It’s critically important that we find ways to make teens comfortable thinking and talking about mental health as early as possible. But it’s not easy.
Imagine if we could talk to teens about mental health in a way that they’d enjoy, embrace, and be willing to practice and share, openly and enthusiastically, for the rest of their lives?
Instead of “depressing” messages, how about we engage them with messages they’ll like, like really LIKE:
- Be the most successful in life.
- Be happy.
- Be popular and liked.
- Have more friends and real friends.
- Be respected and admired.
- Do better in college, work, and career.
And – it’s going to take very little effort on their part, and they’ll probably enjoy every single moment of it.
What teens don’t want all those? What teens wouldn’t at least be curious to know how to get there? And what if we could connect all those positive and uplifting messages back to mental and brain health?
Here’s The Theory
Numerous studies over that last decade have found that happier people tend to be the most successful at almost everything. Not that success made them happy, but the other way around, that happiness made it much easier for them to be successful.
More successful in life, college, and career. More successful financially. More and better friends.
Science says the path to success is happiness. Science also says that the path to happiness is kindness. And the kindness conversation opens up pleasant and relatable conversations about mind and mood.
If we can change the mental health conversation from depression, anxiety, sadness, and suicide, to success, popularity, and happiness, we stand a much better chance of getting their attention. And buy in. And maybe forever.
And as an added bonus, a great way to introduce teens to the importance and power of kindness and in a way that gives them a massive personal payoff.
The Just 6 Minutes Video Outlines the Idea
In the following video, Get A Grip! founder Neal O’Farrell speaks directly to teens about the need to get comfortable thinking and talking about mental health, why it’s directly connected to being successful in life, and how the path is through happiness and kindness.
WARNING! It can work for adults too, and it could change the world.
According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, happier people tend to have better relationships and friendships, they make more money, they enjoy better health, and they tend to achieve more. They’re also thought to be more productive and creative, better at problem solving, and see greater advancement at work.
So if you want everything we just talked about, focus on being happier.
And how do you do that, become and remain happier?
Again, according to neuroscientists, the best path to happiness is kindness, through being kind. Again, there are few teens who don’t connect with the notion of kindness.
In order to explain how kindness and happiness work in the brain, how teens can use them to be successful, we have to talk about how the brain works, how the chemicals in the brain work, how they work differently for all of us, and why because of even subtle differences in this chemistry, so many struggle with things like depression, anxiety, sadness, loneliness and so on.
This also offers a great opportunity to teach teens that the way to practice kindness, and to trigger all those chemicals in the brain, is through things like giving and helping, purpose and meaning, sympathy and empathy, gratitude and perspective, tolerance and understanding.
All these are messages that most teens will relate to, will like to hear, and without having to speak about illness.