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Daily Wellness Tips for Your Family

This series of blogs is designed to serve as a reminder of some basic building blocks for emotional and behavioral health. These are not treatment modalities with fancy names or reams of clinical research. These are simple lifestyle choices that can help you and your family feel and function better.

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Thanksgiving

It’s true of nearly everything—gifts, massages, meals, hugs, praise—that the better you are at receiving the better you’ll be at giving. It’s true of gratitude as well. If you find yourself deflecting other people’s efforts to thank you with a dismissive wave of the hand, a falsely humble headshake, or a blocking phrase like “not at all,” or “it was nothing,” then knock it off! For everyone to benefit maximally from an act of thanksgiving, that act must be accepted. If someone lobs a sincere “thanks” your way, do them—and yourself—a favor: look them in the eye, smile, and say, “you’re welcome.” Enjoy it! That’s what gratitude is all about, after all—giving, receiving, and enjoying.

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Willpower Exercises for Struggling Teens

According to Dr. Kelly McGongal, a health psychologist and Stanford University instructor, self control isn’t something you either have or don’t have. It’s a strength that can be developed over time; like a muscle, your self control can be exercised to make it stronger. She also reminds us that lapses are normal and should be treated as such; normalizing these failings can help them have less power to discourage us…less power to push us deeper into victimhood.

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Stressed-out Teen? Talk to Spot!

While most pet dogs have just a few stress triggers that come and go with just enough frequency to make their day interesting, their unfortunate owners have created a world of constant stress. For teens in particular—who are emotionally charged to begin with and haven’t yet learned to cope with adult stressors—there’s an almost never ending list of stress triggers constantly circling, threatening, taunting. Tests, gossip, competitions, pimples, mean girls, family stress, a learning disability, an over-scheduled life…teens have a lot to deal with.

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Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

Following a family crisis–while your still open, flexible and a little messy inside—is the best time to break the old habits that festered into dysfunction in the first place and create some new ones. The good news is that a lot of personal growth work can be awfully nice! Following are several areas to explore that can complement the intervention, treatment, therapy and medication your family has just experienced, leading to longer-term healing instead of just emotional triage.

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Treating Enmeshed Teens and Parents

Most of us want to connect and most of us want to be accepted by others. We just need to channel our efforts to meet these needs in a healthy direction. That’s what we aim for with enmeshed relationships at Innerchange, to redirect relational energy in a direction that will bring out the most peace, connection, and growth possible.

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Negative Personality Traits

Knowing that our dominant personality traits usually have two sides to them can help us cultivate their positive aspects and manage the negative ones. When things are not going well, this understanding can also help us reframe things so that we don’t get stuck in negative thoughts about ourselves and, instead, embrace the positive aspects of our personality. If you’re raising an adolescent or young adult, understanding this dual nature of personality can help you weather mercurial changes in mood—which is what tends to flip the coin of personality from positive to negative and back.

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Blue Zones at Home

eenagers are drawn to whatever’s fastest, easiest, edgiest, biggest, newest or “best.” Hence the teenager’s penchant for extreme music, extreme hairstyles and extreme sports. As a teen’s brain develops, whole new cognitive worlds open up; pushing the envelope is, in part, a way of exploring these new realms. It’s also a teenager’s developmental prerogative to create a distinct and independent identity, which provides another incentive for exploring extremes.

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Screen Obsessed

Science is finally confirming with what astute parents have known for decades: too much TV is bad for kids. With the proliferation of other screen-based technologies in addition to TV, opportunities for children and adolescents to disappear into a screen-based alternate universe have only increased.

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ADHD in Adolescent Girls

As part of their efforts to please, bright girls may work very hard and successfully to compensate for their ADHD, delaying the identification of the disorder until academic or work challenges reach a point where the ADHD becomes disabling. Sometimes this does not occur until adolescence or young adulthood.

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Asperger’s Syndrome Treatment

While more severe forms of autistic-spectrum disorder require specialized care, many children and teens with Asperger’s disorder find themselves in mainstream settings and/or more broad-based treatment programs.  This approach can increase the young person’s access to normalized social situations in which they can learn better social skills experientially through contact with a more diverse peer…

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