Building Resilience for Teens – The 3-Step Method
Being a teenager was one of the hardest times I had to go through. As teens, we go through many changes. We have many responsibilities. We have to balance school, home life, times with friends, extracurricular activities, homework, trying to get into college, a part-time job. On top of any struggles, we are going through in life.
Adults always tell us to suck it up, and life gets harder.
Does life get harder as we grow older?
Yes and no.
Yes, it gets harder because we start becoming responsible for other people like our spouse and children. We have to pay many bills when there are times where we will financially struggle.
But as an adult, you have more control. You can control who you spend time with. You can control whether you stick around your job or not. As a teen, you have less control. You have to go to school to be around people you may not like. You have to have a legal guardian with you until eighteen, so if you have a difficult home life, there is not much you can do but get support.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 – 34. It’s hard growing up and trying to figure yourself out.
Here are some of the many struggles teems may have to go through:
– Divorced parents
– Abuse (Physical, verbal, and sexual)
– Self-esteem issues
– Diagnosed with mental and physical disorders
Luckily, what you do have control over are your habits, actions, and your mind. The phrase “building resilience for teens” may seem intimidating, but it’s not. Many people are not born with resilience. Resilience is something that we build over time, and your teenage years are the best years to start.
What is resilience, and why is it important?
Resilience is your ability to recover from any difficulty quickly. With resilience, you can manage your emotions during difficult times, not get stressed over the small things, live a happy life, live life on your terms, and feel massive amounts of self-confidence.
How can you build resilience as a teen?
From the thousands I have spent on courses, hours of therapy sessions I have been through, 60+ interviews I have done on people’s struggles, 70+ nonfiction books I have read, and based on what’s worked for other people, I have come up with a 3-step method to build resilience for teens.
I call it the EMJ method. Energy, Meaning, Journey.
1. Change Your Energy
I remember when I was in middle school and high school. My mom would be my alarm clock and yell my name several times before I woke up. I rushed out of bed, brushed my teeth, put on my clothes, and have breakfast(or skip it) all within 20 – 30 minutes. The reality was I hated going to school because I was hanging out with people who always put me down.
I went to a Tony Robbins seminar with 15,000 people in it. He said, “You cannot change your life if you cannot change your state and energy.”
The best thing to change your energy is to change your environment and have morning rituals.
In school, I was hanging out with people who were putting me down.
If you feel drained after you hang out with a particular group of people, then you either need to:
– Talk to those people to let them know how you feel.
– Eliminate those people from your life or minimize as much time you spend with them.
– Find a trusted adult to help you get out of that situation.
You can never overcome a struggle in or life or accomplish your goals with toxic people who bring you down.
Also, for the longest time, my morning routine was rushing to get out of bed to go to school or work. But when I had my therapist told me I had to establish a morning routine, she was right.
Here is my morning routine:
– 20 minutes of physical activity with upbeat music and visualization
– 10 – 15 minutes of meditation and gratitude
– 10 minutes of journaling
Your morning rituals can consist of:
– Doing a passion project
– Painting or creating music
– Having your cup of tea in silence
– Calling a loved one
Whatever it is, make sure it is consistent, and you do these morning routines for at least 15 – 20 minutes. Having a morning ritual will set your day up for success, and the more consistent you are with it. According to Mental Health America, having healthy routines is linked to improved mental and physical health. When you are in functional mental and physical health capacity, you are in a better state to deal with stress.
2. Create Meaning in Your Life
In middle school and high school, I was a perfect student. I got straight A’s most of the time, was a teacher’s pet, and was involved in extracurricular activities. It seemed like I had it all from the outside. On the inside, I felt empty. I was doing all this because it was expected of me and not because I wanted it.
So when I went to college, I went from a perfect student to someone who didn’t do as well in school. My grades dropped, I didn’t get the internships I wanted, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
My sister hands me a book by Jack Canfield called Success Principles. The book changed my life and helped me discover my purpose. The summer of 2013 is when I realized I wanted to become a speaker. This purpose provided me direction during my 5th year of college. I got my best grades in college, and I started learning skills I have never learned before. I finally had a pathway.
Viktor E. Frankl was a Holocaust survivor. He said, “He who knows their why for his existence will be able to bear almost any how.”
He realized the ones who had a meaning in the concentration camps are the ones who survived the longest. He was providing free therapy and convincing people not to commit suicide in the concentration camps. That was how he created meaning.
After the concentration camps got liberated, he discovered his parents and wife were killed. He could have given up, but he had a purpose in life. He wrote the best-selling book Mans Search For Meaning, which sold over 12 million copies and wrote many other books.
As a teenager, you may not know what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you can create meaning based on your passions at this present time. Maybe you like to make people laugh, post videos on TikTok or Youtube. Perhaps you love writing and giving back to children; write children’s books. Maybe you want to help out the homeless; start a nonprofit organization.
It’s scary doing those things, but creating meaning in your life requires you to step outside your comfort zone. The more you do the things that make you uncomfortable, the more you grow and become more confident.
When you pursue your purpose, your problems do not go away or become smaller. Instead, you put a less unhealthy focus on those problems less because your emphasis goes towards this new meaning.
3. Embrace the Journey
My last semester in college, things were going great, and then I received tragic news. Four of my close fraternity brothers were killed in a car accident from a wrong-way driver. It was heart-breaking to go to four funerals in a span of two weeks and see four parents bury their children.
I still do not know why this happened, but what I had a better appreciation for was life. I learned that we should appreciate the good and the bad in life.
Many of us have bad things happening in our life. It is hard to enjoy life as it comes. We do not need to enjoy the bad; we should embrace it. Accept whatever is happening in our lives, find ways to overcome them, and have faith that it will get better.
After I quit my door-to-door sales position, I was in a bad spot in my life, especially dealing with my friends’ death, I was talking to one of my best friends. He said, “Shelomo, you need to stop wishing for things in your life to come true to be happy. You need to be happy right now, no matter what the outcome of life is.”
He was right. My entire life, I was always comparing my journey to others and how I wasn’t accomplishing my goals. This led to emptiness and anxiety. We can always find what’s wrong with our life, but gratitude will help us appreciate the wrong things. It is these unfortunate circumstances that happen in our life is what leads to the good.
If I had never been bullied for 15 years for how I spoke, I would have never been a motivational speaker. Our pain puts us in a path of where we are supposed to be. Remember, every experience in our life has a reason.
The best way to feel more gratitude even through the bad that is happening in our life is through reflection. Anytime something bad happens, or things don’t go your way, reflect. Take out a piece of paper and ask yourself, “Why did this happen to me? How can I make it better?”
You will soon learn that everything is not happening to you; it is happening for you.
I understand life can get tough. You may not have the proper direction to help you overcome some of these struggles. Which is why I have come out with an online course, Building Resilience 101.
This is a resilience course for teens. It is your opportunity to build resilience, gain inner strength, and become the confident person you want to be. You don’t have to wait 10+ years to discover your identity and purpose; Building Resilience 101 will help you start that journey.
Don’t do what I did for many years, try to save money and figure it out on your own. You need someone to help you who does this for a living.