptoms (check out these eight signs of TBI). I’ve explored a wellbeing technique known as mindfulness for numerous challenges, including anxiety, mood disorders, “ordinary” stress, and so much more. It works to improve mental health. But what about for brain injuries?
My first traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurred more than a decade ago. Since that time, I’ve worked to thrive, to live well in spite of my unique brain injury sequelae. I recently discovered a whole new way to thrive with TBI. I now see the world through rose-colored glasses.
TBI can cause different types of visual impairments and disturbances. For me, my already-mediocre vision worsened, I began experiencing double vision, I developed depth-perception issues that exacerbated my normal clumsiness and rendered me unable to properly give high-fives (much to the amusement of my children), I developed significant sensitivity to light (termed photophobia despite the fact that it has nothing to do with fears and phobias), and headaches (I haven’t had a single headache-free day since 2004). Finally connecting with the right eye doctor has improved my vision and my outlook.
It’s never too late for the brain to heal. I recently learned this lesson, and it’s timely for Mental Health Awareness Month, and opportunities for growth and increasing our wellbeing are all around us. We simply need to know where to look. For me, this “looking” had the most literal of meanings. For mental health awareness month, I scheduled an appointment with a new eye doctor.