How optimism reduces depression among teenagers
How optimism and hope can reduce the chances of depression among teenagers?
Being hopeful for the future makes an individual more forward and open to the opportunities that lie ahead. But how can we learn to be optimistic? Well, adolescence is the stage of life when parents can inculcate the traits of self-discipline, positivity and most importantly, optimism in teenagers. It is the most adventurous phase, emotionally and socially. Kids get to make important career choices and learn to prepare themselves for the struggles of adulthood in the coming times.
Teenagers are rebellious and ready to experiment with new things in life. As they are at a critical juncture of becoming independent young adults, the choice they make at this point determines how they will take on life’s challenges with maturity. It will also decide how successful or unsuccessful their future will be.
With so much peer pressure, competition and family expectations, teens lose confidence in themselves as they are surrounded by many external factors. We live in a discouraging environment consisting of major issues like bullying, public violence, etc. This type of environment affects the psychology of teenagers negatively and therefore, they end up suffering from depression and developing suicidal tendencies. Such kids suffer in silence and seclusion.
The reason teenagers find themselves in the circle of negativity is that they lack optimism. Hope, optimism and life satisfaction are positively correlated to each other. Parents, teachers, friends and the community play a significant role in influencing the teenager’s psyche and can contribute to raising optimistic teens.
Why optimism is important for youngsters?
Here are the benefits of optimism which will make you realize that being hopeful is necessary for young kids. Take a look below:
It helps them feel more in control of the situations and thus, developing higher self-esteem.
It leads to better health and longevity.
Optimism promises happiness and life satisfaction.
It makes teenagers less worried and stressed.
It enhances mental flexibility.
It enables kids to stay motivated for different activities, be academic or sports, etc.
It protects them from depression.
It allows kids to handle situations and failures in a positive manner.
It teaches teens not to take criticism personally.
Optimism encourages kids to set attainable goals and expect that everything will turn out well.
How optimistic teens are different from pessimistic ones?
Social influence plays a major role in shaping the lives of young kids. While pessimists blame themselves for bad things, optimists tend to think that setbacks are part of life and they don’t need to feel disappointed about it. Pessimists complain about why things are going wrong and also expect future events to be complete failures. On the other hand, optimists always think of successful outcomes and look forward to better opportunities in the future.
Optimists are often mistaken as being non-realistic people who ignore problems. But they actually don’t ignore problems, rather they choose to look for positive things in every situation. Optimists consider hardships as challenges. Unlike pessimists who give easily as they start feeling that they cannot perform well in any aspect of their lives.
All it takes is the inner force or willpower to restore the belief to look at oneself and the world with optimism.
How to help teenagers become more optimistic to fight depression?
How teenagers view or interpret the world is affected by the people in their lives and environment. Being optimistic and pessimistic can be attributed to teenagers' guidance from parents, guardians, and teachers. A child may inherit a pessimistic outlook towards life from his/her depressed parents.
Here’s how elders can help teenagers become more optimistic:
Train their minds to acknowledge good things
Life comes with both good and bad situations. Adolescence can be a tough time period, but one needs to keep telling themselves that good things will happen. Expressing what you are grateful for can help teenagers recognize kind and thoughtful behaviours.
Teach them that problems are temporary
Teenagers have a habit of complaining and venting out frustration for the negative things happening to them. Parents must teach their kids that a bad situation is just a phase of life and it will pass.
Teach kids to wear a positive lens
Parents must tell their kids to look at situations from different perspectives to find apt solutions for the problem. The optimistic approach demands an individual to put things in a positive light.
Make kids realize that they are not responsible for all the wrong things
Parents need to make kids understand that everything in life is not under their control. It’s fine if things didn't go as planned. Just visualise the future to be better than the present.
Remind them how good they are by practising affirmations
Repeating affirmations like ‘I can do this and I will is a great way to remind oneself that they are more capable of doing certain things than they think.
Encourage kids to give credit to themselves for success
If one blames oneself for something wrong, one can also acknowledge their strengths and efforts that helped one succeed. This is important for recognizing one’s achievements and feeling good about them.
Teach kids to be empathetic
Teens also need to learn how to put themselves in another person's shoes to understand their predicaments. Empathy can help teens see beyond the obvious in every situation.
Once teens see their parents unfazed by unfavourable circumstances, they can also lean towards optimism themselves. So, parents must set an example for kids to follow in their footsteps and believe that good things are coming soon. Optimism is a powerful tool that can boost a teen’s self-belief, thus, mitigating depression risk. Depression may destroy the confidence in teens, but that confidence can be regained with just a hint of optimism.
If a child is in extreme misery and pain and parents can’t find a solution, they must consult a professional therapist to help the child get out of depression.