It is not natural for young people to feel stressed and hopeless about the situations they face. All young people want is to be happy, to make a real difference they need our help to develop a more positive mental attitude and to understand that the real source of their happiness or their stress and to develop the inner strength and confidence to deal with any situation, however challenging, is an important goal. Many young people today put too much emphasis on materialism as a source of their happiness and need our help in understanding the importance of one's inner values example sharing and caring, moving away from "us" and "them" and using their resources to help others respecting the rights of others interdependence and our reliance on others compassion and forgiveness gratitude. It is unrealistic to expect young people to be able to avoid conflict and that is why we need to teach them how to seek a win/win resolution to conflict. This involves helping them to look at situations from different perspectives, not just their own. Young people also need our help in making full use of the opportunities that come their way. Many young people do not have self belief and need our help in identifying their strengths and past successes. This requires different thought processes that involve the young person distancing themselves from strong emotions in order to analyse situations using clarity and objectivity to see what is actually happening, to assess what needs to be done and to develop a strong sense of purpose. This was the young person is able to act out of a clear awareness of their situation not out of anger or fear. They have a better chance of remaining calm in adversity and will have developed their inner strengths. Young people are no different to us, they want to overcome stress. There is no simple technique that will guarantee a calm and peaceful mind because each young person is different and lots of factors are involved e.g. the young person's background, the support they can draw upon, health, education. What you can do is help young people to challenge the way that they think and in doing so improve their attitude, outlook and approach. You can help young people to develop the inner discipline they need to identify those factors which lead to stress and those that help develop a calm and peaceful mind. Then it is a matter of simply helping the young person to experience firsthand the benefits of eliminating the negative factors and of cultivating the positive. Benefits are likely to include increased flexibility and creativity, being more open and willing to reach out to others. This approach does not only benefit the young person but their family, school or workplace and society as a whole. Each young person will have their own baseline of happiness and no matter what good or bad things happen to them they will return to this level of happiness. This baseline can be influence by how the young person sees a situation e.g. by comparing themselves with others they see as more fortunate their baseline happiness goes down. But if they compare themselves with those who are less fortunate it goes up. Research has also shown that when young people use their resources to help others their baseline happiness goes up. It can be helpful to explore with young people which thoughts they find helpful and which are harmful. Similarly they can explore which emotions and behaviours are helpful and which are harmful in terms in terms of the levels of stress experienced both short and longer term e.g. which behaviours provide temporary relief and which bring lasting happiness. There are a variety of approaches and methods that can be used but it takes time and the repeated application of these techniques so that the young person becomes familiar with what is happening, is able to identify the lessons learned and apply them when making decisions. It takes time for a young person to reflect on what brings...
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