Category: Mind & Spirit

Planning a Great Camping Trip with Your Friends

Just imagine spending a wonderful evening under the stars. You and your closest friends are sitting at a campfire and just enjoying being together. Going camping with your closest friends is one of the best things in the world. However, one of the problems with a camping trip is that someone has to plan it in order for it to happen.

There is some good news. Planning your camping trip will not be hard after you read the following tips. In fact, chances are that you can get a tripped planned in really no time at all.

Choose a Date

Perhaps one of the trickiest parts of planning a camping trip with friends is finding the time that you all can go. There are some easy ways to pick a date that works for everyone. Try using an online poll site that will allow everyone to put in the dates that work best for them and within no time you will have the time set for your friendly camping adventure.

Research Places

Once you choose a time, the next thing is to choose where you are going to go. Check out reviews of different campsites in your area. If you are looking for seclusion choose a primitive site. Make sure that you check the rules of the park as well.

Pooling Resources

When you are going on a group camping trip it is a good idea to pool resources. While everyone is going to need a good sleeping bag and their own tent, you do not need ten camping stoves or everyone to bring their own meals. Create a list and coordinate who is going to bring what. Make sure that your less experienced camping friends know the important necessities to bring along.

Carpooling

Part of the adventure is the drive to the campsite. Carpooling is efficient and very fun, but it can be a bit tricky. Plan a spot to meet up and then load up. Also, make sure that you map out directions ahead of time. When you head out to the woods cell signals are not always reliable, so having a downloaded or paper copy of the directions can really come in handy. Also, make sure that you bring some great snacks and a good playlist for the journey.

Leave the Phones at Home

If it is possible, try to leave all of the tech behind. One of the absolute best things about going camping is letting go of technology for just a it. Immerse yourself in what is in front of you. Take the time to communicate face to face with your friends. We are all so busy these days, taking a moment to just be. Turn the phones off once you hit the campsite and just enjoy all that nature and your friends have to offer.

Divide and Conquer

When you arrive at the campsite there is going to be a lot to do. If you divide up all the chores that need to be done it is going to be much easier and relaxing. Almost every group of friends has one person who will want to build the fire and another who wants to put up the tents and another who doesn’t mind cleaning up. Tap into the strengths of each of you.

A camping trip with your friends is something that you are going to remember forever. If you take the time and plan ahead, your camping trip will be simply amazing.

Is Porn Addiction a Thing?

There’s no question that pornography consumption is up among teens. Research shows that pornography is increasingly seen as harmless and acceptable among younger consumers. That is certainly the common line in popular culture. But is it true? Is porn a harmless pastime, or is your southern Baptist Great Aunt on to something?

Most people associate addiction with substances such as alcohol and drugs. Surprisingly, porn affects the brain in many of the same ways as substances, making it a detriment on affected individual’s daily functioning. There may be more to the pornography story than Hollywood is letting on.

What Exactly is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease in which sufferers are unable to maintain comfortable brain function without getting their fix from a substance. A common misconception about addiction is that it requires consumption of substances that have “chemical hooks” that create a dependency in the addict’s biochemistry. While these hooks do exist, addiction is far more concerned with the addict’s neurochemistry – especially the presence of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens region of the brain.

Because addiction is linked with this neurochemical activity, and because that activity can be caused by any number of stimuli, addiction can also be found in food, exercise, and yes – even porn. All of these things have one thing in common. They get the brain hooked on them by releasing that dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure. Addiction affects the brain by flooding it with dopamine and over time, the user must look at more pornographic images to get the rush. Because of that, addicts become trapped in a repetitive cycle of shame, compulsion, and betrayal.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Since porn doesn’t necessarily produce noticeable changes in your appearance like substances do, it can be difficult to tell if someone may be struggling with it. Once common sign is withdrawal from friends and family. Many porn addicts prefer to be alone and may avoid social outings that they once enjoyed. Sleep related issues such as insomnia or excessive over sleeping can also be a sign of a serious addiction.

These complications can result from feelings of depression, shame and even anxiety. Financial problems may also arise as a result of over spending on pornographic websites or forms of media. Another common characteristic of this addiction is irritability. This occurs when the feelings of pleasure dissipate in the brain, resulting in a low state of mind. Irritability can also trigger aggression and even mood swings which can hurt your relationship with loved ones.

Can I Quit?

Because of the serious consequences of pornography addiction, many young men are calling it quits. But like any addiction, quitting isn’t easy to do. LifeStar Therapy recommends anyone attempting to beat an addiction should gather a strong network of support. “If you’re hesitant to talk to someone about your addiction, remember addiction thrives in shame. By finding a group you can open up to, and where you can listen to others share their stories, the shame of the addiction decreases because you’ll be around people who understand and relate to your struggles. Support groups have people at various stages on the path of recovery, and those further along can offer insights and tips to help you. The benefits of groups are not only about the positive feedback and energy to succeed, but providing support to others as well.”

If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to porn, professional treatment is widely available. Programs offer a variety of services that target different aspects of addiction. Things like therapy, one on one counseling and exploring new hobbies and interests may be used to tackle the problem at hand.

Porn may seem like an entertaining way to pass the time for many teens, but can quickly get out of hand for some people. If you feel like you or someone you loved may be addicted to porn, seek help immediately.

Does Bullying Cause Suicidality in Teens?

While there may never be a singular answer to why teens – or anyone else for that matter – commits suicide, there are certainly some common factors. Keep in mind, however, that two teens can face nearly identical circumstances and one will make it through while the other will not. Having said that, here are some common risk factors for teen suicide.

Lack of Parental Involvement and Support

Parental involvement is always a tricky issue, because not all parents are absentee parents and yet there is a difference between being present in a child’s life and being engaged in a child’s life. Just because a parent may not work and may be home all day does not mean they are necessarily actively engaged in their child’s life.

Conversely, a single parent may work long hours and still be actively engaged in their child’s life. The question is not whether the parent feels engaged, but whether the teen feels they are supported. And unfortunately, a teenager’s perception of care and support may not have much to do with the reality of the situation.

Bullying

While bullying is in and of itself rarely the singular cause of suicide, there is ample evidence suggesting strong correlation, if not causation. It is not clear whether bullying is causing teens to feel suicidal, whether bullies are targeting more vulnerable victims who already suffer from causal factors, or some combination of both. But there is no question that bullying and teen suicidality go hand in hand.

Nonconforming Gender Identity

According to Freedom Counseling, “Issues of sexual identity are hugely relevant to teen suicide. Trans teens in particular are vulnerable to mental illness and suicidality, independent of whether or not their peers and family identify them with the gender identity they express.” Again, however, struggling with LGBT issues is not in and of itself a lone indicator of suicidality. What it all comes back to is whether or not the teen feels loved, accepted and supported by someone or some group of people. They may not feel accepted or supported by their parents or peers, but if they find a supportive LGBT community to be a part of, that can help them safely weather the storms.

Depression or Other Mental Health Issues

As science discovers more about the power of neurotransmitters, it seems that in some cases the real cause of suicide might actually be the teen’s own brain chemistry. This is particularly exacerbated by extreme hormonal changes that take place during the pubescent years.

Ultimately, there are no sure-fire answers as to why individuals commit suicide and particularly not when it comes to teens. Signs of depression and suicide are difficult to see, and intervention does not have a perfect success rate. Still, the onus is on all of us to try and make a difference where we can in reaching out to vulnerable teens who are on the margins of society. Because one is too many.

Ways to talk about sexual abuse and assault

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator and the recent scandal involving Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor, has reiterated how even “trusted” adults can manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate with a child. It’s important to know what sexual assault is and what to do if someone is making you feel uncomfortable.

Below are some tips from Krav Maga Worldwide, a global leader in defense training, on how to approach this difficult and sometimes uncomfortable subject.

Start the conversation early. This may seem very early but children under 12 are most at risk at 4 years old. Even if they can’t speak well, children at this age are busy figuring out the world. And they certainly understand and remember a lot more than adults usually realize. Its never to early to talk about this subject with your parents and caregivers.

Understand the only instances when private parts can be seen and touched. Nobody – including a parent or caregiver – should see or touch your private parts (what a swimming suit covers up) – unless they’re keeping them clean, safe, or healthy.

Talk openly about sexuality and sexual abuse. Abusers will sometimes say that the abuse should be kept a secret. Know that if someone is touching or talking in ways that makes you uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.

Babysitters, coaches and teachers can all be perpetrators. Don’t assume all adults can be trusted. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 93% of children that have been sexually assaulted know their perpetrator. It’s important to understand that just because the person is considered a “trusted” adult they can still manipulate a situation and do things that are not appropriate.

Inform yourself about the tricks used by sexual predators. Such as continued accidental touching, or where the predator tricks you into thinking there is an emergency and you must go with the predator.

Trust your inner voice. Especially that feeling we all have inside that tells us what feels right and what feels wrong or uncomfortable. Many who have been sexually abused describe a feeling of discomfort as having a “yucky” feeling inside. You must trust or honor your inner voice or that “yucky” feeling.

You have the right to say NO! As the majority of abuse is based on coercion rather than force, learning to say NO strongly and forcefully really can make a big difference in many situations.

 About Krav Maga Worldwide

Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

 

What to Do if a Friend or Family Member Has a Drug or Alcohol Problem

In 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concluded that approximately 22 million people suffered from a substance abuse disorder. In 2016, that number dropped by only 1 million. The same study found that 8.2 million of those people also suffer from a mental health disorder for both years. While living with addiction is hard, knowing someone with that addiction can be even harder. You want to help them, but feel that your voice will fall on deaf ears; especially, if they are your peers or family members. The right strategy will not only give you the confidence you need to speak up but will also save their life.

Be Well Informed

Before taking the plunge into a deep conversation, you should thoroughly know your topic. Many websites will give you in-depth information on the causes and effects of addiction. For example, the SAMHSA.gov website offers yearly data reports on substance abuse. The site also provides material on how to get help for someone who suffers from substance abuse and mental health disorders. In most cases, the addiction is used to hide depression, self-esteem disorders, and other mental health issues that are being suppressed by your friend or family member. You can also call a rehab facility and discuss your concerns with a professional without having to commit to anything. After you have studied on the subject, approach your loved one when they are not under the influence of their addiction. Explain to them how you feel and reassure them that they are not alone in the journey.

Be a Positive Support System

While the urge to take your friend or family member straight to a rehab center or AA/NA meeting is strong, sometimes the best therapy is knowing that you are there for them in their darkest hour. The most frustrating part of addiction for both you and your loved one is understanding the addiction recovery process. Recovering from addiction is different for each person. There will be times of anger, resentment, and withdrawal from your loved one. There will be times where they will mess up. Be patient with them and remember each day is a new day. Of course, if you do have to take them to a rehab center, be sure and maintain that same positivity. Their quality of life in the rehab center is just as important to their treatment as the therapy. Remember, addiction is just a disease, and you are just visiting a sick friend or family member.

When someone has an addiction, that person is not the only person who is affected by the habit. You have suffered the emotional rollercoaster of their addiction. While they are in a rehab center or meeting, take that time to go to Al-Anon meetings. These meetings are structured to help you understand their sufferings and help you learn how to deal with the recovery. Furthermore, plan events to distract your friend or family member during these hard times you know they are weak. The road to recovery might be a long journey, but in the end, their life is worth the trip.

Resources:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/

https://www.samhsa.gov/

http://www.midwestinstituteforaddiction.org/

Living Sober: How Can I Avoid Drugs?

Your teenage years are complicated. You have to handle school, work, puberty, dating, and any number of other issues. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and to end up in a situation that you don’t want to be. So many teens turn to drugs or alcohol to help them deal, even though they know how bad that can be. So how can you find a way to avoid ending up in that situation.

Find Things You Love

A lot of teens turn to drugs because they are bored or they don’t enjoy anything that they are doing with their life. One of the best ways to avoid ending up in that situation is to find a hobby or two that you love. This can be an organized extra-curricular activity, a class, or just something that you do during when you have a moment. Not only can this bring joy to your life, but it can also act as a great stress relief.

Make Good Friends

The type of people you spend your time with is going to influence who you are and what you do. Peer pressure is a real thing, and it can have a huge effect when it is applied over a long period of time. If your friends are drinking and doing drugs, it is pretty likely you will end up doing the same at some point. Surrounding yourself with good friends who will support your decision to avoid drugs is going to be crucial to sticking with it.

Take Care of Yourself

One of the most common ways that teens end up with a drug addiction problem is through injury. Serious sports or work injuries are often treated with a narcotic prescription that evolves into an addiction. Those who are addicted then turn to more accessible drugs like heroin to feed that need. To avoid ending up in this situation, you need to take proper care of yourself. Stretch properly before playing sports and make sure you don’t push yourself too far. If you do end up needing to take heavy-duty prescriptions, set up a plan with your doctor and parents to avoid ending up addicted.

It is important to do everything you can to avoid drugs, regardless of your age. They can have a permanently damaging effect on all areas of your life, and you don’t want that. The temporary high you may get isn’t worth the lifetime of addiction and regret.

Why legal marijuana isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Hi, I’m Kevin Bryce and this is a story about my journey with weed. I’ve had many highs, but many more lows, when it comes to smoking pot. Back in 2011, I fell in with a bad crowd that ultimately led to becoming a huge weed addict. It got to the point where I couldn’t even sleep at night due to my addiction – it was a total dependency. It had completely taken over my life. At the time I had a very low hour job in Walmart, a very high maintenance girlfriend, and rent to pay for.

My addiction to weed became so bad that at this time that I must have had my mother pay rent for about 6 months of every year for 4 years due to my lack of finances. I had brainwashed myself to believe that the weed wasn’t my problem and that all of the problems in my life were to do with me being ‘unlucky’ and that my time to shine would eventually come.

It didn’t.

Looking 5 years on – I’m in the exact same position this time but with a different girlfriend (with a relationship that’s falling apart) and I’m smoking about double the amount I was years ago. At this point, I must have been smoking about 6-8 blunts during the day and hit a bong for hours in the evening. The worse my life got, the bigger the hole I dug myself became. I started to become totally reliant on this drug that was ruining my ability to achieve my dreams of being a web designer / internet marketer.

In early 2016 I took a trip to a conference in Orlando, FL which was a congregation of Internet Marketers. I only went because one of my close buddies pretty much forced me to go. One of the speakers on stage spoke about a man who was trying to ‘fly’ (essentially referring to his start to success) and had to climb to the top of a mountain to do so. Very often he’d climb all the way to the top, jump off to try to glide, and fail. But this man was special because no matter how many times he jumped off the mountain and hurt himself, he always pushed himself back to the top. He never stopped.

The speaker made us see that the man who keeps climbing sorts out his problems from the falls. The man who pushes back up the hill when he’s very sure that he’ll not even glide this time, and keeps trying, is the man who achieves great things.

It hit me hard. What had I been doing for the last 6 years of my life? I was sitting at the bottom of this mountain blaming everyone else for my problems.

When I got home, I knew what I had to do. If I wanted to achieve my dream of being a successful web designer / internet marketer – I had to get rid of the one thing stopping me from doing that – marijuana.

I began researching online and I found this course which I commonly talk about on my website, How to Stop Smoking Pot. The course took me through a full and painful detox process which allowed me to eventually stop. The process of getting rid of a weed addiction that I had for a number of years is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. But its worth it. We have a teen pot resource as well.

My advice to anyone reading this is not to bother with it recreational cannabis, legal or otherwise. Unless you’re an aspiring weed flavor tester – leave it alone. It’s expensive, addictive and it doesn’t allow you to work at your optimal performance. Everyone has dreams and I missed out on years of my life where I wasn’t able to achieve my dreams due to a drug that only flushed those away with every puff.

Proudly, I’m now at a stage where I’m working on my ambitions to be an internet marketer / web designer with my how to stop smoking pot resource. If you are struggling with a weed addiction yourself, or you know someone else who is, get them to check out my website as I have a huge amount of information on the experiences that I went through when quitting.

Getting high didn’t solve any of my problems, I was just deluding myself. Get help if you are on marijuana – or better yet never start.


The previous was a guest post by Kevin Bryce. To submit your own guest post, contact info@teenswannaknow.com

Not Everybody’s Doing It: Why Teen Drug Use is Declining

If you were to base what you know on popular movies and television shows, it would be easy to think that most teens are doing drugs and drinking. It’s become very normalized in the entertainment world, but this hasn’t been reflecting the cultural change among teens when it comes to illicit substances. In recent years, teenagers have been turning away from drugs in large numbers.

Drug Use Declining

Surveys show that younger and older teenagers are both choosing to abstain from drugs and alcohol at higher rates. The Monitoring the Future study looks at the habits of thousands of young people, and their results have shown that except marijuana, drug use is down from recent peaks in young people. Explanations for this trend vary. One explanation is that today’s teens are structuring their leisure time more than they used to. According to 449recovery.org, boredom and stress are significant factors in drug abuse and drug relapse. Entertainment technologies and extracurricular activities such as team sports, dance, or martial arts relieve stress and prevent boredom, allowing less time and temptation for drug use. Another theory put forth by TIME is that prescription drugs have essentially replaced illicit drugs as emotional outlet for teens suffering from mental illness.

Less Smoking

Another possible reason drug use could be down is that cigarette smoking has also gone down, and these two behaviors tend to be connected. Public awareness about the dangers of smoking cigarettes only tends to go up as the years go by. There are fewer people smoking, and this trend also applies to teenagers. They are likely more aware of the health concerns and have seen more of the public health campaigns that highlight the dangers of cigarette use. Studies show that nicotine leads to other drug use in many people. It primes the brain to be more interested in other drugs and to make them seem more appealing. Because teens are smoking fewer cigarettes, their brains aren’t as primed for other drug use like previous generations might have been. Hopefully, this change will bring about fewer teens going to rehab.

Increase in Marijuana

Another possible reason for the general trend of less drug use is the increased availability and normalization of marijuana use. While the Monitoring the Future survey did show a decrease in the use of most drugs, marijuana use was reported at higher rates among older teens. There is a broader social trend of marijuana acceptance, and teens are likely not immune to this. There is also an increased ease of access to the drug, due to its legalization in many states. Teens are likely to choose it over other drugs because they think it is safer and easier to get.

 

Teen drug use is still a problem, but it is on the decline. Parents can rest easier knowing most young people are choosing to abstain. This is a healthy choice to leads to better futures.

5 Reasons Why Fighting the Bully Isn’t Worth It

Nobody should endure physical and emotional abuse from another person. Although it’s tempting to respond negatively to people that wrong you, fighting a bully might have negative consequences. While you have a right to defend yourself if attacked physically, it’s better to handle the situation in a nonviolent manner whenever possible. Learn more about the consequences of fighting a bully to discover how it can affect your life in a negative way.

It’s Dangerous

Fighting a bully can have very dangerous consequences. It’s difficult to anticipate the fighting skill of another person. Someone trained in martial arts or boxing could inflict a great deal of harm on someone else. The negative consequences of fighting a bully include bruises, broken bones, and public embarrassment. It’s also impossible to determine if a bully has a weapon that could potentially kill you.

It’s Illegal

Illegal fighting has consequences. It’s against the law to physically harm someone else unless its a clear case of self-defense, and mere name-calling doesn’t qualify. In many states, if you have the ability to walk away, you can get in trouble if you choose to engage instead. It’s possible for you to be charged with assault if the incident is reported to law enforcement, and the prevalence of cell phones with video capabilities make this very easy. Assault is usually a misdemeanor charge, but you might have to serve jail time. It’s possible to receive a felony charge of aggravated assault if you harm someone severely. Fighting a bully just isn’t worth the criminal and legal consequences that come with it.

You Could Be Sued

In addition to criminal charges, fighting a bully could cost you a large sum of money. A bully might file a civil lawsuit against you. Many people seek financial compensation for medical expenses that result from a physical confrontation. It’s also possible for a bully to seek financial compensation for emotional stress from their injuries — even if they were the ones bothering you in the first place!

Fighting Stays on Your Academic Record

Fighting a bully on school property could stay on your academic record. The minimum punishment for fighting is detention. Many students are sentenced to in-school suspension or expelled. Colleges will look at your academic record during the admissions process. Negative marks regarding your behavior record could make it difficult to attend a prestigious university.

It Might Not Change Anything

Responding to a bully in a violent manner will not always make the situation better. The bully might continue to disrespect you. The purpose of a bully is to get a negative reaction out of you, and a bully loves to see you upset. It’s important to control your emotions around a bully. Many bullies will stop their hostile behavior when you stop responding to it.

The negative consequences of fighting could include include personal injury, criminal charges, and legal trouble. Fighting on school property will stay on your permanent record and might make the situation worse. It’s important to deal with a bully in a non-violent way when possible, such as verbally standing up for yourself, simply walking away, or getting the help of an adult.

However, if you DO need to respond physically, here are some tips from a Krav Maga expert:

 

Want to Make a Difference? Best Organizations for Teens to Make an Impact in the Community

Many teens today want to make a positive impact in their community. There are a variety of causes to choose from for people who want to make a difference. Here are some of the best charitable organizations to help you make an impact in your community.

American Red Cross

With all of the weather issues that the United States has had recently, working with the American Red Cross is a great option. This is a charity that truly cares about the lives of other people. Not only will this charity get supplies to your community, but they will work diligently on your behalf as well.

The American Red Cross has a strong online presence. You can learn all about the charity online and can even donate money online. If you are interested in helping others, the American Red Cross is a great solution for you.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

One of the biggest issues in many communities is that children do not have great role models to look up to. This is a major issue that results in children acting out in order to get attention. There are various charities that work with children in order to help them in the future.

One of the best options for many people is youth mentoring with Big Brother Big Sister. This is a company that has made a positive impact on thousands of communities around the country. When you are a youth mentor, you will spend time with children every week and work on their goals for the future. Making an impact in your community has never been easier.

Many of the children are from poor families. Many of these families only have one parent in the home who has to work to provide for the children. You can make a positive impact simply by spending time with these children and talking to them about their issues.

United Way

The United Way is another charity that is doing a lot of great work in the local area. This is a charity that focuses on helping children in a local community through sports activities. For many children and teens, sports are a great way to release their frustration about situations they have in life.

Many studies show that children who have access to community help will perform better in school and in life. Spending your time with these charities is a great investment to help others.