What good habits for your mental and physical well-being do you practice now? What goals do you have? What tips can you offer other teens?
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By February, the New Year’s health resolutions we make have often fallen by the wayside. But in this student forum, we hope you’ll post a comment to help reinspire yourself and others.
What are you doing that’s good for your health right now? Consider everything from your diet and exercise to the habits you have to take care of your mental health and well-being. What tips do you have for others your age?
If you’re in search of ideas, here are just a few recent pieces from the Well section that might help.
The Joy Workout suggests six research-backed moves that can improve your mood — and includes a video demonstration. Here is how the workout is introduced:
It’s no secret that exercise, even in small doses, can improve your mood. Researchers even have a name for it: the feel-better effect.
And while any physical activity — a walk, a swim, a bit of yoga — can give you an emotional boost, we wanted to create a short workout video specifically designed to make people happy. What would a “joy workout” look like?
I’m a psychologist fascinated by the science of emotion. I’ve also taught group exercise classes for more than 20 years. To design a happiness workout, I turned to the research I leverage in those classes, to maximize the joy people get from moving their bodies.
For another kind of “joy workout,” check out “Bouncing Your Way to Better Health.” Perri Ormont Blumberg writes about the “impressively effective, efficient mode of exercise” that is bouncing on a trampoline:
In one small 2016 study Dr. Porcari conducted for the American Council on Exercise, 24 college students jumped on mini trampolines for six months. During each 19-minute workout, men burned an average of 12.4 calories per minute, while women burned 9.4 calories per minute, similar to running six miles per hour on flat ground. Yet the participants rated their effort on the trampoline as lower than one would expect for that level of exertion. In short, Dr. Porcari said, they were having too much fun to notice.
What about your diet? In “9 Nutrition Tips for the New Year,” Dani Blum recommends practices like these:
Limit the amount of processed meats you eat.
The occasional hot dog won’t wreck your health, but processed meats have been linked to cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Plant-based alternatives are a safer bet, but they’re not all equal: Find an option that’s as minimally processed as possible.
Make whole grains a staple.
Most Americans aren’t eating enough of them, but you can go against the grain by incorporating these high-fiber foods, like oats or corn, into your diet. A slice of whole wheat bread, a half cup of cooked oatmeal and three cups of popped popcorn, in combination, would satisfy the recommended daily requirement for whole grains.
Finally, consult the Mind section of Well to find articles like “Small Steps to Improve Your Mental Health in 2023.” It includes these tips:
Use your anxiety as an asset.
When your anxiety spirals out of control, it can be debilitating, but when humming along at normal levels, anxiety can actually be a strength, Christina Caron reported. A small bit of anxiety can serve as an alarm bell when you’re about to do something unsafe and can make you a more conscientious person. If you’re feeling anxious, it could also be a sign that something in your life is not working, and there may be a need for change. Accepting anxiety can also help you face your fears and build personal strength.
Figure out your wellness ‘non-negotiables.’
A daily pastry with coffee and the newspaper; a 90-pound Bernedoodle sitting in your lap — it’s the little rituals that keep us going, Dani Blum reported. We asked readers to share the things they do each day that anchor and bring joy to their lives. Some may sound familiar, or perhaps they might inspire new habits.
Students, read any or all of these articles, then tell us:
What are you currently doing for your physical and mental health? Why? How does it help?
What tips from any of these articles resonate for you? Why?
What health goals do you have? What practices and habits would you like to put into place to meet them?
What health struggles do you have? How do you navigate them? What helps?
What tips do you have for other teenagers on any aspect of health or well-being? Please share in the comments, and remember that not only can you post your own thoughts, but you can also add comments on the thoughts of others.
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.
Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these prompts into your classroom.