Ep. 25: School Skills & TikTok Influencers

Ep. 25: School Skills & TikTok Influencers

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Summary:
The transition to middle school can be trying for everyone in the family, but Chris and Karlie have a few tips and tricks to help ease your middle schooler into their new routine without you losing your mind in the process (00:40). We’re also back with more on TikTok and TikTok influencers (9:30). Learn more about how your teen may be deciding where to shop and what to buy. Then, don’t miss this week’s tip on an amazing resource for teaching digital literacy to your kids and students (18:25)!

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 24: Healthy Habits & Fall Sports

Ep. 24: Healthy Habits & Fall Sports

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Summary:
How long does it really take to form a new habit? Chris and Karlie talk healthy habits and how to switch good habits for bad habits (00:33). Then they take a look at fall sports and everything that comes with them (11:40), including hoco, foco and expectations. Don’t miss episode 24’s tip on grief either (21:19). This episode is packed with information and tips you won’t want to miss.

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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 23: Trauma Triggers & 9/11

Ep. 23: Trauma Triggers & 9/11

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Summary:
Unhealed trauma can keep anyone caught in a vicious cycle. Chris and Karlie talk about what it means to be “triggered” and how the trauma cycle works (00:30). Then, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we talk ways to honor the memory of the lives lost and the heroes who saved so many (11:50).  Also, did you know TikTok has suicide prevention resources? We’ll tell you where to look (18:59).

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 22: Talking About Mental Health & YikYak

Ep. 22: Talking About Mental Health & YikYak

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Summary:

Mental health is more than a trending topic. It affects kids, teenagers, and adults from every walk of life. But when kids and teens struggle with mental health, they often don’t have the language or experience to know how to ask for help. Episode 22 offers advice on how to be present and how to respond when a teen comes to you with mental health concerns. Then, if you’re not familiar with YikYak, hold on to your AirPods. Chris and Karlie will walk you through the app that’s been shut down and brought back to life again. Stick around for do-able birthday party ideas that most teens will love!

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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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Ep. 21: School Communication & Acronyms

Ep. 21: School Communication & Acronyms

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Summary:
Back to school is its own learning curve. Every. Single. Time. Catch this week’s episode for tips on how to improve communication between teachers and parents and how to make the most of those relationships! We’ll also translate some of the top acronyms teens are using and give you insight into why some teens might seem rude when they’re really suffering from anxiety.

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

How to Turn Negative Thoughts to Constructive Ones

How to Turn Negative Thoughts to Constructive Ones

As a teen, adults used to tell me “You are what you eat.” I never understood what they meant, but as I got older I began to understand what they were getting at. Essentially, that you are the sum of what you consume. Perhaps a better, more significant phrase would have been: “You become what you think.”

When I was a teenager, my thoughts almost ended my life. Whenever something bad happened, I immediately told myself I wanted to die. When I was in a good state of mind I knew I didn’t really want to die, but I began believing what my brain was telling me. I was stuck in this negative thought loop and didn’t know how to escape. Even worse, these negative thoughts weren’t just an inconvenience, they were making me more depressed every day.

James Allen, a philosophical writer, once said in his famous book, As a Man Thinketh:
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”

What I’ve learned since my teen years, with the help of books like As a Man Thinketh, is our minds must be managed like a garden. It’s up to us to plant good seeds and remove the bad weeds. Reading this book changed my entire perspective and it lit a fire in me to learn more. I embarked on a journey around the world to interview over 100 successful people on what they wish they knew when they were younger. Their advice was diverse, colorful, and extremely insightful, yet it all centered around this one core idea: It’s up to you to take responsibility for your life. This includes the thoughts you have. Meaning, it’s not your fault what thoughts you think, but it is your responsibility to evaluate which ones are worth believing.

———-

Here are 3 simple steps for how to switch automatic negative thoughts to constructive ones:

1. Notice

Recent research from Proceedings of the National Academy of Science by Lindsay and Cresswell has found that “mindfulness meditation can help people to be more attentive to their own emotions… by being aware of negative feelings as soon as they arise, people can engage in positive remediation rather than dwelling on the negative cognition.”

Notice what automatic thoughts come up for you in everyday situations. When something bad happens, what is the thought you automatically revert to? Is it as bad as “I want to die”? Or is it something like “I hate myself, I don’t want to be here.”

You might already know what yours are right off the bat, but if you don’t, start to be more mindful during your day and notice what recurring negative thoughts you have.

2. Prepare

The next step is to prepare a neutral thought. You will use this neutral thought to replace the negative ones. It’s best to prepare this neutral thought before you are in a state of panic.

What will your neutral thought be? I like to use “I am okay.” Yours can be the same or something different. When you are in a negative or depressed state of mind, it can feel really fake to say something like “I love myself” or “I’m happy to be here,” but a neutral thought like “Everything will be alright” is sometimes an easier place to start.

Write it down. Put it everywhere you can see it to remind yourself. You can put it on your wall, on your mirror, and even on your phone background.

3. Replace

Now, every time you think that recurring negative thought, stop yourself and say “No. I don’t have to think that anymore.” Then immediately replace it with your neutral one.

You might not believe the neutral thought. You won’t want to believe that you are actually okay. Tell it to yourself anyway. Again and again. Over time, you will automatically start to think your neutral, constructive thought rather than the negative one. This switch will help you stay calm in tough situations, rather than reverting to doomsday thinking.

———-

These 3 steps take time and practice, but the positive change makes it so worth it! If this technique helped me stop being suicidal, it can help you and the teens in your life too. Get a hang of the technique first, then model it for the young people in your life.

When working with teens, don’t make them feel bad if that negative thought keeps coming up for them. The goal is never to shame someone for not making progress, but to lovingly remind them that no matter how many times they fail, they can always try again.

As a final reminder for you and the teenagers you work with, know you have more power over your mind than you think. It’s not your fault what thoughts come into your head, but it is your responsibility to decide whether you’ll let them stay there. You do not have to believe every thought that comes into your head, you always have an opportunity to fight back against the negative ones and replace them with more constructive ones.

Maeve Ronan

Maeve Ronan

Author, Speaker and Teen Mentor

Maeve Ronan is the author of multiple relatable self-improvement books for teens. She believes that every teen should have the resources to succeed, regardless of their circumstances. Her books are based on what she wishes she knew in middle and high school, as well as insights from accomplished people around the world. Author of It’s the Depression for Me and It’s the Awkwardness for Me, Maeve Ronan plans to release her third book, It’s the Confidence for Me, in November 2021.