4 Ways to Teach Your Teens About Mental Hygiene

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What is mental hygiene?

I use the term mental hygiene all the time with my clients.  Just like you have to take care of your body, your clothes, your hair, keep your school work neat, and try to keep your desk organized…you have to do the same with your mental state.  In fact, your brain is very similar to a home office.  If you don’t do some mini-clean-ups, take breaks and have places for your tools, it will be a total mess and you will not be able to get anything done.

I think it is very important to teach this idea to your teens:

1) Managing Information Overload

I wrote this article a few months ago about Information Overload.  Talk to your teens about taking in too much information and learning how to sift through what is essential and what is not.

2) How to Take Breaks

Breaks are essential.  We need sleep to recover and function, just like we need breaks to let our mental state to reboot.  Teach your teens how to learn to do lots of different things.  Sudoku, creative writing, singing, meditating, running these are all different ways of exercising your mind and essential for allowing it to function at top speed.

3) Harmony and Balance

I hint at this above, balance activities.  This might be a little bit sick, but I usually read about 6 different books at the same time.  I read a girly book, a business book, a biography, a historical book and a how-to book because it gives my mind lots of different things to think about.  I always make the comparison for teens that its like wanting to have great legs and only working out your quads.  If you want great legs, work out your calves, your hamstrings and your thighs!

4) Mental Vomit

That’s a gross title, but it is very demonstrative of this concept!  Sometimes my clients have a lot of mental stress because they are overly burdened with ideas, nags and thoughts.  Sometimes I have them just do a mental purge.  That can be writing in a journal or making 6 different lists.  Once they are out of your brain on paper, it can feel so much better.
I am seeing more and more teens who are depressed, have mood swings and have high anxiety.  In the age of such high pressure, mental hygiene is an essential concept for your people to be aware of.

This post is dedicated to Kathy Peel who’s work as the first family manager inspired me to teach others about balance, love and harmony—the ultimate mental hygiene.

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4 Responses to “4 Ways to Teach Your Teens About Mental Hygiene”

  1. Angel Cuala
    November 22, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    This is a very helpful post for me, as my daughter will be 13 next year.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. lisaf-breakingthecycles
    November 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm #

    A very helpful post and something we, as parents, need to be mindful of doing, as well – not only for our own mental health but to model for our teens what it looks like.
    Thanks for the great tips.

  3. Vanessa
    November 26, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    No problem, thank you for reading!


  4. virtual worlds for kids
    April 17, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    Mental vomit is interesting, and it works for me. thanks for the post!

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