When you are working toward changing bad habits into more positive ones, set small goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them.
If you are trying to establish a new habit, one approach is to add the practice to a behavior that you already do each day. For example, write in your journal after you eat lunch each day. When you are online, send five messages of gratitude to others before you start your workday online.
You may be limiting yourself. By ignoring the limitations and pushing past fear, you can create newer, healthier habits that break you free of your comfort zone.
To make a change in the present, you have to move away from the past. Thoughts of the past might run through your mind when trying to sleep. Your personal growth could stall or hinder if you are continually re-living the past. Clearing the closet of skeletons can help you banish your negative thoughts and bad habits by allowing you to focus on who you are now and who you want to be in the future.
Do you know that states of mind are contagious? Any negative person in your life significantly affects you. When trying to change your habits, surround yourself with those who are of a positive mindset or successful in some area of life. Surrounding yourself with positivity can propel you to accomplishing your goals and banishing bad habits.
Willpower is a dominant force when trying to establish new habits. Use your powerful imagination to distract yourself when willpower is low. Distraction is a powerful technique when reshaping behavior.
Remember that you will fail occasionally, and failing teaches you another step to success.
- Do you have a plan for how to deal with failures when they arise?
- How does failure teach you resilience?
- How do mistakes help you try again and to experience success?
Mistakes mean you are human and learning to get back up and try again. Missteps are essential components of a successful life.
When you are trying to rid yourself of a bad habit, get rid of triggers.
Whether you are changing your diet or trying to watch less TV, eliminating the triggers that encourage you to engage in these behaviors is essential. Don’t have unhealthy food in your house. Hide your remote control. Do whatever you need to eliminate the habit from your life.
"Teenagers are known for their angst and moodiness. You really can’t blame them with all that’s going on in their lives from physical changes and peer pressure to academic expectations and the formation of relationships." Tyler Jacobison (Twitter | Linkedin
Feeling moody and grouchy once in a while is normal. Trouble begins when these feelings become more intense, persisting for weeks, months or even longer. Teen depression is an uncomfortable reality in our society and it’s up to parents to support and help their affected teens.
Situational vs. Clinical Depression
You can help your child by first identifying the difference between situational and clinical depression, their causes and treatment methods.
Situational depression (also known as adjustment disorder) occurs in the aftermath of monumental or traumatic changes in an individual’s life. In teens, situational depression can be triggered by parents’ divorce, a breakup from a romantic relationship, death of a loved one, academic struggles or even moving to a new area. Keep in mind that situational depression is temporary and things should go back to normal once the stressors are removed or your teen learns to cope with them.
In the meantime though, their symptoms are very real and are similar to those of chronic depression. They include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness or hopelessness.
- Changes in sleeping patterns –either difficulties in falling asleep or oversleeping.
- Changes in eating patterns, loss of appetite and weight changes.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, studies and life in general.
- Persistent lethargy and fatigue.
- Difficulties concentrating, making decisions or remembering tasks.
- Self-harming or suicide attempts.
Clinical depression, on the other hand, is more severe and is thought to be caused by a complex mix of brain chemical imbalances, genetic factors and social situations. It causes major long-term depressive symptoms that are pervasive enough to interfere with your teen’s daily life.
Different Treatment Approaches
The treatment your teen requires depends on the type of depression they have.
Managing Situational Depression
● Urge your teen to continue pursuing their hobbies and other leisure activities.
● Also, encourage them to eat a nutritionally well-balanced diet and get regular exercise to stimulate the production of dopamine to boost their mood.
● Joining a support group or talking out the situation with close friends and relatives can also help.
● If all else fails, seek the help of a trained psychotherapist.
Managing Clinical Depression
● Psychotherapy is a crucial part of helping your teen deal with clinical depression. Get feedback on their progress to ensure that the therapist you engage is the right fit.
● Appropriate medication in tandem with therapy will provide the best outcome for your teen. The medication might be for short or long-term use depending on the diagnosis.
● Hospitalization in a psychiatric facility might also be necessary especially if your teen is self-harming, suicidal or showing signs of delusion or psychosis.
With proper coaching, parents can learn responsive parenting skills that will help them discern behavioral issues that may predispose their teens to depression as well as learn how to assist their children to get over rough patches in their lives.
GUEST AUTHOR: Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn
When coaching whole parent, child or family member, the best coaching model is the wholistic viewpoint: involving the physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, spiritual, and social intelligences affecting each person.
It can be of no benefit to simply examine one or two of these intelligences. This would not give you a holistically complete and thorough view of the child and parent. Coaching whole parents and whole children is more beneficial when you look beyond the surface level of behavior and symptoms. What is truly influencing or causing the reaction or behavior?
- Emotional frustration?
- Lack of Understanding?
- Need or more information?
- Need for more experience?
For example, if a child gets an ear ache or undefined tummy ache, do you check in with the doctor? Are medications enough? Not likely. It would be in everyone’s best interest to look at what is going on with that child from a whole perspective. Determine what is going emotionally, mentally and/or socially. A child may also be having trouble with a peer at daycare or in school or maybe even with the teacher. Emotional and social problems can show up as physical symptoms.
ACPI Coach and parent Kristy Dixon explains why:
"In coaching whole parent and whole-child, the parent is guided to self-discovery of their internal and external influences. They envision their parenting goal and feeling baby steps of success along the way. When looking at the whole child, the parent is better able to help rather than punish that child. For example ,if a child is having a fit. the parents would allow that child time to release their anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever it may be that needs to be released rather than labeling that child as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, challenging, or out of control. If looking at the whole child one may find that the true culprit of this fit may be the result of the child “using up all of his good” (self-control and restraint) at school, or again of too much sugar in the diet or reaction to a food allergy, or of not feeling heard by his or her parents. Children struggle to learn how to express their feelings and needs appropriately. It is our job to investigate the mystery of what is causing this type of behavior. Then help the child express in a more effective and safer way. However, we cannot do that if we do not thoroughly look at all influencing factors in the child’s life."
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2