4 Benefits of Kindness

4 Benefits of Kindness

There is something about the Holiday Season that just makes you happy. It is all about family and traditions, but it is also easy to get caught up in yourself and the busyness of this time of year.

That is one reason I love that Thanksgiving comes before the Christmas season! It is the perfect reminder that we first must show gratitude. It is a time to slow down, eat good food, and simply be together – no gifts or trees required!

I don’t know about you, but I am a more content person when I start with gratitude. As I think about things that can turn my weeks around, another thing came to mind…kindness!

It only takes a small act of kindness to make a big difference. When I think about difficult or busy seasons when I have been overwhelmed, I have often survived off the kindness of others. People brought meals after I had my kids. Friends sent treats when we were sick. Strangers put up my shopping cart when my hands were full. My kids told me they loved me when I was having a bad day.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much!

But the fascinating thing is that it can make an even bigger difference if YOU are the one being kind! An article by the Baton Rouge Clinic outlines eight ways that being kind can actually be good for you. It includes both physical and mental health benefits, but I want to focus on four…

Being kind increases self-esteem. Think about a time that you did something for someone else. I doubt you regret that act of kindness. In fact, it probably made you feel better about yourself for a few days. When you help someone feel better, it has the same effect on you!

Being kind boosts your mood. Being kind elevates serotonin and dopamine levels, increasing feelings of happiness, rewards, and motivation. Try an act of kindness the next time you are feeling down!

Being kind enhances your connection. When you show kindness, it is a great reminder that you are not alone. It promotes a sense of community and can help you connect in deeper, more meaningful ways.

Being kind can lower your stress. It has been found that showing kindness can actually lower the release of cortisol, a stress hormone in your body. Everyone carries stress around, but something as small as being kind to a loved one could help lighten your load!

Recently on the Teen Life Podcast, we spent some time talking about ways to encourage kindness in our teens. We gave practical ideas on how you can show kindness together. I encourage you to go give that a listen!

As we launch into one of the busiest times of the year, let’s commit to showing extra kindness – both for the benefit of others and ourselves!

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Ep. 80: Social Awkwardness & Exercise

Ep. 80: Social Awkwardness & Exercise

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Summary:
Around 15% of people have social skill challenges and communication difficulties that are considered to make them socially awkward. Teens can feel socially awkward in any setting, including school, special events, large family gatherings, on the phone, and many more common settings. There are benefits though! Don’t miss the positive and negative effects of social awkwardness, plus tips on how to overcome it.

Then, only 25% of American teens meet the daily recommendation of 1 hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity. Tune in for suggestions on how to help teens increase their daily activity and the positive benefits that ensue.

PS.  You can now find us on YouTube, too!

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

Last week, as we were working through an activity in our support group, one of the young ladies asked if she could step out in the hallway. She had a mask on, so I wasn’t quite sure if she was upset, but the counselor followed her out to be sure. About five minutes later, she re-entered the room and finished the group. While this didn’t seem like much, I asked the counselor what had happened with this student.

“Well, she got very emotional all of a sudden and needed a second. Apparently, the issues the other students were talking about were exactly what she was going through. She wasn’t sad or upset. She just got overwhelmed with knowing she wasn’t alone.”

Can you imagine? Well, of course, you can. We have all felt alone.

Alone in our thoughts. Our struggles. Our fears. Our failures. Our pain.

Feeling alone is like a millstone around our neck. The weight and pressure of loneliness is unspeakable. Not until that weight is lifted do we understand how much of a burden it was.

And that is where so many teenagers find themselves. Despite living in a world that is overly connected, most teens would tell you they are lonelier than ever.

This year at the Teen Life Dinner and Auction, we spent time focusing on the concept of the open table. That is, we all long for a seat at the table where we know we won’t be judged and where we can connect. That’s all we really want most of the time. We want to hear that we aren’t alone and that we won’t be rejected.

During adolescence we find crucial developmental milestones taking place. Autonomy. Differentiation. Self-actualization. Reflection. Establishment of core values. Identity formation. In other words, the most important stuff!

But imagine going through all of those milestones feeling like you were the only one in the world that was experiencing these things.

When a teenager is becoming “themselves” through the process of adolescence, healthy relationships are crucial to positive outcomes.

An open table is key. A teenager needs a safe place to turn when life gets difficult.

Will that be you? Will you be the non-judgmental presence needed when no one else will help? We need more safe people. Period.

How do we start?

Be shockproof. No matter what a teenager says to you or does, take it in stride. Be safe. Be a welcoming presence.

In doing so, you welcome them to the table where they can find the safety and connection they need to make the right decisions and become who they were meant to be!

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Ep. 77: Apologizing & Taylor Swift

Ep. 77: Apologizing & Taylor Swift

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Summary:
When we learn to apologize sincerely, we learn to build better relationships. It’s a skill that is often hard for adults, but imagine how much stronger our friendships and our respect for ourselves would be if we learned to apologize as teenagers. In episode 77, we explore what makes a good apology and why it’s important for teens. Also, stay tuned for an update on the latest from Taylor Swift.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 74: Boosting Energy & Juul Marketing

Ep. 74: Boosting Energy & Juul Marketing

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Summary:
Are you or your teen dragging during your morning routine? Be sure to catch Chris and Karlie’s tips for getting a natural energy boost. You’ll also want to pay attention to the latest update on teen vaping and how marketing to teens resulted in a 9-figure settlement with Juul, a leading brand in e-cigarettes. Then, how are you celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month? We’ve got some practical ideas on how to celebrate with kids and teens.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Why teens need caring adults

Why teens need caring adults

When I was fifteen, I was thriving as much as a nerdy, idiotic, high school sophomore could. At least on the outside. I was a talented trumpet player in a competitive band; I had a decent social circle; and I was involved in extracurricular activities. But the inside was a different story.

I was full of anxiety, doubt, and a professional at self-deprecation. Every day, I was carrying an extra load of problems on top of the normal daily sophomore struggles. I had some life stress that was daunting, but the scary thing to me is that I had loving parents and mentor teachers and it still wasn’t enough.

Enter my One.

Around the middle of the year, I was clearly off. An adult I had known for a while noticed and reached out to me. Pretty soon that became a weekly check-in. It was simple. It wasn’t anything extravagant, planned out, or complicated but it was huge for me.

Even though I was lucky to have positive influences in my life already, having someone show up for me did wonders for my well-being.

I think about how much I would have benefited from Teen Life Support Groups when I was in school. Parents and teachers are great mentors and do have a huge influence on teens today. There’s no denying that, but a member of the community showing up for a teen in need can be just as, if not more, impactful.

Teens with mentors show improvement in their attitudes and attendance at school. Studies have shown that high school graduation rates are higher, teens are less likely to drop out, they have enhanced self-esteem, improved interpersonal skills, and more.

A previous Big Brother, Big Sister study showed that teens with mentors are less likely to begin using drugs or alcohol. Specifically, 6.2 percent of youth with mentors initiated drug use compared to 11.4 percent of their peers without mentors, and 19.4 percent initiated alcohol use compared to 26.7 percent without mentors. This shows that they can gain important life skills to stay away from drugs (LoSciuto, Rajala, Townsend, & Taylor, 1996).

So how can you Be the One?

Teen Life makes it easy to take training that equips you to lead Support Groups on a campus near you. If you want information on how to get involved with schools, email me at tobin@teenlife.ngo.

We don’t all have time to be on a school campus during the day though.

You can also help by going here: teenlife.ngo/partner. Any one-time or monthly donation helps us connect teens in schools with trusted adults and peer support.

It can also be as simple as checking in with the teens in your life. Teens need to know that we care. Because no teen deserves to feel alone.

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Tobin graduated with a Bachelors of Music from Texas Tech University. A teacher’s kid twice over, he taught for 13 years before coming to Teen Life. His entire career has been centered around helping students and teens from all walks of life become the best version of themselves.