Taking care of yourself keeps your mind and body primed and ready to deal with stressful situations.

Taking care of yourself can mean anything from paying attention to your own needs and feelings to helping others whose problems are more serious than yours.  It can mean finding the will to live well, engaging in activities that you enjoy and experience as relaxing.  It can mean slowing down and doing nothing at all for awhile.

Every one of us faces times of anxiety, stress and pain. These suggestions are ideas for ways to help you get through the tough times. Taking these small steps can help reduce even normal levels of stress that come with life as a young person. They won't help everybody all the time, but even a little can make a difference.

How's Your Spirit?

Probably someone has asked you, "So, how are your spirits", right? But what does that mean? Are we only talking about your mood? What do spirits have to do with me, anyway?

Spirit can mean different things to different people. Usually it is something that we don't see or touch, its a sense of something that exists within us, maybe the "alive" part of us. For lots of people, being spiritual means observing rituals, studying religious texts and attending regular services. For others, it might be about the energy that flows in us which helps guide and motivate us.

Perhaps a simple way of defining spirituality is anything you consider meaningful and special. Whether you find it in God, in people, in nature, or in art, it can be a place of lightness and release from every day pressures and pains.

Get to know your spiritual side. It'll give you a:

  • reassuring belief that you don't have to know how to control everything
  • sense of purpose and meaning 
  • feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself
  • way to understand suffering 
  • connection with others 
  • reminder of the good in the world
People who have survived suicide give many reasons for why they are still alive today. Among those reasons there runs a common thread: they realized that their life had a purpose and that they had a place in the big picture.

meaningIf you are feeling uncertain about how you fit in, consider some of these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • What do I want to do with my life?
Discover the connection between purpose and meaning
  • Purpose:
    • My aim.

    • My reason for being.

    • My reason for getting up in the morning.

Purpose tells us who we are, where we came from and where we're going. We shape our lives around our sense of purpose. It gives us energy and direction. What, or who, you want to be can provide clues to your purpose. What is that unique something inside of you that you wish to develop and pursue? You might want to ask yourself: What are my talents and interests? What moves me? What do I dream about? Who are the people I most admire? What would my ideal life/school/city/country/world look like?

You know that life can be pretty tough sometimes. Problems that you face may be severe, ranging from significant changes at home, to being bullied, to the death of someone close to you. These things can be really painful to you and to others. Each person who suffers from really rough times responds differently. Some can get pretty low and stay there, while others seems to be able to bounce back. Why is that? Those who bounce back are using the skills of "resilience."

Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of hard times. The skills of resilience are used to bounce back from big, as well as little, stressors, by processing and managing tough situations and calling on available support. People who haven't developed strong resilience don't deal as well with challenging situations and can get pretty distressed by them. The skills of resilience can be learned anytime in life. Even if things seems to be going well for you, it's good to work on building your resilience skills for a time that you may need them. 

People who are resilient have:

  • Feelings of competence
  • A belief that there is always something one can do to manage one's feelings and cope
  • Positive social relationships
  • Impulse control
  • Problem solving skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • A healthy lifestyle
  • Goals, aspirations, dreams, a sense of purpose
  • Life-affirming spiritual, religious or cultural beliefs
  • Knowledge about when and where to get help
  • A sense of humor
  • Comfort with ambiguity
  • A sense of responsibility
  • A positive outlookrainbow
  • A sense of oneself as a survivor rather than a victim
  • A positive moral compass
  • Tolerance for differences in people, ideologies and beliefs

Protective Factors: The Building Blocks of Resilience

Every day you make choices that may seem inconsequential to you, but are actually building your core strengths in resilience by "cultivating protective factors". It sound complicated, but its actually pretty simple. Protective factors are the things around you, resources and conditions that are available to you. You might notice protective factors at home, at school, in your community, and amongst your friends. By increasing your protective factors and reducing your risk factors, you can start improving your well-being. 

Learn where to look for protective factors

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