January is Mental Wellness Month, an educational initiative organized by the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP). The organization’s goal is to educate the public on the importance of mental wellness. Integrating habits that contribute to a person’s mental wellness can help decrease the chances of developing a more serious mental illness or condition.
Youth and/or young adults who are struggling with their relationships, immediate surroundings or current circumstances may consider running away to escape their problems. Mental wellness practices can help youth to better manage their emotions, and prevent them from making rash decisions that could lead them into danger.
There are several resources that youth can use to improve their mental wellness. NRS has compiled several tools and suggestions from experts for youth to use right away.
Define the anger. NRS created a runaway prevention curriculum in thirteen modules that gives youth the tools to deal with situations and decisions that may lead them to the danger of the streets. One of those modules, entitled, “Anger Management,”
Teaches youth to identify how their bodies and minds react to anger. It also teaches youth how to deal with anger in a healthy and productive way. The module contains exercises that are designed to help youth find the reasons why people get upset, as well as positive ways to deal with their anger. There are also relaxation techniques that youth can use to find emotional balance. Youth that speak to their issues in a calm fashion are less likely to make rash decisions that could place them in harm’s way.
Recreate the story. Teach for America Corps member and former NRS staffer Tasha Richardson created an action plan for youth that can use to maintain or improve their mental wellness.
One of those methods encourages youth to recreate their story.
“We are all authors!” writes Richardson. “And just as any author, we have the creative license to decide what parts of our story to tell, and what parts to omit. The truth is that life can be seen from a variety of perspectives–each just as real and valid as the next.”
By looking at the present circumstances from a different perspective, a person can change the way she feels. She reminds us that we all have “the power to create and recreate new worlds and realities…even when the outer world has not changed.”
If you can’t change your external circumstances, change those within. Ms. Richardson suggests that we have the ability to approach obstacles through an “inward retreat.”
“Sometimes,” Richardson writes, “we just cannot change our outer circumstances. Most times, this change is impossible because people will not change unless they want to and because many things, events, and circumstances lie outside of our locus of control.”
Practical tips on how to change from within include:
- Be honest with yourself. What is it that you really want?
- Brainstorm people and other resources that can help support you in your efforts.
- Name some goals and activities that you take pleasure in doing that are not related to your current situation. Be sure to engage in them often.
- Smile about and visualize your ideal situation.
All of these tools can be used right away to help youth change their perspective on their situation and improve their mental wellness. Youth can find healthier, more immediate results to their crises and can avoid the dangers of running away.