Category: Mind & Spirit

3 Signs of Depression Every Teen Should Be Aware Of

Being a teenager in today’s world isn’t easy. There is so much to keep up with when it comes to school, working a part-time job, dealing with your family, making friends, and maintaining other relationships. It’s important that teens have the right support at home in order to prevent things like depression. However, some teens are just more prone to developing depression during their younger years. There are some ways that you can identify depression in either yourself of your friends.

Lack of Appetite

Your average teen will eat a lot over the course of a day. After all, their bodies are growing and they’re developing more physically. Most teens are very active in sports and other activities, which will keep their appetite going strong. If you notice that your teen is eating less or has less interest in food, this could be a sign that they are feeling depressed. It’s important to keep an eye on eating habits. Losing weight or showing a lack of interest in food can also be signs of an eating disorder.

Change in Attitude

A lot of teenagers will have an attitude with their parents. This is just part of dealing with youth in the household. However, there are certain issues with attitude that can indicate there is a bigger problem going on. Teens often deal with depression, substance abuse, aggression, and suicidal behaviors. This can show in attitude by expressing a lot of angry outbursts, becoming violent against others or themselves, threatening abuse, crying with no known cause or other serious issues. These can indicate that it is important to seek help.

Social Withdrawal

If a teen is normally very active with school, sports and friends, you can spot depression if they start to withdraw from these things. If a child no longer wants to get up and do anything, they could be dealing with some scary emotions. You should also watch out for a change in interests, not caring about the effects of their actions, and reduced emotional expression or interaction.

If you notice that a teen may be dealing with depression, it’s a good idea to contact a mental health professional for assistance. You can touch base with a counselor or doctor to find out some of the best resources in your area. Let the teen know that you’re there for them. They may not feel like talking right now, but it’s important that they know they can come find you at any time for help.

Read more: We Need to Do Something About Transgender Teen Depression

Bored and looking for things to do during coronavirus lockdown? Zoe Nazarian’s here to help…

Are you bored out of your mind and stuck at home thanks to the Corona Virus?

The truth is, everyone is doing their part to try to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this scary virus by staying at home under quarantine…so good job and kudos to you! But after the online classes are complete, after the chores your parents made you do are done, and after you’ve eaten ALL the snacks….what now?

When most of the world has shut down….gyms, restaurants, school and even movie theaters, what’s a teen to do during coronavirus social distancing?

Zoe Nazarian has compiled a list of 20 things to do when you’re bored, while you’re stuck at home. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to her channel and leave a comment on the video below sharing what you’re doing to cure your boredom and how you’re dealing with social distancing.

5 Best Things to Do in Japan to Experience the Local Culture

Do you want to experience the local culture on your upcoming trip to Japan? Check out these five best things to do in Japan.

There’s a record number of people visiting Japan for their vacation. Over 30 million visitors go to Japan every year. 

But, how do they actually spend their time in the Land of the Rising Sun? Stuffing your face with sushi and walking around the Bamboo Forest is great fun!

However, you may also wonder what are the best things to do in Japan if you want to discover more about the local culture.

Do you want to know more about Japanese culture? Check out our top 5 tips in the blog post below. Let’s get started!

1. Experience a Tea Ceremony 

Many Japanese people enjoy drinking several cups of tea per day. But, there is much more to the tea-drinking ceremony than slurping your favorite beverage.

There are many important meanings behind the simple ceremony. You can’t experience a true Japanese tea ceremony without someone else showing you how it’s done.

Not sure about your preferred cup of tea? You’ll be able to try everything from the sweetness of matcha green tea or the soothing flavor of sencha. 

2. Enjoy a Dip in the Onsen

Your experience in Japan is never complete without a visit to the one of the many onsens around the country.

Remember, everyone’s equal in the onsen. The hot springs are scattered around every corner of the islands of Japan.

Soaking yourself in these communal baths is a great way to relax and recover from other exhausting tourist activities.

The water in the onsens is considered by many local people to help with healing and restoring your health.

3. Be a Spectator at a Sumo Match

Are you a sports fan? You have probably never experienced a sport quite like sumo wrestling before. 

This isn’t just another martial art. It’s also packed with the traditions of Shintoism. Make sure you plan your visit around the matches.

You’ll be able to grab tickets to see a contest at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo in either January, May or September.

Check out more information about attraction tickets here.

4. Dress Up in a Kimono

When you walk around Kyoto, you’ll almost certainly encounter people dressed in Kimonos. These beautiful traditional garments are expensive souvenirs for tourists eager to take part in the local culture.

However, you can rent a kimono to enjoy as you walk around the city. This is especially common in the district of Gion in Kyoto, where rental shops are everywhere.

Taking snaps of you and your family in kimonos is a great way to create a lasting memory of your time in Japan.

5. Stop By an Izakaya

The izakayas are the best places to get a bite to eat and a drink of beer wherever you are in Japan.

You’ll notice the locals sitting at the bar at lunch breaks or after work enjoy small plates of sushi and cups of sake. 

Even though izakayas are famously narrow bars, you’d be amazed by how many people squeeze inside to experience this traditional aspect of Japanese culture.

What are the Best Things to do in Japan?

Now that you know some of the best things to do in Japan to experience the local culture, you can make sure you connect with the country’s traditions.

There are so many things to do in Japan while you’re on vacation. But, with our list, you can make sure you check off some must-see attractions.

The Anxious Teenager’s Guide to Meditation

Meditating is something anyone can do, and those who suffer from anxiety can benefit from the practice. It’s important to know a few basics before you start. Here are some simple ways for an anxious person to succeed at meditation.

Use an App

There are apps on the market that are designed to help you if you struggle from anxiety. Many are free and let you choose what you want to focus on during your meditation. These apps may have music, chants or simply words to verbally guide you through meditating. If you are nervous about getting started, an app makes a great helper. The voices on the app often remind you not to worry if your thoughts stray. They teach you how to come back to the rhythm of your breath and relax your entire being.

Use Grounding Techniques

An important part of meditation is using grounding techniques. Grounding techniques tether you to the now and allow you to stay focused while meditating. They also offer a simple way back if you start to stray into anxious thoughts. Focusing on the breath is an easy, effective grounding technique. You can count your breaths as you inhale and exhale. When your thoughts roam, you simply come back to counting the breaths you’re taking. You can also use visualizations to ground you. Some people imagine their bodies as trees with roots fully connected to the earth but branches reaching for the sky. This gives you a visual image to keep you in the moment.

Eliminate Distractions

You can meditate anywhere, but those who struggle with anxiety would do well to eliminate distractions before starting. This means finding a place that is quiet and comfortable and putting phones on silent so they won’t interrupt the process. Trying to meditate in a room full of people who are talking or somewhere else that is chaotic can make it even harder to focus on your body and your breath. If you are meditating at home, make sure you have a place in your dwelling that is tidy, comfortable and fairly isolated from noise. It’s also smart to add comfort to your mediation area so you’re not distracted. Place a pillow on the floor to sit on when you meditate. Make sure clutter is kept to a minimum so it won’t beckon you to distraction while you’re meditating.

Anxiety can be a frustrating condition to deal with, but thankfully there are things like meditation that can help make it a little bit easier. Anyone can meditate, and the benefits for people with anxiety are proven. Use these simple tips to get started.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Recover from Stress in a Healthy Way

We Need to Do Something About Transgender Teen Depression

As the world becomes a more open and understanding place, more people are becoming comfortable coming forward about being transgender.

One of the main issues surrounding this is the fact that more transgender people are also becoming – or at least reporting – depression. 

With 1.8% of youth identifying as transgender – a significantly higher statistic than previously believed – it’s becoming increasingly important to identify the issue of transgender teen depression. 

In fact, compared to cisgender people of a similar age, transgender youth report issues like depression and suicidal thinking much more frequently. One out of every three transgender youth in 2019 reported attempting suicide. A third also said that they had been sexually attacked. 

More than half of transgender teens reported being depressed for at least 2 weeks in the last year. 

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this situation needs to be addressed properly. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the possibilities.

A Bit About Transgender Teen Depression

Transgender teen depression is an important issue. Unfortunately, since it’s only been recently discussed in the media and mainstream psychology, it is not yet well-understood.

One of the reasons that transgender teen depression is so common is because these youth don’t have much of a community to find support in. They are going through very difficult emotions, and yet they don’t have a lot of people to confide in.

Someone struggling with anxiety, for example, immediately has a large support group – should they go seek for it. Massive numbers of psychologists are trained to help people manage anxiety, and virtually everyone has experienced some degree of anxiety at some point during their life. An anxious person can find support by simply talking about their issue.

A transgender teen, on the other hand, does not have many support groups. It can be very difficult for a transgender teen to find someone else who is going through the same issues. To make the problem even worse, some transgender teens are afraid to come out about their issues because they fear violence, judgment, or rejection from their peers.

The issue of being transgender deals with emotional problems that are not typically tackled in psychology. The idea of being born the wrong gender – to live in a body that’s different than what you believe you should have – has only recently adopted mainstream acceptance, and as such, there hasn’t been too much research done regarding the issue.

One of the issues that these youth face is the compounding nature of the problem. They are constantly reminded every day of their feelings:

  • They may often be called a name that they don’t feel suits their gender
  • They may be called to fulfill gender roles that they don’t feel that they fit
  • They are frequently the subject of assumptions that people make based on their perceived gender

Improving the Situation

One of the best ways to improve the situation is by promoting awareness and acceptance.

Acceptance of the individual as a human being, despite any differences, is of crucial importance here – not just for peers, but for parents, family members, teachers and employers of transgender youth.

Recognizing the issues they face allows these youth to feel more comfortable with themselves, and also discourages stigma and violence against transgender teens. This is the most important thing that we can do to help lessen the difficulties that these teens encounter.

In Conclusion

Transgender teen depression is a serious problem, but one that’s becoming acknowledged by the mainstream. If you or a loved one struggles with transgender issues, the best thing to do is compassionately spread awareness and acceptance about the issue. If you feel the need, don’t hesitate to seek out a therapist or counselor.

How to Recover from Stress in a Healthy Way

Stressful moments come in all shapes and sizes. You might have a disagreement with a close friend, sibling or parent. Tempers flare, and you find yourself feeling anxious and upset. Tests or projects in school bring another kind of stress, worrying about deadlines and making the grade. The way you recover from a stressful situation is just as important as how you make your way through it.

Take a Deep Breath

Your body’s response to stress is hardwired deep in your brain. Almost every living thing on the planet has a stress response that experts refer to as the fight or flight response. When you are under stress, you may notice that your heart beats faster and you feel anxious. Your brain has released hormones that signal your body to get revved up for action. In addition to a faster heartbeat, your body also releases energy that prepares your muscles to snap into action. When you take a deep breath, you are reversing the signal and telling your body to slow down. This meditation app explains that when you intentionally take a few deep breaths, you will start to feel calmer and are able to think more clearly about the situation.

Be Gentle with Yourself

Part of recovering from a moment of stress is learning to let go of it. This personal injury lawyer describes how traumatic situations can leave you with mental damage that can develop into anxiety, PTSD, or depression. Make sure you don’t retraumatize yourself by replaying the event over and over in your head. When you recognize that you are thinking about an upsetting event, instead of replaying it in a first-person view, try to replay it like a movie in the third person. This can give you some distance from the event, watching things play out in a safe way. 

It can also be helpful to spend some time in silence. When you realize that you are replaying the event, focus on your breath so you begin to control the thought pattern, recognizing that you are just thinking, and the event is not really happening again. Finally, take some time to read a book, watch a show or do something that will give you some distance from the stressful moment.

Go for a Long Walk

Because your body prepares for action when you are under stress, physical exercise can help you recover from stress. Going for a long walk, taking a run or dancing can help your body process the hormones and use the extra energy that is part of the stress response. Going out in the fresh air also encourages you to breathe more deeply, which will slow things down. Blue Zones describes how walking in the woods is seen as an important way to deal with stress in some cultures. There is something about being surrounded by tall trees that reminds you about how small your problems are in the grand scheme of things.

Make Healthy Choices

Sometimes, when people are under stress, they try to use food, drugs or alcohol to calm down. These may supply short-term relief, but they can cause serious long-term problems.  Hotel California By The Sea says that many substance abusers’ issues stem from people trying to self-medicate. It is too easy to fall into a pattern of reaching for something unhealthy every time you feel stressed or anxious. You will feel better about yourself if you stick with healthy choices as you recover from stress. If you are craving something sweet, reach for some fruit instead of candy or other sweets. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Stress throws you off balance, so you want to eat and drink in a way that gets you feeling normal.

Keep Things in Perspective

Once you calm down, you can start to put the stressful moment into perspective. A bad test grade is not the end of the world. Real friendships do not break after one argument. You were angry and upset at that moment, but that moment has passed. Once you have navigated through some of the emotion, you can think of the things that are going well in your life.  This can help your mind think rationally and let the small things go. Sometimes we need a break from our own thoughts. It is easy to overthink and to take life too seriously. Talking and laughing with others is a good way to keep life in perspective and to remember to enjoy it.  

Occasional stresses are a part of life. However, if you are constantly stressed and feeling anxious, make sure you reach out for help. According to Transformations Treatment Center, nearly 29% of Americans will develop an anxiety disorder, which means you are far from alone. Make sure you take care of yourself.

Learn about healthy eating choices by reading, “Food Sanity: How to eat in a world of fads and fiction”.

How to Get the Help You Need for PTSD

You can experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from many types of events. Though most people think of war when they think of PTSD, you may suffer from its symptoms due to experiences that have nothing to do with time in the military. The instigator could have been a car crash, sexual assault, or any other traumatic occurrence. Fortunately, there are ways to get help with your PTSD so you can deal with it properly and get your life back.

Go to a Therapist

Seeing a therapist is not something to be ashamed of, and the stigma that used to surround needing help from a professional has all but disappeared in today’s society. PTSD is a real condition, and you can benefit from seeking treatment from a mental health professional. In fact, a therapist can help you find the root cause of your PTSD and teach you coping skills. Think of going to therapy just as you would think of seeking any other medical treatment. In essence, it’s no different from going to a doctor when you are physically ill. According to Stewart J. Guss, if your PTSD was due to the negligent actions of another, you may be able to receive compensation to help pay for treatment.

Join a Support Group

PTSD can leave you feeling extremely isolated. Suffering through the symptoms of this condition tricks you into thinking no one else could possibly know what you’re going through. The truth is, there are support groups full of people dealing with PTSD. Joining one can help you receive the support you need. As Bridges to Recovery suggests, you can look for a support group that addresses PTSD in general, or you can look for a group whose members’ PTSD was brought on by the same type of event as yours. Either way, having other people in your life who know what you’re going through will help you recover.

Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor needs to know about your PTSD so it can be addressed when assessing your overall health and well-being. Your general practitioner may also be able to offer help for symptoms that won’t go away and are making your life more difficult. Medication will not cure PTSD, but some people choose to take something for the anxiety and depression that often accompany the condition. There are also natural options like nature retreats for helping your body cope with the problem when you are struggling with PTSD. Your doctor can discuss them with you.

Living with PTSD is not easy, but there are plenty of ways for you to deal with this condition. Seek help, and whatever you choose to do, don’t isolate yourself.

How to Recognize the Signs of Online Bullying

Social media and online communities are all fun and games, until they’re not. Though being called names online may seem like “no big deal,” that is one of the most common forms of online harassment.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 59% of teens have been bullied or harassed online. In addition to name calling, spreading of rumors and receiving explicit images are two other common types of cyber bullying.

Though parents and teachers are good people to talk to about cyber bullying issues, it’s also important to know your rights and how to take charge of the situation. Below are a few different types of online harassment that you should know, and ways you can handle them. These tips and the infographic below provided by Panda Security.

Cyberstalking

When someone uses various platforms (ex. social media, email, instant messaging) to repeatedly harass you. Cyberstalking can be a federal offense, and may also have state-by-state laws. If someone is cyberstalking you, make sure to collect evidence to present to parents and/or authorities. You should also set your social media accounts to block accounts that are harassing you.

Online Impersonation

When a person uses your name or persona without your content and with the intent to harm. For example, if someone creates a fake social media account in your name to ruin your reputation. Report social media accounts that impersonate you immediately.

Catfishing

When someone creates a fake online identity for the purpose of starting a relationship and/or tempting you to meet up with them. You are especially at risk if you are on dating sites or apps. Be careful when talking to strangers online and do not provide them with too much personal information like where you live. Never meet them in person alone.

Doxxing

When your personal information is published online with the purpose of others harassing you. This is not illegal if your information is gathered from public accounts — be careful when you put too information like your email or phone number online. You should also Google your name to see what’s accessible to strangers and make sure your social accounts are private to avoid being spammed.

Trolling

When someone makes controversial comments in order to provoke arguments or emotional responses. Trolling is not a crime and may just be a “joke.” However, trolling can also lead to hurt feelings and may start rumors — if you notice someone trolling your or a friend, do not respond. If their trolling is inappropriate, report them to the website.

In addition to understanding different forms of cyber bullying, you should also familiarize yourself with your school’s anti-bullying policies. At many schools, there are consequences for students who are cyber bullies, just like if someone where physically bullying you. Remember to document instances of bullying with screenshots, since the bully may decide to delete their comments later. And remember, being cyber bullied isn’t something to be embarrassed about! Parents and friends are there to support you and help you handle the situation so that it doesn’t happen to others.

cyberbullying infographic

3 Ways to Steer Clear of Drug Addiction for Life

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Drug addiction is a major problem among teenagers. DrugAbuse.com explains that, “although general trends show that teens are using alcohol and drugs less than previous generations, the drugs that are being used are more dangerous than ever. Especially in regards to pharmaceutical abuse.” The teenage years are among the most stressful periods of your lifetime, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Without all of the facts, using drugs to relax or celebrate may seem harmless. However, studies show that using drugs at an early age increases risks for addiction. Learning the risk factors can help you avoid drug addiction throughout life.

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Get a Solid Support Network

As you near adulthood, it is natural to forge strong friendships with peers and depend less on adults. However, it is vital to maintain healthy relationships with dependable adults in your life. Talking to adults you trust can help you make the best decisions about drugs and alcohol.

It is important to consider how your relationships help you grow. Depending on your peers for opinions is normal and some types of peer pressure are positive. You should always feel comfortable voicing your own opinions. Surround yourself with positive role models. Avoiding groups who depend on drugs can help you avoid pressure to try them yourself.

Educate Yourself on the Dangers Involved

In order to make decisions, you must have the proper information. Don’t take the decision to use drugs lightly. Educate yourself on the risks of any substance you put in your body. Most teenagers aren’t even aware of how dangerous drugs are, and the information they share may not be accurate. According to The Recovery Village, “research has shown that only 11 percent of people who need drug treatment end up getting it. In addition, of all people over the age of 12 with drug use issues, over 82 percent didn’t recognize that they needed treatment, so they didn’t get help.”

Learning the facts about drug use and addiction can help you and those around you. Taking the time to get educated about the dangers of prescription and illicit drugs can alert you to the potential for addiction. Sharing your new knowledge with others spreads education about the dangers of these substances.

Beware of Alcohol

Alcohol is the most abused mood-affecting drug in the United States. Around 70 percent of people who seek help for substance abuse suffer from alcoholism. Although drinking alcohol publicly is illegal for people under 21 in most states, alcohol abuse among teens is a serious problem. According to MedicineNet, “almost half of 10th grade students and nearly 65 percent of high school seniors have admitted to drinking alcohol.” The dangers of alcohol use are larger than potential addiction. While under the influence of alcohol, teens are more likely to make bad decisions and participate in other dangerous behavior. Increased confidence often comes with the use of alcohol. Drivers can overestimate their abilities when they have been drinking. Your decisions regarding the use of alcohol include your surroundings. It is possible to become a victim of someone else’s alcohol abuse.

With the right knowledge, avoiding drug and alcohol abuse is possible. If you or someone you know is already suffering from drug dependence or abuse, effective treatments are widely available. Communication is the most effective way to eliminate this growing problem.

Things a teen can do outside and not on the phone

things a teen can do outdoors and not on phone

Teens are kinda addicted to their phones. Teens spend more time streaming videos online, playing video games, and interacting on social media combined than any other activities. Unfortunately, this means that teens rarely spend time outside, but finding things a teen can do outside and not on the phone is going to improve your health.

things a teen can do outdoors and not on phone

When you stay inside all the time, you miss out on the physical and spiritual benefits that sunshine, fresh air, and exercise can give you. Getting too much sun can be bad for you, but not getting enough sun can be worse. The sun can help elevate your mood and regulate your circadian clock, which i turn helps you sleep better. To reap these benefits, try to do things a teen can do outside and not on the phone. Here are a few ways every teen can get outside more often:

Involve your friends

Get a group of friends together for stuff you can do outside. Teens are kind of in between still being a kid and being young adults, so you can get away with being goofy and running around. Examples of things you can do include:

  • Volleyball (could be informal, just hit the ball in the air if you don’t have a net)
  • Hiking
  • Walking around the city and talking
  • Manhunt (you need a larger group)
  • Bocce ball
  • Miniature golf
  • Frisbee
  • Kick a ball around, or a hacky-sack
  • Hunt geocaches
  • Urban exploration (don’t trespass, but you can find really cool locations)

Active Sports and Activities

Take the initiative to participate in sports such as swimming or tennis if you are an active person. See if you can get involved in a baseball or softball league. You can also take a weekend hiking, fishing, or camping trip.

If you aren’t interested in participating in sports, you can always spend time outside watching others play. Attend football, baseball or soccer games. Going to a beach or a lake to enjoy the beauty of the water is always a good alternative option.

People watch

Outside of playing games and sports to spend time outside, there are alternative options that you can choose. Walk around the park and just watch people. Don’t be creepy and stare, but just look them over and try to find something you like about them. This will help you come out of your shell a little bit, especially if you are mad at someone or very shy. Your mood will get better. And you never know where you might make a new friend!

Walk or bike everyhere

Making it a point to walk or bike everywhere is another way to get outdoors without having to play a sport or game. Get in the habit of walking or biking to school if you live in a safe enough area. If you are old enough to drive, don’t waste time hunting for a close parking spot at the mall, but park far and enjoy the extra exercise.

Safety comes first

No matter what outdoor activity you try, make sure you don’t take stupid risks or break the law. These are not worth it. Stay alert to your surroundings. Don’t walk or jog with earphones in your ears. This can drown out what’s going on around you.

Be sure to look out for cars that may back up out of driveways or that run red lights whenever you go outdoors. Be careful not to walk or bike after dark. Most pedestrian accidents that result in injury happen at night. It is also dangerous to cross the street anywhere other than the crosswalk of an intersection.

Once you enjoy things a teen can do outside and not on the phone more often, you may start to wonder whether you even need video games or spending so much time obsessing about your Snapchat streaks. Be cautious, be safe, and have fun.