From discovering who you are and taking on new responsibilities, to worrying about fitting in, your teenage years are by no means easy. When faced with difficulties, it might be harder to keep a positive mindset, but staying positive helps you to manage stress, keeps you in better health and increases your chances of successfully dealing with challenges and meeting your goals. There are a number of strategies that you can use during adolescence to stay positive and maintain a good attitude, and here we take a look at five of them.

Seek help when you need it

When faced with challenging situations, whether it’s problems at home or school, deciding on your future, anxiety about social situations or dating, identifying what the particular problems are is the first step to managing them. While you start to develop problem-solving skills during your teenage years, these are something you’ll continue to learn during adulthood and although you’ll sometimes be able to figure out a solution yourself, there’s no shame in seeking help. In fact, seeking help is a positive step, as it helps you to take control of a situation and reminding yourself of this will certainly help you to keep a brighter outlook.

While we are the best judge of when we need assistance, sometimes we miss the signs that we need to ask for help. However, it’s particularly important to seek help when your worries start to take over, as although all young people suffer from anxiety to a degree, when these worries persist and interfere with everyday life it’s a sign of an anxiety disorder. These are relatively common in adolescents, with research suggesting that, on average, anxiety disorders affect 8% of teenagers. If left uncontrolled, anxiety disorders may lead to panic attacks and in the most extreme cases anxiety may cause a psychiatric emergency, where you lose control of your behavior. Treatment for this doesn’t necessarily involve medication, as talking therapies are an effective way to manage anxiety problems in young people. Receiving help with anxiety aids recovery from the condition, but also equips you with the skills to turn negative thoughts around, allowing you to develop a more positive mindset.

Take part in positive activities

There’s nothing wrong with setting aside time for rest and relaxation; this is helpful, as you need to recharge your batteries to stay on top form and relaxing activities help you to be more aware of your thoughts. However, it’s important that you use your leisure time wisely. By all means you can spend some of your free time watching TV, playing video games or lounging about with friends, but you should also consider taking part in activities such as sport, voluntary work and clubs for interests such as music, drama or outdoor activities. Not only do these help you to fill your time and take your mind off what might be bothering you, but they are beneficial activities to participate in, as they offer positive challenges that enable you to develop a range of skills and a healthy outlook.

Surround yourself with positive people

When you receive support and encouragement, this brings out the best in you and that includes your attitude. For this reason it’s advisable to build a social circle of people who help you to stay motivated when times are tough and encourage you to reach your goals, while avoiding those people who may have a negative influence. You’ll more than likely find some positive role models within this type of social circle, which will inspire you to adopt a good mindset.

Learn from slip-ups

When something doesn’t go according to plan, whether it’s an exam, a tryout for a sports team or you fall out with a friend, if you concentrate on what went wrong, it’s all too easy to feel like giving up. However, there’s no reason you can’t get back on track and this is the attitude you should adopt. Rather than think about the negatives, think about what you have achieved instead, no matter how small this may seem, as this optimism will boost your motivation. Slip-ups also offer a learning experience, so you can avoid a situation or deal with it more effectively the next time round; thinking about mistakes or situations you have misjudged in this way helps you to see them in a more positive light and allows you to move forward.

Set your own standards

One of the worries teenagers face is that they don’t meet the standards set by others; you might feel that you don’t meet the expectations of your parents, teachers, friends, coach or anyone else who you look up to. This is only natural as you want to please the people in your life who are important to you, but comparing yourself to others and trying to meet the expectations that you think they have is setting yourself up to fail. You’re likely far harder on yourself than you would be others, so it’s time to be your own best friend and start setting realistic goals. This doesn’t mean that you should stop caring or aim low, and there’s no harm in stretching yourself, but being honest about what you can achieve and aiming for that is another good way to stay positive.

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Lowe

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