Back-to-school shopping can be fun—right down to selecting your favorite color notebook. That is, if the new Chem teacher hasn’t demanded that all his classroom binders, be navy blue. You might select a new backpack because last year’s is, well, last year’s. So when you’re choosing your perfect—best backpacks—consider all that goes into it. It’s not only books, writing supplies and a cute make-up bag filled with lip gloss, concealer and other must-haves you need throughout the day, that should be included in your backpack—it’s the other stuff. The unseen emotional tagalongs that wriggle their way into your bag whether you’re paying attention or not. Consider these five tips to say, “K, bye” to emotional heaviness that weighs you down.
1) Problem solving practice. This reminds us of the algebra student who challenged her teacher with: “Why do we need to study algebra when we’re not going to use it in the real world?” The teacher smiled and stated the student was absolutely correct. “Algebra is used as mere practice to problem solve.” We encourage you to practice solving would-be scenarios, especially controversial ones. We love preventative measures. Role play what you would do if your best friend is bullied. Peer-pressured into experimenting with drugs? A friend has depression or expressed suicidal threats and asks you to promise confidentiality? Consider step-by-step actions to take to reach a successful result. Takeaway: #Roleplayworks.
2) Courage. The Cowardly Lion always had it. You have it too. You just need to summon it. Tuck that figurative medal in your backpack, behind the ipad and iphone chargers…some sort of familiar token that calls up the strength needed to remind you that you have had the bravery needed all along to deal with whatever comes your way. Takeaway: Pack a transitional object to remind you that you too, have ruby slippers.
3) Unplug and Unclique. The new hot thing? Service to others. Whether your bff is interested in it or not, lift your head from your texts, and notice what’s around you. Is there a new club you can join? Dare to start a new project or group: Best high school clubs With school and community outreach programs, you’ll meet new people, fulfill your community service requirements, and make you and everyone proud. Takeaway: No better lesson learned than to do something for others. #integritybuilder.
4) Optimism/Positive Mindset. The human brain is wired to have 4 negative thoughts for every 1 positive thought. Be aware of this and ramp up your optimism. Try reframing those that say, “you can’t do it,” or “this will never work.” Takeaway: You’re in charge of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Make the best of them.
5) Resilience. When things get dicey, keep going. Consider that a touchy situation is just resiliency training and part of your education. Cliques and bullies use high school as a training ground to enhance their bad behavior. You’re there to learn what it takes to rise above the threats and challenges thrown your way. Don’t let FOMO dictate your thoughts and actions. Find an individual or a group where your gut instincts tell you to trust. Hang out with them. When our teenage daughter complained of girl sh*t that came her way, we told her, “It never ends, btw.” We said it was an opportunity to practice her girl drama skills. We explained that her grandmother still deals with this stuff. 80-year-old widows still flirt with someone else’s significant other. Takeaway: Reframe that knot in your stomach by saying to yourself that even though life feels challenging right now, it’s all part of your training to make you strong. You’ll soon discover the words and actions to ward off those who try to take you down. #resiliencytraining
Bottom line: The emotional things you pack in your backpack are far more important than the physical stuff. #justsaying.