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Four ways to boost your teen's happiness this New Year


This article has been written by parenting blogger and co-author of Be Happy Be You Penny Alexander.

New Year, new you, new start! Ahhhhh! If those words fill you or your teenager with dread do not fear. New Year can be a good time to focus on new starts, but the evidence for people sticking to resolutions isn’t great. Only about 8% of people achieve resolutions.

A new year can feel very daunting. After a few weeks’ holiday it can be hard to contemplate returning to a routine, never mind keeping resolutions and maintaining new starts. Teenagers with tests or exams to prepare for can feel particularly overwhelmed by the year ahead.

Here are four very simple ways to help teens take control of well-being and boost happiness levels this January.

Grab some gratitude's

Grab a notebook and get your teen to jot down three things they are grateful for each day. Try and encourage them to come up with three new things they haven’t listed before. This sounds like one more thing to remember do at first, but the science behind it is the interesting bit. It basically retrains the brain to focus on positives and to hunt them down! So overtime you will start to find the brain’s happiness baseline increasing. 

Contain your worries

If your teen is feeling worried or anxious, encourage them to schedule in a ten-minute worry session where they write down all their worries and make a time to talk them through with someone who can help them solve these problems. When they come back to their list a few days later, they might find that lots of these worries can be struck off the list which can help make their current concerns seem more manageable.

Register your achievements

Rather than focusing on trying to live up to the pressure of a 'New Year, new you', why not try to focus your teen on exploring what they have achieved?

Look back and celebrate progress and successes so far. Get them to make a list of 20 things they are proud of, have done well, enjoyed doing or improved in the last year, and all the things other people like or admire about them. Remember that even the smallest change or surviving a bad day counts as an achievement if we are having a tough time. They can then use this list as something to refer back to when they need a confidence boost.

Resolve to Be Happy Be You

It can help to remind your teen that everyone feels overwhelmed to some extent by a new year so it’s best to try not to worry about what other people think of them. Most people are much too busy worrying about themselves to have time to judge others!  Encourage your teen to take some big deep breaths and take each day at a time. It can help to start the year by rating each day back at work or school out of 5. You might both be surprised at how the scores improve with time.

For more practical advice for teens check out Be Happy Be You. This positive and insightful guide for teenagers will help to give them the tools they need to build confidence and eliminate negative feelings helping to boost happiness in all areas of their life. Find out more here.