- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 16, 2005

Resilience skills allow a person to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and stress. It can be described to children as the ability to bounce back.

The following tips, developed for teens to use on their own, can help develop resilience in the face of these different challenges:

• Get together. Talking to parents and friends about tough experiences and setbacks can help teens going through adversity. Getting connected to community groups, including church and high school groups also can help.

• Cut some slack. Teens should go easy on themselves when something bad is happening to them because daily stresses tend to increase with whatever trauma or setback they’re experiencing.

• Stick to the program. Maintaining routines that give comfort while going through stressful times is important.

• Self-care. Teens facing challenges need to take care of themselves mentally, spiritually and physically, including getting enough sleep.

• Take control. During really hard times, just getting out of bed and going to school can be difficult, but accomplishing that can help. Moving toward goals one small step at a time can be a good strategy.

• Express feelings. Talking to friends and family, if possible, is another way to cope. If that seems too difficult, writing in a journal or creating art to express emotions can be a good alternative.

• Help somebody. Sometimes helping someone else can help teens get the focus off of their own problems.

• Put things in perspective. Even if things seem bad right now, good times will come again. When teens worry about not being able to get through bad times, they should think about times in their past when they faced up to their fears. That can give them confidence.

• Turn it off. While it’s important to stay informed, the news, when focusing on the sensational, can add stress and enforce the feeling that nothing is going right.

Source: The American Psychological Association

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