We've all had friends say it to us and we've all said it to our friends and family. "I'm fine" can be code for "I'm not really ok but I don't have the energy or words to explain and I'm not sure if you really want the truth." By asking "how are you really?" we are telling the other person that we care and want to help. Sometimes the act of talking about something can make them feel better. But if your friend shares that they want to hurt themselves or someone else, find an understanding adult who can help. Talk to a school counsellor, chaplain or teacher, a parent, aunty, family friend or someone else you can trust.
If you're anything like me you worry about a lot of stuff. We waste a lot of energy worrying about things that don't deserve our attention. There's a Chinese term zhilaohu which translates to 'paper tigers.' This refers to things that seem threatening or powerful but are actually weak and insignificant. If it can physically hurt you it is a real tiger, but if it can't it's a paper tiger.
You can read more at www.fosteringresilience.com.
CHALLENGE: Write down the things that you're worried about then decide if each one is a paper tiger or a real tiger.
According to a recent study, reading for six minutes a day can reduce a person's stress level by 68 percent. You have to read silently for six minutes straight for this to work. Researchers from the Mindlab at the University of Sussex found that reading was more effective at reducing stress than listening to music, having a cup of tea or going for a walk. Researcher and cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis said, “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation." Read more here.
I've had this cactus for about 40 years. The thing I love about this cactus is that it's impossible to kill. It seems to thrive, no matter the conditions. It's what we call resilient. In summer it survives on very little water and in winter it gets saturated with rain.
We need to learn to be like a cactus, not prickly, but able to survive and grow in all kinds of conditions. Life is not all sunshine and unicorns, sometimes there are bad days and even bad seasons. We need to learn not just to survive those tough times, but to thrive in them. So how do we do that? Here are three simple things you can do to help you get through the tough times:
Kids' Helpline is not just for kids - their counsellors are trained to deal with people up to the age of 25.
According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, spending two hours a week in the natural environment can improve your physical and mental health. You don't have to spend two hours in one hit, you can spend four half hour blocks in nature. You don't have to climb a mountain either, you can just go for a leisurely walk. Just get out of the burbs and to the park, the beach, the river, the bush (maybe take a friend). Just because it's the middle of winter is no excuse, just rug up and get out there. I took this photo on a drizzly day this week when I was walking my dog.
It's important to look after your mental health - especially with exams coming up. Even if you don't think that you've got time to take a break, you will be much more efficient if you do.