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Journaling prompts for teens
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[Day 15] 5 Journaling Prompts to Enhance Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers

 

Journaling prompts for teens

Today is the half-way mark of the blog challenge. Woohoo! The goal: repurpose a previous post. So here’s one from a while back that I’ve enhanced.

This article is for teenagers and/or anyone who wants to increase their self awareness and ability to process and express their feelings in a more calm and balanced way.

The teenage years are an especially tumultuous period (as you know) and a critical time to focus on emotional intelligence (if you can start sooner, by all means, do so. My son is 3 and he labels his feelings and always feels better after doing so). Though challenging, these years can be seen as a series of beautiful opportunities for learning and growth for the entire family.

Many issues teens face are due to lack of self awareness and/or emotional intelligence. It’s not something that’s taught in schools – but it should be. When we feel out of control, we lose our power of choice. It becomes increasingly harder to decide upon what we want because our emotions have taken over. And when they run our lives, we no longer have a say.

So often we want something better – we talk about it, dream about it and long for change, but our emotions won’t allow us. They say “whoa whoa whoa wait stop.” But the magic happens when we listen and actively seek the gift within each moment of emotional turmoil – not by staying stuck in it and not by ignoring it, but by choosing to send our deepest love and compassion to ourselves. That’s when everything changes.

Here are 5 journaling prompts (to be used in this order) to help you do just that.

First, recognize your triggers. Ask yourself questions like…

What makes me angry?

What am I afraid of?

When someone said this I felt ______________.

This emotion feels like ____________.

I feel it in my _____________. (throat, chest, stomach, etc)

Anything that will allow you to connect with the feeling so you can release it.

Accept it. Don’t make anyone right or wrong and don’t believe you deserve to feel bad.

Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”

Forgive yourself.

Write down everything you need to forgive yourself for. And everything you need to forgive others for.

Empathize.

Know you aren’t the only person who feels bad. Others handle things differently and it doesn’t make them wrong.

Write down what you think the other person (or people) are experiencing.

Choose something new.

Get creative with what you want. Write down how you want to feel and why.

For example: I want to feel empowered because when I do I feel like I can conquer the world and I can be who I really am.

As you take the time to go through these prompts on a regular basis, you open yourself up to new possibilities and interactions with others that weren’t previously available. When you are able to connect with and accept all of who you are, you will no longer need to dance between the extremes. You’ll feel more in control of your experience and will therefore feel calm and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

I’d love to hear how it goes. Please share your comments and insights in the comments box below.

there is always hope
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How being yourself changes everything (includes 3 journaling prompts)

What if we started each day telling ourselves, “have fun and be yourself”. Or “trust yourself. You’re going to do the right thing”?

Or be yourself and the rest will follow.

Or be yourself and everything will fall into place.

Or everything you need is already inside of you.

How different would your days be if you stopped focusing on all the things you think you do wrong and instead chose to focus on all the things you already are?

Notice I ended the sentence at are. Not all the things you are doing. All the things you are. All the things that make you who who are. Because while it’s great to feel a sense of accomplishment, if you need that to love yourself then you’re not doing it for the right reason.

It’s so easy to put conditions on love – especially when it comes to loving ourselves.

“I’ll only like myself when I complete this task or I’ll only give myself a break once I’ve reached xyz goal.”

While I absolutely believe in setting and accomplishing goals, I believe loving ourselves despite our accomplishments or perceived lack thereof is by far the most important (and difficult) skill to master.

This conditional love all started when we were very young. People (especially our parents) attempted to fix or control us so they didn’t have to feel bad. It was easier. And it was all they knew.

But by diligently practicing something new we can create new patterns that serve the greater good for all.

One person changing can positively impact the entire family. This became evident to me a few days ago when I had a conversation with my mom I never thought I’d have.

I felt like all the work I’ve done on myself throughout the years – though lonely and seemingly futile at times – actually made a difference.

She talked to me the way I always wished she would have. She let me speak. She listened. And while we have had many conversations like this in the past several years, this one felt much more powerful.

Because I stopped fighting and surrendered.

She was herself.

And I was just me.

If someone would have told me this were possible when I was a teenager I would have probably rolled my eyes and said, “yeah right.”

Which might be what you’re thinking too. Because when you’re in it, it’s much harder to see a way out of it.

But keep the faith.

And if you only take one thing away from this, let it be this:

The greatest thing you can ever do for you is to tell yourself who you are is okay.

Even if no one else ever sees it, you have to know it.

And when you do, miracles will happen.

 

I will leave you with a few journaling prompts that’ll help you peer into how you’ve been treating yourself and what you can do to start being kinder to you. Remember: be honest with yourself.

1. In what ways are you not treating yourself the way you’d like others to treat you?

2. In what ways do you deny who you are for the sake of other people?

3. What is one thing you can do right now to be kind to yourself?

 

As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.

What not to say to someone who self-injures.
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How to REALLY Help Someone Who Struggles with Self-Harm

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people (therapists, counselors, support group facilitators, parents, etc.) ask me about how to help someone who self-harms.

So, here are some things you should know.

  • Most cutters are highly intelligent and extremely sensitive.
  • Many don’t do it in an effort to end their life, but rather, to end their pain.
  • There are, unfortunately, people and websites that are pro self-harm (this is NOT one of those websites and I am NOT one of those people).
  • Self-mutilation is an addiction, and should be treated as such.

And here are some materials to use. Starting with, the top 5 things to never say to someone who self-injures:

What not to say to someone who self-injures.

Next, 5 things you should say instead:

What to say to someone who self-injures.

Take time to know and understand what the person who is cutting is going through.

And listen.

See this person as whole and send your love and compassion. I promise, he or she will be able to feel it.

If you are the one who is self-mutilating, I made this for you to print out (therapists and support group facilitators you can print these out to use in your sessions):

Self-harm worksheet

It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, please do so. Don’t keep it to yourself. I know you feel like no one understands you, but they never will if you’re not willing to let them. Believe it or not, the people around you are just as scared as you are.

Here’s mine as an example:

Tell me you love me.

Here’s another one for you to print out and use:

Things to do instead of cutting

It’s important to know what to do when you feel the urge to cut. When you’re in that state you’re not always rational so having something physical to have on you or in a place where you can see it will remind you that you have other options available.

Here’s mine (feel free to steal some ideas from it):

My list of things to do instead of cutting.

That’s it for now. I hope this is useful!

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions.

choose to be happy
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An Affirmation for Self Esteem

Today’s affirmation can be used by anyone looking for a self esteem boost and a reminder that your happiness starts with you.

Often times we say, “I’ll be happy, when…” and we hand our well-being over to others.

Well, this affirmation for self esteem reminds you that you have a choice.

choose to be happy