How to build resilience in teens in uncertain times

How to build resilience in teens in uncertain times

Here we are, a brand new year, which also marks the 2nd birthday of the Spark to Your Success podcast (from which we write these blogs).

I can’t believe I’ve been talking to you for over two years in 104 episodes and not missed a single week. There’s been so much content to share!


What is resilience?

Two years ago I launched the podcast talking about resilience. This quality is more important now than ever and building resilience in children, teens, young people, adults, parents, carers, educators and businesspeople is so important.

Resilience is one of the most vital qualities you need in order to be flexible, healthy, happy and is the number one thing that will reduce stress and improve mental health.

Resilience is the art of bounce-back-ability. Being bendy rather than rigid and as it’s the start of a new year it’s a great subject to revisit, especially since we’re currently having to frequently change and adapt to new challenges.


“Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.” Oliver Goldsmith


Thrive not just survive

When you understand that life happens for you not to you, you will see that life’s challenges are an opportunity to learn, grow and expand instead of playing the victim of circumstance.

You become more patient, kind, adaptable, appreciative, accepting and more humorous.

If you are simply surviving then you might feel stressed, anxious, unhappy, maybe even depressed. These feelings and emotions expend a lot of energy but they do not change a situation for the better. All they do is make you feel bad and probably those around you too.

When events happen in your life, whether your immediate surroundings or the wider world, they have no meaning or emotion. You create the meaning and often the emotion released is based on past experiences. You are still in control of how you deal with the event.

So why stress, feel sad or anxious? Why not use that energy to control your inner thoughts from your internal world?

Instead of conjuring thoughts of horror, sadness and uncertainty, use your amazing imagination to think in a resilient way and open a world full of calm, positivity, joy, inner peace and a feeling of ‘all is well’ no matter what the world around you is doing or saying.


“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” Tina Fey

Angry young female teenager looking at her phone.
How to build resilience in teens

The importance of resilience should be taught to children from an early age. Growing up with determination, confidence and strength of character will help young people to strive harder to achieve their dreams. To become more adaptable and innovative in their thoughts and actions. It can only be a good trait, right?

You hold the power in your internal world. What will you decide for 2021? Be curious and inquisitive about your thoughts and catch any negative ones early. Stop the anger, sadness or anxiousness in its tracks.

Think of those thoughts as if they were a little snowflake falling calmly versus a few flakes joining together to expand into a bigger snowball that starts to roll down the hill until it magnifies into a raging avalanche! Soon it will be too late and someone or something will get caught up in the commotion.

As you notice these thoughts, these imaginary snowflakes, bat them to one side. Swipe them away. Kick them out of your mind. Use your inner voice to shout ‘STOP’. Even better, shout it out loud with determination and intent.

Smile at the same time. Take a deep breath and blow it out slowly. Feel the breath and feel its soothing effects. Ask yourself ‘What am I doing? Why do I think this? What am I saying?’

Do you really want to grow the snowflakes into uncontrollable snowballs and avalanches? Or can you change the direction of your thoughts?


“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” Sir James Matthew Barrier


Exercise: Change your thought patterns

The following exercise will help you to rationalise any negative thoughts and feelings and help you to take control of the situation, build your resilience and make the most out of a difficult situation. Consider:

What could be good about this situation?
What are you grateful for at this moment?
What are five wonderful qualities that you have? Are you amusing, honest, creative, kind, caring?

A good way to tackle the last point is to play the alphabet game and come up with a positive quality that you have for every letter of the alphabet. By the time you reach the halfway point you’ll be feeling very different, I guarantee it. This is how to build resilience in your teenage years – or at any age for that matter.

Once you are in a different state you are in better control of your thoughts and can make positive choices about what happens next.

When you show up differently in the world people respond to you differently too, in a positive way. People want to hang around with a bubbly, creative and inspirational you. Why would they want to spend time with a miserable, angry, sobbing you? Think about this.


“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer


Choose the life you want to lead

As you progress into 2021 practice the power of positive thinking in order to take back your power and allow yourself to feel happier, be more settled and build your resilience. You are way stronger than you think and more wonderful than you can ever know

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I’ll leave you with one more thought this week and that is, ‘Fate whispers to the warrior “you cannot withstand the storm” and the warrior whispers back “I AM the storm!”

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