#1 Teach Them to Build their Mental Strength

Written by Dr. RJ

  |  Reviewed by Jen Bell

Mental strength is a person’s capability to cope successfully with stresses, demands, and difficulties and achieve their full potential regardless of the conditions they encounter. Developing mental strength is critical to living one’s best life.

Just as people go to the gym and lift weights to strengthen their muscles, we can also improve our mental health by using certain tools and methods.

When we are mentally healthy, this helps us to live a life that we like, with significant social relationships and a positive sense of self-worth. It also enables us to take chances, do new things, and cope better with any tough circumstances that life may throw our way.

Mental strength is something that your young person can develop over time, by prioritizing their personal growth. Just as exercise and a healthy diet can bring physical benefits, good mental habits — such as practicing thankfulness and taking healthy risks — can bring mental health benefits.

To experience improvements in our physical health, we must also consider giving up harmful behaviors like eating too much junk food. In a similar way, if we want to see mental improvements, we need to give up bad habits like making negative comments about ourselves.

To learn more about building mental strength, check out BLOOM’s Mental Strength page.

#2 Self-Acceptance

If your young person needs to improve the way they see themselves, here are some strategies they can use. To begin, they should try to stop treating their body as an object, and avoid comparing it to the “ideal” bodies that they see in the media. Encourage them to think about how much time they spend mentally assessing their physical appearance, and worrying about how others see them.

Your young person can begin to love their body by recognizing that how they think others may see them doesn’t matter, only their own viewpoint matters in this regard. Encourage your young person to take pride in themselves by standing tall with their chest wide and shoulders relaxed, to demonstrate love for their body. Suggest that your young person continually remind themselves of all the things they like about themselves, inside and out, and all the things their body can do and accomplish. By doing these things over time, they can slowly develop an appreciation for and acceptance of their body.

Helping your young person to fully appreciate their individual physical, social, and learning strengths and challenges will also help them grow their self-acceptance. Is your young person neurodivergent? Do they have motor or learning differences from many of their peers? Are they dyslexic or have ADHD?  Are they deaf or low vision? With each of these unique differences come so many amazing strengths and abilities. Help your young person celebrate their individuality and find successful role models.

For your young person to change their mindset of how they see themselves, they will need to work to stop any thoughts that focus on only one aspect or part of themselves that they have negative thoughts about. Encourage them to see themselves as a whole person and not just negative parts.

Advise your young person to try to change the way they talk to themselves and about themselves from negative, to positive. To develop a healthy connection with our bodies and minds, we need to stop speaking so harshly to ourselves! We must unlearn society’s method of doing things and do things our way! Propose that your young person treats themselves and their body as a friend — this is a major step toward developing a good self-perception. Encourage your young person to be kind to themselves.

Your young person will also need to remove any negative influences that cause them to feel shame, anxious, or insecure about themselves. This can include, stopping the viewing of negative and distorted media or distancing themselves from anyone or anything that does not support and love them for who they are.

Above all, remind them that it is alright to make mistakes along the way. Be patient; improving our everyday habits is a marathon, not a sprint. Self-love may contribute significantly to a healthy lifestyle.

#3 Change their Mindset with Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a kind of meditation in which a person focuses on being aware of what they are experiencing and feeling, without judgment or interpretation. Mindfulness training includes the use of guided meditations, and other relaxation approaches to help the body relax and decrease stress.

5 Simple Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a kind of meditation in which a person focuses on being aware of what they are experiencing and feeling, without judgment or interpretation. Mindfulness training includes the use of guided meditations, and other relaxation approaches to help the body relax and decrease stress.

#1 Attention

They should try to slow down and observe things around them, and make an effort to engage all of the senses while experiencing their surroundings — touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. For instance, when they eat their favorite food, they should take time to smell, taste, and appreciate it.

#2 Living in the moment

Encourage your young person to make a conscious effort to bring an open and accepting awareness to everything they do. Discover delight in little pleasures.

#3 Accepting yourself

Suggest that your young person try to respect and accept themselves as they would a good friend.

#4  Gratitude

Teach your young person to recognize the amazing things their body can feel, do, and accomplish. Encourage them to view themselves as a whole person with many attributes that they are grateful for. Suggest they give themselves thanks and self praise for the incredible things they are able to do and achieve in their body.

#5 Kindness

Remind them to practice acts of giving or contributing to something that makes them feel good about themselves.

Your young person can practice these mindfulness techniques anywhere and at any time. Some other mindfulness activities, such as a body scan or sitting meditation, require some time in a quiet location free of distractions or disruptions. Your young person may want to do these kinds of mental workouts first thing in the morning before beginning their daily routine. To learn how to practice mindfulness and listen to audio practices, visit BLOOM’s Mindfulness page.

#4 Help them Take Care of their Body

Our physical and mental health are completely connected. By making healthy choices with nutrition, sleep, exercise, and activities that bring pleasure, young people can take good care of their body. Many aspects of our lifestyle and behaviors affect our mental health and general well-being. Just as good sleep, food, and exercise habits are critical for physical fitness, they also have a strong correlation with mental health.

Consuming nutritious foods, engaging in regular physical activity, and ensuring your young person  receives enough high-quality sleep each night may help improve their psychological well-being and decrease their chance of developing disorders like depression and anxiety.

Likewise, a lack of exercise, sleep, and healthy food can have a detrimental effect on your young person’s mood and perspective. We should all try to eat, exercise, and sleep in ways that benefit our bodies and minds. However, according to a study published in “Frontiers in Psychology,” sleep seems to be the greatest predictor of mental well-being — specifically, sleep quality, probably followed by sleep quantity (Rönnlund & Carelli, 2018). This means that, although your young person should prioritize nutrition, exercise, and sleep for optimum health and longevity, focusing additional attention on their sleep patterns may be the most effective approach for maintaining a positive attitude and avoiding stress, anxiety, and mood swings.

To learn more about helping your young person take good care of their body, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.

#5 Setting Achievable Goals for their Health

Over time, goal-setting methods have been shown to assist people in beginning and maintaining healthy behaviors. Goals can motivate us, and help us to start new habits, guide our attention, and sustain a feeling of momentum in our lives. Goals also help us to concentrate our attention, and achieving a goal can foster a feeling of self-mastery. Setting goals is not only inspiring, it can also help enhance your young person’s mental health and their level of personal and professional success.

Start by asking or helping them to set an achievable goal. This goal can be broken into a number of steps that they can achieve along the way. Having smaller steps will allow them to see the gains they are making, and help them stay on track. It will also help manage their ability to adapt in case there is failure along the way. The hardest part about a goal is starting, so give them encouragement to just jump in, to tell others about their goal, and to expect some hiccups along the way. Just making a goal and getting started on achieving it is a huge measure of success! Remember that what you model as their trusted adult has a huge influence on their life, so sometimes the best place to start is by modeling this skill yourself. When your young person sees your progress towards your goal, they will likely be inspired to start working on their own. When setting goals, it can be helpful to remember the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.

Specific: Every goal should be clear and specific.

Measurable: It is important to have measurable goals so that you can track your progress, stay on track, and keep motivated.

Achievable: A goal that is within your skill set or that stretches your abilities a bit is far more likely to be attainable and accomplished.

Relevant: It is helpful to have realistic and relevant goals. When making a goal, be sure that it is relevant for your life and lights you up with inspiration. Also be sure it is reasonable according to your skillset and resources (time and money) available.

Time Bound: Be sure to give your goal a time frame or target date so that you have a deadline to work toward.

To learn more about setting achievable goals and building healthy habits, visit BLOOM’s Mental Strength page.

Tip #6 Let them Know - They are Enough

Self-worth is a measure of how much you respect yourself. It is not determined by what others think of you or the accomplishments you have made — it comes from within.

Self-acceptance is probably the greatest gift your young person can offer themselves. Self-acceptance is unconditional: it means accepting yourself as you are, faults and all. If we make self-acceptance or self-love conditional, the reality is that we will never be satisfied with ourselves.

The truth is that our bodies are continuously evolving and will never be the same as they were the day before. If we put our self-worth on something as fluid as our appearances, we will perpetually ride the emotional roller coaster of body preoccupation and humiliation.

If they want to alter their appearance, they should do it for themselves. However, they must keep in mind that one’s body image does not determine one’s value. A lovely body or a gorgeous face will not last forever nor change the way they truly feel about themselves inside. If your young person’s self-worth is based only on how they look, then imagine how their self-worth could change from day to day. It’s important that they explore self-worth beyond the boundaries of their appearance. Once they understand who they are and are content with that, they can find serenity even while they navigate life’s unavoidable highs and lows.

The most important thing for your young person to remember and repeat to themselves is this: you are already whole, you are unique, and you are enough just the way you are.