Panther Parent MS/HS Newsletter
All Things Social/Emotional at Addison Secondary Schools
Have you ever been in a really bad mood that you just can't shake off? Or maybe had a pile of 'distance-learning' homework to help your student with, but realized you're just not in the mood to get it done? Sometimes we feel at the mercy of our moods — but moods aren't things that just happen to us, we have the power to influence and change them! Being able to choose the mood that's best suited to a situation is one of the skills of emotional intelligence. Choosing a REALISTIC OPTIMISTIC mood can help you control whatever situation you're in! The information below has been taken from one of my favorite websites--TeenHealth.org. If you have any questions about teen mental health, physical health, or overall well-being, you should check it out -- there are some wonderful articles that have surely helped me understand things better at times.
As always, before we get started, I want to remind you that even though we don't get to see your student face-to-face at school anymore, we are all still here to help. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to me either by email or by submitting a request form for non-urgent issues. If you or a loved one is experiencing an emergency or one of the '3 Hurts,' please seek help immediately using one of resources listed at the very bottom of this newsletter. As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out!
Stay Healthy! Stay Happy!
Ms. Monica Flores
Secondary Behavior Specialist
Addison Community Schools
Mrs. Ashley Davis
Secondary School Counselor
MINDSET: the key to SUCCESS
Choose Your Mood!
Mood + Mindset = Success
Moods can influence how well we do in certain situations, but so can something else: our mindset.
What's the difference between a mood and a mindset?
Moods are the emotions we feel. A mindset is the thoughts and ideas that go along with that mood. Mood and mindset go hand in hand because our thoughts can influence our mood. Here's an example:
Imagine you're competing in a swim meet this afternoon. Which mood and mindset helps you do your best?
- Mood A: Insecure. You keep thinking about how the competition might blow you out of the water and maybe you're not good enough to be on the team.
- Mood B: Annoyed. You're thinking about how swimming interferes with your social life.
- Mood C: Pumped up and confident. You're thinking that if you do your best, there's a good chance your team can place well.
Of course, you're likely to do your best with the mood and mindset in option C. But what if you're feeling A or B and worry that those moods might affect your performance? Luckily, you can change your mood.
How to Choose My Mood
Step 1: Identify your mood. To switch moods, you need to check in with what you're currently thinking and feeling. That way you can decide if you need to change your mood to one that's more suited to your situation — or if you're in the best mood to begin with. To identify a mood, stop and think about what you're feeling and why. Put those feelings into words, like, "Wow, I'm really sad right now" or "I'm feeling really alone." You can say this silently to yourself, out loud, or to someone else.
Step 2: Accept what you feel. After you name your emotion, show yourself some understanding for feeling the way you do. It's perfectly OK (and natural!) to feel bored on a rainy Saturday or annoyed about having to study when everyone else is going out. All emotions are acceptable and understandable. But you don't have to hold on to feeling that way. Notice your mood, then choose to move past it.
Step 3: Identify the mood that's best for the situation you're in. If you're competing in a swim meet, it's best to be pumped up and confident. If you need to get down to some serious studying, it's better to feel interested, alert, and confident (and not so helpful to feel grumpy, annoyed, and self-defeated). Take a minute to think about which emotions will help you accomplish your goal.
How to Get Into the Best Mood
After you imagine the mood that's best suited for your task or situation, it's time to get into that mood. Think "P for positive" and focus on these 6 things that can help you reset your mood:
- Purpose. Get clear on what you want and need to do. For example, you might want to get your studying done as fast and well as possible so you can go to a party later.
- Place. Put yourself in the right situation — environment influences mood. If you need to study, it's better to find a table or desk in a quiet room than to go to the coffee shop where you might see friends who distract you.
- People. Who can help you feel the way you need to feel? A focused classmate is a better study companion than a chatty friend. Sometimes, just thinking of a particular person is enough to help you feel confident, inspired, strong, or supported.
- Playlist. Music is one of the most powerful influences on mood because it's all about communicating and inspiring emotion. Create playlists for the moods that are the most helpful and positive for your life.
- Posture. Move your body into the right mood. For studying, try exercises that help you focus on your physical posture like yoga or t'ai chi. For energy, try a workout that gets your heart rate up. To prepare for sleep, try deep breathing, gentle stretching, or other soothing activities.
- Promotion. Encourage yourself with self-talk. Self-talk is a way of using thoughts to influence your mood. If you've ever said to yourself, "OK, let's get serious for a minute" or "I can do this!" you've used self-talk to get into the right mood for a situation. Self-talk doesn't just create the mindset that supports your mood, it also helps you keep a mood going. That's why pep talks work so well for athletes.
How to Get Out of an Unhelpful Mood
To get out of a mood that's unpleasant or unhelpful, think "U for U-turn." Try these mood changers:
- Undo. Do something to break the train of thought that keeps your old mood going. Distract yourself with a game of Sudoku or simply focus on what's going on outside your window for a few minutes. Distractions are like rebooting your mind — they create a space between moods.
- Unstick. Change your body posture. If you're sitting, stand up. Do some jumping jacks. Stretch. Walk around the room. Moving your body changes your mindset and mood.
- Unwind. Sit quietly, breathe gently, and focus on each breath. To keep your mind from wandering back to a mood you're trying to change, every time you take a breath, say to yourself: "I'm breathing in" and "I'm breathing out." Focus on feeling calm.
You've probably chosen your mood before without even realizing it — many times people choose a mood naturally without thinking about it. But practicing ways to choose your mood intentionally can help you get good at it.
So next time you feel a strong mood, stop and name it. Ask yourself if it's the ideal mood for what you're trying to accomplish. Sometimes, even the happiest of moods might not be right for a particular situation (as anyone who's excited about weekend plans during Friday afternoon classes knows).
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
The Power of Positivity!
How's Your Day Going?
Before you keep reading, take a moment to think about some of the things that happened to you today. Even better, grab a pen and write down a few specific events.
So what did you come up with? Was it mostly positive stuff like: "My day's going great! My grandmother made me pancakes for breakfast. I sat with my friends at lunch, and I actually enjoyed English class today!" Or did your mind land on what went wrong: "My grandmother cooked breakfast and it made me so late I missed the bus. My friends wasted the entire lunch period gossiping about a boring TV show, and I had English class today. I hate Thursdays!"
Optimism Is Healthy
Researchers have spent a lot of time studying people who think positively. It turns out that an optimistic attitude helps us be happier, more successful, and healthier. Optimism can protect against depression — even for people who are at risk for it. An optimistic outlook makes people more resistant to stress. Optimism may even help people live longer.
The best thing about optimism is you can learn it, even if your outlook tends to be more pessimistic.
Optimism vs. Pessimism
Optimism and pessimism are mindsets — ways of thinking and seeing things. Optimists see the positive side of things. They expect things to turn out well. They believe they have the skill and ability to make good things happen.
You've probably heard people who tend to see the faults in everything called "pessimists." A pessimist is more likely to expect things to turn out poorly or to focus on what didn't go well.
People aren't always optimistic or always pessimistic, but most people tend to lean toward one of these thinking patterns. The good news is, if you tend to be more pessimistic, you're not destined to always think that way. We can all become more optimistic by adjusting the way we see things.
Optimism Helps People Succeed
Optimism goes beyond seeing the bright side of a situation or expecting good things. It's also a way of explaining what has already happened. When something good happens, optimists think about what they did to make the situation turn out so well. They see their abilities as permanent, stable parts of themselves. They think of how this good thing can lead to other good things. When things don't go as expected, it's the reverse: Optimists don't blame themselves. They see setbacks as temporary. When something goes wrong, optimists link it to a specific situation or event, not their capabilities. Because they don't view setbacks as personal failings, optimists are able to bounce back from disappointment better than pessimists.
Optimism Builds Resilience
Optimism lets us see disappointing events as temporary situations that we can get past. It strengthens us to try again rather than give up. It allows us to keep our goals and dreams in play so we can act on the motivation to keep working toward them. Because of this, optimistic people feel more in control of their situations and have higher self-esteem.
Pessimism influences us to take disappointments and rejections personally. It also makes them seem more permanent than they are. A pessimistic outlook exaggerates the negative aspects of a situation so they overshadow anything positive. Pessimistic thinking makes it harder to cope when things don't go as hoped.
Optimism isn't about seeing everything as rosy. Optimists don't ignore problems or pretend life is perfect. They just choose to focus on what's good about a situation and what they can do to make things better. Optimists have true confidence because they're prepared: They know they need to study if they want to ace a tough test. They know they can't make the basketball team without practicing. Optimism goes hand-in-hand with action. It's about finding a healthy balance of positive and realistic thinking.
Is There a Place for Pessimism?
Pessimism can drag us down — so it's good to know we can change a negative mindset. But that doesn't mean erasing all negative thinking. A healthy "what's wrong?" mindset lets us zoom in on a problem. Thinking about what could go wrong helps us avoid too much risk.
Imagine your brother is texting while he drives you to rehearsal. Your negative thinking alerts you: "Hey, this isn't good!" So you tell your brother to stop, if not for his own safety, for yours. In this case you're combining pessimistic thinking ("Texting leads to car crashes!") with optimism ("I know I can do something about this."). Just about all of us go through a rough patch now and then where it can seem like nothing's working. It's healthy to identify feelings when we're discouraged, and it's OK to talk about what's wrong. Confiding in someone can lift your mood and remind you of the optimistic possibilities. Negative thinking can help you move forward, as long as you don't get stuck focusing on what's wrong.
How to Be More Optimistic
If you tend toward mostly pessimistic thinking, you can get better at seeing what's good. Here are some things to try:
- Notice good things as they happen. At the end of the day, take 10 minutes to run through your day and come up with things that you're grateful for. Write them down in a journal or keep track using a motivational app on your phone or tablet.
- Train your mind to believe you can make good things happen in your life. Get in a habit of telling yourself specific things you can do to succeed. For example: "If I study, I can get a better grade." "If I practice, I'll perform well at the audition." "If I go on that volunteer trip, I'll meet new friends."
- Don't blame yourself when things go wrong. What does your inner voice say when things don't go as planned? Instead of thinking, "I failed that math test because I'm terrible at math," tell yourself: "I failed that test because I didn't study enough. I won't let that happen next time!" Instead of saying, "Grace broke up with me because I'm such a loser," think: "Now I know why people say breakups are so painful, but hanging out with my friends will help me feel better again."
- When something good happens, give yourself credit. Think of what you did to make a good outcome possible. Did you prepare for the test? Practice with dedication? Think of the strengths you used and how they helped you succeed.
- Remind yourself that setbacks are temporary. As soon as something goes wrong, remind yourself that it will pass — and come up with a plan for making that happen. For example: "My SAT results aren't what I hoped, but I can study more and take the test again."
- Notice how other people talk about themselves. Are friends and family members optimistic or pessimistic? For example, does your dad say, "I burned the hot dogs, I'm just a terrible cook!"? Or does he say: "I burned the hot dogs because I got distracted watching the dog chase a squirrel around the backyard!"?
Optimism is a thinking style that can be learned, which means that pessimism can be unlearned! It can take a little while, so don't feel discouraged. Becoming more aware of the two styles can gradually help you start noticing more ways to be optimistic. Just keep telling yourself, "I can be more optimistic and I'm going to keep practicing!"
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Lenawee Community Mental Healthy (CMH) - COVID19 Info
During this time of uncertainty, Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority (LCMHA) wants to let our community know that they are still ‘open for business’. In an effort to keep everyone safe, face to face contact has been reduced. If you are in need of services for yourself or your students, please call their office at (517) 263-8905 or (800) 664-5005. The COVID-19 pandemic is understandably creating an increase in anxiety and fear--this is a normal reaction to a worldwide crisis. There is help available. CMH is currently offering community groups to help you cope with the stress and anxiety. These groups are conducted via Zoom by a Master’s level clinician. They will be held every day at 10am and 2pm. You can join the group by going to the LCMHA Facebook page or website at www.lcmha.org (click on the Coronavirus link).