Help! I’m so stressed about school and friends and stuff. How can I stay positive?

By Kaz Cooke
From the latest edition
of Girl Stuff 13+

Help! I’m so stressed about school and friends and stuff. How can I stay positive?

Almost everyone goes through bad patches, experiences moody phases and has times when they feel down. Some have the ability to ‘bounce back’ quickly. They’re optimistic: they expect that things will, or are likely to, turn out well. If that’s not you, you’ll be relieved to hear that you don’t have to be born with optimism – you can learn it. You can also learn resilience: the buzz word that means you are strong – a survivor who can face hard times and come through it all okay; the sort of person who can take a disappointment, instead of going off to brood for days or weeks.

You can learn not to let the pain of a rejection stop you from making new friends. You can aim to be a girl who doesn’t take crap from anyone, who when ‘one door closes’ in your face will kick down a few more. Or at least think about knocking politely.

Ten things to help you cheer up:

  1. Laughing – with friends, at a movie or show. If necessary, get in a water or pillow fight.
  2. Fresh air and light – proven mood lifters.
  3. Affirmations – use a diary, sticky notes, posters or your own thoughts to remind yourself of your good points and things you enjoy or want to achieve.
  4. Exploring your creative side – express your feelings in writing, drawing, music, performance, cooking.
  5. Having things to look forward to. Check your schedule this week: is there any time for fun? If not, start to schedule it for coming weeks.
  6. Taking time out – try to get some time all to yourself. Just lie there in silence or listen to some soft music.
  7. Doing ‘good works’. This could include helping to look after an animal, or volunteering some time or money to a charity.
  8. Telling someone you love them – and doing them a favour.
  9. Having a big clean-out of your room. Chuck out stuff you don’t want that’s cluttering your space, rearrange things the way you want them and start afresh.
  10. You choose. Some people want to spend every spare moment with other people, liking to be ‘kept company’, but others prefer to have some time on their own.

There’s plenty more advice on how to be more optimistic in the book, Girls Stuff 13+: Your Full-on Guide to the Teen Years. You’ll also find advice on how to tackle anxiety, depression and anger.