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Self-care is defined as “the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.” Self-care practices involve both nurturing one’s physical and mental health, which can be accomplished in many ways. Self-care encompasses activities, practices, and habits intended to reduce mental and physical stress and strain while simultaneously fostering feelings of inner peace and happiness. Developing and integrating self-care practices as an adolescent can lay the foundation for continuing healthy habits into adulthood. There is a wide breadth of empirical evidence that substantiates the importance of self-care for teenage mental health, such as:

  • Builds emotional resilience: Self-care practices such as mindfulness exercises (e.g., meditation, deep breathing, visualization, etc.), as explained by Courtney Clark, in her famous TED Talk, have been positively connected to emotional resilience. Data shows that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve insomnia, and more.
  • Bolsters self-esteem: According to research, engaging in self-care practices that involve creative activities can positively affect adolescents’ behavioral changes, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
  • Reduced risk of health complications: Engaging in self-care is proven to significantly reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Promotes physical wellness: According to a 2015 meta-analysis, engaging in self-care through physical activity is associated with increased self-concept and self-worth in children and adolescents. According to a 2018 study, self-concept plays an important role in emotional health. Meaning, when teenagers feel good about themselves, they can better cope with stressful life events and maintain positive mental health.
  • Stimulates cognitive development: A major study found that physical activity spurs the release of proteins that cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections, which improves brain function and subsequently enhances mental health.

Teenage mental health is intertwined and often informed by behavioral health. While one’s mental health encompasses several factors (e.g., one’s biology, one’s psychological condition, and one’s habits) behavioral health examines how one’s habits impact one’s overall physical and mental wellbeing. Good behavioral health means engaging in behaviors that help to achieve an ideal mental and physical balance. Self-care practices are essential for teenagers as they help to cultivate and nurture positive adolescent mental health.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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