5 Ways to Well-being: Helping Tweens and Teens Build Emotional Resilience

Today is the 10th October –  World Mental Health Day.

This year’s focus is ‘young people and mental health in a changing world’.

According to the World Health Organisation:

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14.

And the vast majority of young people suffering with a mental illness around the world suffer in silence; lacking support – their conditions often going undiagnosed and untreated.

Fortunately, in more recent years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of building mental resilience in young people to help to try and combat this ‘mental health pandemic’.  As the WHO website explains:

“Evidence is growing that promoting and protecting adolescent health brings benefits not just to adolescents’ health, both in the short- and the long-term, but also to economies and society, with healthy young adults able to make greater contributions to the workforce, their families and communities and society as a whole.”

So what can parents and teachers do to help young people build ‘grit’ to better cope with everyday challenges?

There is lots that can be done – I’ve posted previously about encouraging a growth mindset at home and in school.

But if we can model and also encourage the following ‘5 ways to well-being’ than this would be extremely beneficial too.

Just as we encourage the younger generation to make wise choices to look after their physical health – eat a balanced and nutritious diet and get regular exercise, we would do well to encourage them to make wise choices about looking after their mental health too.

These include:

Building Connections

Lots of evidence suggests that feeling connected with other humans (and to some extent living creatures – pets for instance) helps emotional resilience.

Chinese writing saying friendship on a sign

So (within the realms of what your child feels comfortable with) encourage the tween or teen to have meaningful and real relationships with other people.

Remind them to:

  • Make eye contact.
  • Chat face-to-face with people not just online or over social media.   Too often, especially for teenagers, virtual relationships are taking up much headspace.
  • What about phoning a friend rather than ‘whatsapping’ or ‘snapchatting’?  Model this.  Let them hear you chatting on the phone to friends and family.

Being Active

Even if your tween or teen doesn’t want to be at the centre of the school or university football or hockey team then it is important they still engage in some physical exercise; not just for their physical health but for their mental health too.  Endorphins are released; it generally means that they get outdoors and in nature to ‘blow the cobwebs away’ too.

Encourage  meet-ups in the park- even as the children get older.  They may not want to be on the swings so much (although you never know!) but they may want:

  • a kick-around with a football
  • to play table tennis,
  • a game of rounders (who didn’t used to love playing rounders in a big group when we were younger)
  • to play French cricket
  • frisbee
  • or badminton.
  • They may also feel inclined to do a Park Run.

Competition doesn’t have to come into any of this – it’s just about having fun and getting the endorphins going.

Taking notice

By using our senses – the eyes, ears, hands and feet to touch, taste buds and nose we can be much more present, and practiced regularly, this could really help a young person to feel FOMO less and be more appreciative of what’s around them.

Maybe encourage your tween or teen to have a mindful mouthful or to go for a mindful walk to help them focus on the present moment much more.  You could to this with them too!


Loving learning

Evidence suggests that a mind tuned to being curious and engaged in learning is a healthy one.

This doesn’t mean pushing more academic studies on our youngsters it means encouraging the love of learning through:

  • arts
  • crafts
  • sports
  • music
  • anything really that they have a genuine interest in!

Giving a little (or a lot!)

Recent psychological studies suggest that people who give something to others regularly are happier.

Maybe encouraging children close to you to:

  • make a small charitable donation
  • voluteer to help at the local library or some other community hub
  • support Amnesty or another humaitarian group
  • help out at the school fete
  • give smiles away
  • engage in random acts of kindness.



The ‘5 Ways to Well-being’ are becoming increasingly encouraged in schools and by clinicians.

What do you think?




  1. mackenzieglanville
    October 13, 2018 / 9:54 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your suggestions! I didn’t know that about age 14, of course it is always on my mind with my children because of my own struggles. My eldest daughter is now 14 and a half and so far seems positive about her life. I actually think she seemed quite sad around age 11 and 12 but seems to be more settled now. I think as a parent who suffers from mental illness it will always be my wish that they do not have to suffer as I have done and still do at times. Even with my recent hard times with anxiety I try to be a positive role model by talking openly about seeking help and support and letting them know I feel worthy of getting help. Mental illness is hard and I think the more educated we are the better as a society and as teachers and parents. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Oh Mac I absolutely agree with all of this and am so pleased your eldest daughter is so positive about life. I worry about my lot too. Take care and I hope things are improving. xx

  2. October 13, 2018 / 10:28 am

    Great tips and ideas, I found baking together was a good way of getting teenagers to talk#satsesh@_karendennis

  3. October 13, 2018 / 11:56 am

    I love the idea of children giving. In fact this year we want to stop giving the children Christmas gifts at school but instead begin a charitable event. I will have to get my thinking cap on. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      That sounds a fab idea Catie. Good luck with it. XX

  4. October 13, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    I think kids do get so much out of giving, volunteering or helping others. Some great suggestions there. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Thank you Enda.

  5. October 13, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    I love your suggestions. I work with young people, a large number of which have their own struggles with Mental Health – so its something that is in the back of my mind as a parent.

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Thanks Andy – it sounds like you are doing a fab job at keeping this in mind with the important young people in your life.

  6. Mummy Thomas' Blog
    October 13, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Love this post, great suggestions. Volunteering is good. Xx #thesatsesh

  7. October 13, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    What a great post, Hayley! I love these suggestions. Many people think the changing educational system to more testing has led to more mental health issues in teenagers and whilst I agree that this will have its place, social media and the decline in social skills has to also be a reason. If humans aren’t communicating face-to-face, how can we learn how to be human?? Love this post. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:21 pm

      Thank you – yes Sophie, I think it is definitely a multi-faceted issue. And face-to-face communication is so important. Happy halfterm btw. 🙂 xx

        • onamindfulmummymission
          October 19, 2018 / 10:56 pm

          Booo – hang on in there! xx

  8. October 13, 2018 / 9:55 pm

    Great suggestions – really enjoyed reading. I didn’t know about mental illness at 14 #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      No – I think I would have been better off if people had talked about it to me as an early teen. Thanks for commenting.

  9. October 14, 2018 / 10:19 am

    Great advice especially with the sense of being connecting and doing something meaningful X #thesatsesh

  10. thesingleswan
    October 15, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    Great advice. thank you. pen x #thesatsesh

  11. October 16, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    #thesatsesh ooooh don’t forget my favourite one, role modelling resilience and happiness 🙂
    well being rules x

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      Good point – yes, yes, yes! xx

  12. October 18, 2018 / 10:03 am

    i agree absolutely although i do feel that we as the ‘older’ generations’ should learn to recognise the very real freindships and relationships this generation makes through gaming and social media. I spent and still spend a lot of my communication time with my sons via private messaging. Sometimes its easier for them to open upthat way x #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      A very good point Berni – thank you xx

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