Table of contents:
- Several years ago, while working on a diploma on the topic "Skills of emotional self-regulation in adolescents," one of my students surveyed 172 high school students. She asked them a simple question: "What do you do when you are in a bad mood and need to urgently improve it?"
- Popular Answers Rating:
Video: Coping Skills For Teens, Or Cheer Yourself Up! - Self-development, Society
2023 Author: Oswald Adamson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 20:18
Several years ago, while working on a diploma on the topic "Skills of emotional self-regulation in adolescents," one of my students surveyed 172 high school students. She asked them a simple question: "What do you do when you are in a bad mood and need to urgently improve it?"
Popular Answers Rating:
- I'll go for a walk (it's better with friends, but you can do it alone).
- I will do something interesting that will distract me from sad thoughts (for example, play my favorite game on my PC).
- I will share my problems with friends (you can by phone or via social networks).
- I will watch cartoons / series / movies on TV or some funny videos on the Internet.
- Eat something tasty.
I think that intuitively these methods are clear to everyone and probably universal. Try this experiment: ask any teenager you know to name five or seven ways they can improve their mood, and you will hear responses similar to the rating given.
The problem is that from the above formulations it is not very clear exactly how and why these actions improve mood. It is also unclear how constructive all of these methods are. For example, when a teenager says, “To improve my mood, I need to go for a walk with friends,” is this a good decision or a bad decision? This question can be answered only if we know what this walk will be like, what kind of friends will be there and what they will be doing.
Option one: “I meet with a cheerful company of mountbikers or snowboarders, we ride a new hill with them all evening, after which I return home tired, but happy” (stress and bad mood disappeared like a hand).
Option two: “I meet with a cheerful company of those who like to smoke and pivasik, we smoke and drink all evening at the entrance, periodically swearing with the residents who threaten to call the police; then we heroically run away from the police (adrenaline!), and stealthily return home. " At the same time, the stress and bad mood became even stronger, because one of the friends was detained by the police, and the evening passes in anxious expectation - he will hand over our cheerful company or not.
A similar story with such an option to get rid of a bad mood, as "doing what I love." More than 60% of boys indicated computer games as their "favorite business", and about 70% of girls indicated aimless wandering on the Internet in search of entertainment content. Both behaviors can be addiction (pathological addiction), which at first really improves mood, but in the long term creates even more problems and reasons for a bad mood.
The methods we use intuitively to improve mood are not always useful and effective. This is especially true for adolescents who uncritically copy the patterns of behavior adopted in the family or among peers. Constructive coping skills must be taught
Coping skills (or coping strategies) are any behaviors with which we can purposefully change our emotional state. And the first thing that needs to be taught to a child is to learn to distinguish constructive coping skills from destructive ones. For example, when you hear some bad news, you can “relieve stress” with a glass of vodka, or you can with a glass of hot sweet tea. The second method is clearly healthier and more constructive, although here it is important to know the measure in the use of sugar and caffeine.
Constructive coping skills:
- improve mood “here and now”, but not at the expense of causing harm to health (now or in the future);
- do not violate social norms, do not harm other people;
- do not have negative side effects (in the form of addiction and dependence).
There are several groups of coping skills:
Body coping skills can be conditionally divided into “hedonistic” (associated with receiving bodily pleasures) and “mobilization” (when we enter into a “fight” with negative emotions by increasing bodily activity).
Here are examples of “hedonistic” bodily coping skills:
- Relax! (You can just lie in silence with your eyes closed or take a nap for at least 40 minutes.)
- Take a soothing warm bath / shower (or at least wash yourself with warm water).
- Drink hot tea with something sweet (dark chocolate and natural fruits - bananas, citrus fruits, strawberries are especially recommended).
- Do a light self-massage of your face and neck.
- Master meditation, where you need to concentrate on breathing (teenagers easily learn this technique) and breathe calmly like this for five to seven minutes.
"Mobilization" bodily coping skills are based on the principle: "Any feasible physical activity (which you like) burns negative emotions!" In addition, during exercise, endorphins are produced - "hormones of joy", which are a natural antidote to any stress. Ideal "mobilization" occurs during sports / fitness, but if you are far from sports, then a regular walk at a medium-fast pace for 30-40 minutes will suffice.
Emotional coping skills are diverse, I will describe in detail only two of them, which (as was tested in self-regulation trainings) adolescents understand well:
Exhaustion of negative emotions. It is necessary to take any action that will help to survive the negative emotion, throw it out (constructively!) And thereby get rid of it, making room for positive experiences.
To “exhaust” a negative emotion, it must be identified (literally say out loud: “I'm upset!”). Then you need to express it as much as possible. You can cry, scream, stamp your feet.
Other forms of expression are also suitable, such as a monologue in front of a mirror, writing in a personal diary, "dance of the state", etc. Expression should last as long as necessary - until you feel that the original state has subsided, receded.
Direct switching to positive emotion. Absolutely every person in the past has experience of doing something that is guaranteed to evoke positive emotions. I once consulted a 13-year-old teenager living in a very dysfunctional environment and with a chronically depressed mood.
In search of something that once gave him joy, we discovered an animated series that he loved to watch … at the age of seven! The most interesting thing is that when he tried to revise these cartoons in those moments when he was completely covered with teenage depression, this "emotional pill" turned out to be quite an effective means of improving his mood.
Usually, it is not necessary to go back so far into the past, you can always find some more relevant and proven way to get positive emotions. It is best to identify three or five such ways and purposefully use them when things are really bad.
Cognitive coping skills in adolescents are usually difficult, since almost all of them are based on developed reflection and introspection (and these abilities are still being formed in children). But on the other hand, social coping skills do an excellent job of improving mood (it's not for nothing that the leading type of activity among adolescents is communication)!
Social coping skills are based on active interaction with other people. Any communication includes such mechanisms of emotional impact as imitation, infection, empathy. This means that even if we just stay with someone who is in a more positive mood than ours, then our emotional state will improve. And if there is already a benevolent person close to us who is ready to support us emotionally, then the power of such support works real miracles, helping us to get out of the darkest conditions.
Examples of social coping skills (for teens):
- just be in the crowd (for example, take a walk in a shopping center);
- be in the company of positive-minded people (for example, among fans at a concert);
- call your best friend / girlfriend (or even better, meet him / her personally) and just share your sorrows (but there is an important condition - first ask if your friend is ready to accept your negativity, if he has the emotional strength to support you; if not, then better postpone the conversation);
- chat with a person (acquaintance, friend or relative) with whom you have not seen or communicated for a very long time;
- visit some unfamiliar place for you, chat with new people (it is only important that it is a safe place and safe people);
- do something that you have dreamed of for a long time, but were constantly postponed for various reasons;
- do something kind and good for the other person / people (options can be different: from an unexpected gift to a close friend to participation as a volunteer in some social project);
- strange as it may sound, share your problems and sorrows with your parents, even if it seems that they “will not understand”. Surely they will not refuse you help and support. But if you don't trust your parents, contact a psychologist!
There are actually a lot of coping strategies (coping skills), they can and should be individual. If you yourself invent constructive ways to switch your mood from "minus" to "plus", this will be the best solution! And do not forget that coping skills can be combined with each other, creating such killer compositions from them that there will be no chance for a bad mood.