Teens are getting too little sleep, not enough exercise and spending far too much time online. Research tells us so (if you need proof), and it’s also clear that when teens don’t take care of themselves, it can affect their mental health.
That’s all the more reason parents should teach their kids about the fundamentals of good self-care. And that means getting back to the basics, such as eating well, getting plenty of sleep and exercising more. That may be easier said than done, as adults know. But if you want your teen to live a healthier life, it’s important to pay attention to these three pillars of health.
Here’s what you should know about the benefits of these forms of self-care for kids – and what happens if they’re ignored.
Establishing Healthy Eating Habits
Most have heard the saying, “You are what you eat” – and nothing could be more accurate when it comes to food and mental fitness. Food choice really does have an impact on how we feel and look. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear people say that when they eat better, they feel better. The food we put in our mouths is the fuel that we run on. And when we opt for premium nutrients, we simply run better.
The same is true for our teens. Yet, too many of our young people run on junk food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of our nation’s youth eat fast food daily.
Research indicates that fuel choice may be hurting their bodies and mental health. In one study published in Physiological Reports, researchers followed 84 middle school students. They monitored sodium and potassium excretion and depressive symptoms for a year and a half. The findings suggested that for adolescents, consuming foods that are high in sodium, a mineral frequently found at high levels in junk food, and those that are low in potassium was related to an increase in depressive symptoms. The researchers concluded that poor diet was, in fact, a risk factor for depression.
What we eat impacts how we think, feel and act. That’s why it’s essential to help your teen establish healthy eating habits. Many teens gravitate toward junk food because it’s convenient and fits into their busy lifestyles, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s just as easy to opt for an apple as it is for a bag of chips. There is just no way around it – a healthy body helps support a healthy mind.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children ages 14 to 18 sleep eight to 10 hours a night, but the vast majority of youth aren’t even coming close to that recommendation. On average, most teens get about 7.5 hours of sleep a night. It comes as no surprise that sleep deprivation takes a toll on their mood.
As reported by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that when teens experience sleep loss, even for short periods, it increased their risk for mood disorders. In this particular study, 35 participants, aged 11 1/2 to 15 years, were monitored in a sleep lab for two nights, with half of them sleeping for 10 hours and the remaining sleeping for four hours.
A week later, they returned to the lab and switched sleep schedules from their initial visit. During their time at the lab, they underwent brain scans monitoring the reward center of their brain while playing a game and also completed emotional functioning and depressive symptoms assessments. The data indicated that sleep deprivation affected the putamen, an area of the brain that is responsible for goal-based movements and learning from rewards.
Consequently, there was a link between sleep deprivation and their reported depressive symptoms, too. Participants who did not get enough sleep reported feeling more depressed than their well-rested peers.
Overall, the results suggested that inadequate sleep during adolescence may affect how the brain processes reward and increase the likelihood of depression and risk-taking behavior. When teens were sleep-deprived, they didn’t make the best choices. According to this study, sleep not only helps kids feel better, it also helps them make better choices.
Make sure that your teen is getting enough sleep by limiting screen time before bed and establishing a good bedtime routine, particularly on school nights when they are more apt to sleep less. It’s also important for kids to keep their phones away from their beds at night. Just a few simple tweaks in their bedtime routine can make all the difference, because a well-rested teen is a happier and healthier teen.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that teens get at least an hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity each day. Still, according to a study in Preventive Medicine, young people are getting about as much exercise as a 60-year-old.
In Latin, there’s a saying: “mens sana in corpore sano.” When translated, it means: “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” And researchers have shown that a healthy body does indeed contribute to a healthy mind, especially when it comes to anxiety and depression.
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that exercise could reduce the risk of developing depression. In this study, researchers monitored the physical activity of 266,939 participants from around the world for more than seven years. Their findings showed that when people were more active, their risk of developing depression decreased regardless of how old they were and where they lived.
These findings support a large body of literature that has linked physical activity with improved mood. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that exercise is as effective in treating depression as antidepressants. Now, that’s something to consider.
Establishing healthy habits begins early. It’s important to get our kids moving because an hour a day can go a long way toward promoting physical and mental well-being.
All things considered, it’s incredible how some of life’s most basic tasks, such as eating well, getting a good night’s sleep and exercising, can positively impact our children’s well-being. There’s just no way around it: A healthy body and a healthy mind really begin with the basics of self-care.
Even in the busyness of the holidays, you are confidently teaching teens about money principles. It’s easier than you think! And trust us—they will thank you later and it will also help your teens maintain a good mental health.
Article by: Tim Connolly
Everyone seems to be hankering after romantic love, but few of us realize that far from being timeless and universal, romantic love is in fact a modern construct, one that emerged in tandem with the novel. In Madame Bovary (1856), itself a novel, Gustave Flaubert tells us that Emma Bovary only found out about romantic love through ‘the refuse of old lending libraries’.
There are many other ways to love, not all of which are consistent or consonant with romantic love. By preoccupying ourselves with romantic love, we risk neglecting other types of love that are more stable or readily available and that may, especially in the longer term, prove more healing and fulfilling.
The seven types of love discussed below are loosely based on classical readings, especially of Plato and Aristotle, and on J.A. Lee’s 1973 book Colours of Love.
Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, as did Paris with Helen, leading to the Trojan War and the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army. In modern times, eros has been amalgamated with the broader life force, something akin to Schopenhauer’s will, a fundamentally blind process of striving for survival and reproduction. Eros has also been contrasted with Logos, or Reason, and Cupid painted as a blindfolded child.article continues after advertisement
The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Aristotle believed that a person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons: that he is useful; that he is pleasant; and, above all, that he is good, that is, rational and virtuous. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is a philia born out of eros, and that in turn feeds back into eros to strengthen and develop it, transforming it from a lust for possession into a shared desire for a higher level of understanding of the self, the other, and the world. In short, philia transforms eros from a lust for possession into an impulse for philosophy. Real friends seek together to live truer, fuller lives by relating to each other authentically and teaching each other about the limitations of their beliefs and the defects in their character, which are a far greater source of error than mere rational confusion: they are, in effect, each other’s therapist—and in that much it helps to find a friend with some degree of openness, articulacy, and insight, both to change and to be changed.
Storge (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. It differs from most philia in that it tends, especially with younger children, to be unilateral or asymmetrical. More broadly, storge is the fondness born out of familiarity or dependency and, unlike eros or philia, does not hang on our personal qualities. People in the early stages of a romantic relationship often expect unconditional storge, but find only the need and dependency of eros, and, if they are lucky, the maturity and fertility of philia. Given enough time, eros tends to mutate into storge.article continues after advertisement
Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity. Also called charity by Christian thinkers, agape can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Recent studies link altruism with a number of benefits. In the short term, altruism leaves us with a euphoric feeling—the so-called ‘helper’s high’. In the longer term, it is associated with better mental and physical health, as well as longevity. At a social level, altruism serves as a signal of cooperative intentions, and also of resource availability and so of mating or partnering potential. It also opens up a debt account, encouraging beneficiaries to reciprocate with gifts and favours that may be of much greater value to us than those with which we feel able to part. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us. Given the increasing anger and division in our society, and the state of our planet, we could all do with quite a bit more agape.
Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. The focus is on fun, and sometimes also on conquest, with no strings attached. Ludus relationships are casual, undemanding, and uncomplicated but, for all that, can be very long-lasting. Ludus works best when both parties are mature and self-sufficient. Problems arise when one party mistakes ludus for eros, whereas ludus is in fact much more compatible with philia.
Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, pragma must have been very common. Although unfashionable, it remains widespread, most visibly in certain high-profile celebrity and political pairings. Many relationships that start off as eros or ludus end up as various combinations of storge and pragma. Pragma may seem opposed to ludus, but the two can co-exist, with the one providing a counterpoint to the other. In the best of cases, the partners in the pragma relationship agree to turn a blind eye—or even a sympathetic eye, as in the case of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, or Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.article continues after advertisement
Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. In Ancient Greece, a person could be accused of hubris if he placed himself above the gods, or, like certain modern politicians, above the greater good. Many believed that hubris led to destruction, or nemesis. Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity.
Healthy self-love is akin to self-esteem, which is our cognitive and, above all, emotional appraisal of our own worth relative to that of others. More than that, it is the matrix through which we think, feel, and act, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world.
Self-esteem and self-confidence do not always go hand in hand. In particular, it is possible to be highly self-confident and yet to have profoundly low self-esteem, as is the case with many performers and celebrities.
People with high self-esteem do not need to prop themselves up with externals such as income, status, or notoriety, or lean on crutches such as alcohol, drugs, or sex. They are able to invest themselves completely in projects and people because they do not fear failure or rejection. Of course they suffer hurt and disappointment, but their setbacks neither damage nor diminish them. Owing to their resilience, they are open to growth experiences and relationships, tolerant of risk, quick to joy and delight, and accepting and forgiving of themselves and others.
In closing, there is, of course, a kind of porosity between the seven types of love, which keep on seeping and passing into one another. For Plato, love aims at beautiful and good things, because the possession of beautiful and good things is called happiness, and happiness is an end-in-itself. Of all beautiful and good things, the best, most beautiful, and most dependable is truth or wisdom, which is why Plato called love not a god but a philosopher:
He whom love touches not walks in darkness.
Love is a complex set of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person.
Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.
What does love mean to you?
What or Who do you associate with the word love? How often do you express this love? Many times we get so caught up in the daily grind of our lives that we take it for granted. Everyday is a day to express love, that’s for sure. Today, is a special day to spend with a special someone (not that it is only supposed to be once a year). Who are you spending this special day with?
For some, love is their husband, their child, pet, family, career, money, prestige, etc.
LOVE IS MY SAFE PLACE, made up of the people who I consider to be my safe place, who will keep me safe always. To my loves, I will love you forever.
The article below is from good therapy.org. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Happy hearts day!
Love is a complex set of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person. Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.
WHAT IS LOVE?
Love has been a favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers, and scientists for generations, and different people and groups have often fought about its definition. While most people agree that love implies strong feelings of affection, there are many disagreements about its precise meaning, and one person’s “I love you” might mean something quite different than another’s. Some possible definitions of love include:
- A willingness to prioritize another’s well-being or happiness above your own.
- Extreme feelings of attachment, affection, and need.
- Dramatic, sudden feelings of attraction and respect.
- A fleeting emotion of care, affection, and like.
- A choice to commit to helping, respecting, and caring for another, such as in marriage or when having a child.
- Some combination of the above emotions.
There has been much debate about whether love is a choice, is something that is permanent or fleeting, and whether the love between family members and spouses is biologically programmed or culturally indoctrinated. Love may vary from person to person and culture to culture. Each of the debates about love may be accurate in some time and some place. For example, in some instances, love may be a choice while in others it may feel uncontrollable.
LOVE VERSUS LUST
Especially in the early stages of a relationship, it can be difficult to tell the difference between love and lust. Both are associated with physical attraction and an intoxicating rush of feel-good chemicals, coupled with an often overwhelming desire to be closer to another person, but only one is long-lasting: love.
Love is something that is cultivated between two people and grows over time, through getting to know him or her and experiencing life’s many ups and downs together. It involves commitment, time, mutual trust, and acceptance.
Lust, on the other hand, has to do with the sex-driven sensations that draw people toward one another initially and is fueled primarily by the urge to procreate. Characterized by sex hormones and idealistic infatuation, lust blurs our ability to see a person for who he or she truly is and consequently, it may or may not lead to a long-term relationship.
For instance, Lana is in a committed relationship with Steve and her sexual desire for him is waning. She loves and cares for him, but she finds herself feeling restless and dissatisfied with their physical relationship. When she meets Brendan, she experiences instant feelings of attraction and longing. The chemical messengers in her brain start sending signals to pursue this new man, even though she does not know anything about him other than how his presence makes her feel physically. Instead of working to improve intimacy with her current partner, she is overcome by lust for someone new.
The ideal intimate relationship scenario, some might say, involves a balanced combination of love and lust. After all, lusting after someone is typically an important early phase of a long-term partnership, and reigniting that initial sparkis a practice worth cultivating for committed couples.
LOVE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Although almost no one can agree on a single definition of love, most people do agree that love plays a significant role in both physical and psychological well-being. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of love. Love’s role in mental health is far-reaching, but some examples include:
- The fact that babies who are not shown love and affection in the form of frequent holding and cuddling may be developmentally delayed or ill.
- Feeling unloved is strongly correlated with feelings of low self-esteem and depression.
- People who both feel loved by others and who report loving other people tend to be happier.
- Love can play a role in long-term health, and feeling emotionally connected may help increase immunity.
- Anonymous. (September 2, 2002). How to tell whether it’s love, like or lust. Jet 102.11, 12-14. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ez.trlib.info/docview/199970680/1833AF113A8E4DCAPQ/3?accountid=1229
- Prinz, J. J. (2007). The emotional construction of morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Wilson, G. D., & McLaughlin, C. (2001). The science of love. London: Fusion Press.