Feeling Good about yourself

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If you're feeling good about YOU then chances are your body and mind are feeling good too which is everything you need for good health and wellbeing.

What Should Feeling Good Feel Like?

Many things can help us to feel good (No, not just chocolate or new clothes!) Some of these things are pretty big and pretty important so need to be thought about. Because life, people, situations can change quickly or often it can then make the way we feel also change...clever!

It can all get quite confusing; is there a certain way we should feel? What can make us feel differently? How can we change the way we feel?

What makes you YOU?

Identity is everything about yourself. It’s more about what’s on the inside like your personality and beliefs but you often express these things on the outside through your clothes or your hairstyle.

It’s important to know who you are for all sorts of reasons; it helps with confidence, your aims in life and defines what you’re all about.

Not really sure..

Being in care or a care-leaver can make ‘identity’ a little tricky to establish. But it’s not all about family-trees, it’s all sorts of things – likes, dislikes, personality, what you believe in, religion, faith…

A lot of these things are in the process of being decided in your early years of life, especially as a teenager when you’re learning loads and trying out new stuff, so it can get a bit confusing. You will naturally feel more comfortable with some things more than others and find your own identity.

Obviously we’ve all got similarities but it’s cool to be different! (sounds cheesy but it’s true!) Whether it’s clothes, music, personality...it makes us all the more interesting and attractive to others so go with it!

For many of people, but not everyone, religion and/or faith can be important in their lives and play a big part in forming their identities. Do you belong to a particular religion or follow a certain faith? Researching these areas may help you to work out a little more about yourself. It can also be interesting to find out about your ethnicity; ethnic groups have specific cultures which can influence members’ identities

Friends – It’s definitely worth having some in your life. You will find some stay friends for years, others will come and go more quickly. They’re great for all sorts of things but, sometimes, it’s tricky to find them so what makes the BEST best friend?…

So why are they so good to have?

It’s important to have friends in our lives for all sorts of reasons, the main one being COMMUNICATION: so we can chat, gossip, joke, giggle, chat some more…! Sometimes if you are worried or concerned about something it is good to run this past your best friend, to see what they think or advise. You may find this helpful when you don’t know what to do about a situation.

They’re also perfect for sharing just about anything with and we learn an awful lot from our friends, quite often without even realising!

What makes a good friend?

We have friends for all different things. We have the ones who are there for a good old chat about life, the ones who love a laugh, our favourite shopping partners…the list goes on!

But in all of these different types of friends there needs to be certain characteristics which make them so absolutely fabulous as friends! Otherwise, sorry pal but you just won’t do!

Here’s a bit of a checklist which you can measure your friends against:

Good friends:

  • We can trust
  • Help us out
  • Don't judge us
  • Are honest and fair
  • Are reliable
  • Make us smile
  • Like us for exactly who we are
  • Encourage and support us
  • Respect us
  • Listen to us

Being friends is a two-way thing. It's easy to judge how good your friends are to you...have you ever thought how good a friend you are to them? DON'T FORGET: YOU also need to make sure you are a good friend in return!

It’s not always easy to make friends...It can be especially hard if you have to move around a lot or have just started a new school. Sometimes you might question how many friends you have compared to the most popular guy or girl in the class who seems to be forever swarmed by hundreds of friends.

It can be pretty daunting either way but don’t panic! Everyone has these feelings at some point in their lives, trust us!

You cannot ‘make’ someone be your friend. Friendships just happen without very much work - that's why they're so special.

If you're struggling to make friends or want someone new to hang out with then there are plenty of things you can do to make this happen.

First things first, although it's easy to, don't think there's something wrong with you because, well, to put it simply - there's nothing wrong with you! Friendships don't normally happen over night but they don't take much time either, if you look in the right places then you'll find new friends in no time!

If you're struggling to make friends or want someone new to hang out with then there are plenty of things you can do to make this happen.

Things you can do to find that friendship and make it blossom

We know that "being confident" and "chatty" isn't always as simple as it sounds and it's easy to be shy and hide away buy try to avoid that as best you can. Remember most people are just like you - they're nervous too, they want to fit in and will share many of the interests you have - music, TV, computer games, fashion, whatever. Find things that you have in common ask them about themselves and conversations will come more easily.

Here are some tips:

Be patient!

Friendships can take time to develop and it may take a little while to find people that you're comfortable with. Don't worry if the first person you speak to isn't your type. Also don't worry if your new friendships don't feel as deep as your old ones. They won't to begin with, but over time you will be just fine.

Be fun and open to new things

People love being around those who make them laugh, who make them feel comfortable and who seem interesting. Again, it's easier said than done, but if you're open to new things and to new people they'll be open to you.

Join a club or sports team

This is the perfect way to make friends: you'll be meeting new people AND they'll share your interests and hobbies. Are there any after school sports teams, debating teams, drama clubs etc that you could join? Or if you fancy meeting new people who aren't necessarily from your school then head down to your nearest leisure centre and see what they have on offer!

Find something in common

This is one of the key reasons why friends make friends in the first place. It could be something really obvious like shoes, cars, fashion... or, something which YOU think no one else would like. You'll be surprised!

Don't put on a front

People can see through that and you won't be comfortable trying to act like something you're not.

Have a plan!

People will ask about your family and your background. They don't know you and will be interested, but this could mean they ask some things that make you feel uncomfortable. You may not want to talk about being in care, or about your family, and that's fine. If you plan ahead what you might say, you won't be caught out.

Break the ice and make the first move

This might sound really scary but it's a great way of breaking free from any shyness. Remember to smile, most people’s natural reaction is to smile back at you, there you are half way there already! Pipe up with anything; the weather, last night's TV, music, homework - before you know it, you'll be having a full blown conversation with lots to talk about and do with your new friend.

Who are your friends...and who should you steer clear of?

A friend can be pretty much anyone really, it can be someone you've known for a really long time, someone who you met recently but instantly hit it off with. The person you least expect or someone so similar it's scary! Whoever it is, they need to be someone who you share a healthy connection with.

Not for me thanks...

Sometimes we stumble across the wrong people who seem like they're a great friend at first but after a while it becomes clear that they're only causing you trouble. This is fine, it happens, but there are a number of things to look out for which can show that this friend might not be so great after all and it's time to steer away from...

Checklist. Do they:

  • Make you feel uncomfortable and/or nervous when you're around them?
  • Pressure you into doing something which you know will land you in trouble or could be dangerous?
  • Act like your best friend one minute but then make out they don't even know you the next?
  • Make plans with you but then never bother turning up? Physically or emotional upset you; are they a bully?

If you have a friend or group of friends who you realise you don't want to hang around with anymore because of any of the reasons above, then it can be quite tricky to break away from them. Try to gradually distance yourself from these people, eventually they will lose interest and leave you alone.

Remember that old saying: a problem shared is a problem halved? It's true!

Talk to someone; your carer, social worker, teacher, friend or anyone you can trust.

Or, if you'd rather, there are some organisations you can contact which will be able to help:

Feelings and Emotions

Feeling emotion is completely normal. It's part of what makes us who we are and are good indicators of what's good in our lives and what we might need to change. But it's when our emotions start to take over our lives that we have to seek help.

Do you suffer from any of the things listed below? Then click on the links and get some help - don't suffer in silence

Anxiety

Everyone gets anxious sometimes. It's what we feel when we're frightened of something, such as exams. That feeling of your heart beating faster and breathing speeding up as you think of what you have to do. This is normal and a little anxiety is actually good for us as it gets us motivated and helps us to avoid dangerous situations.

But when does anxiety become a problem?

  • If you get this feeling a lot of the time
  • If you feel cut off from reality
  • When you feel anxious about things that other people don't worry about
  • You avoid situations that make you anxious
  • You feel tired, irritable and/or forgetful
  • You have trouble concentrating and sleeping

If you think that this sounds like you, you could be suffering from too much anxiety and this can take over your life. This could be triggered from a past event that's been difficult, like illness or death of a loved one.

You can learn to deal with your anxiety, try doing these:

  • Try breathing deeply when you feel anxious
  • Do a detox - no more caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs
  • Do some exercise
  • Try to focus on the positive things in your life like what you're good at
  • Understand that worrying gets us nowhere and things are never usually as bad as we imagine

And finally...

Talk to someone about how you're feeling such as a counsellor. Ask you GP about ones in your area. Counsellors are fantastic at explaining why we're feeling the way we do and making us feel better.

We all feel sad sometimes, it's a completely natural feeling, in fact its it's very unusual to feel happy every day. But if you start to feel sad most of the time and feel like it's taking over your life, you could be suffering from depression.

Depression

What is depression?

People with depression can feel hopelessly sad. This can manifest itself in losing or gaining weight, having no energy, feeling unmotivated, being unable to sleep and a feeling of worthlessness. This can feel like a black cloud that won't go away.

We give up on things that we used to enjoy like seeing friends, playing sport and instead turn to things like drink and drugs.

Other signs

  • Feeling sad for weeks on end
  • Feeling no interest in hobbies or seeing people
  • No confidence
  • Feeling useless or not good enough
  • Feel like everything is pointless
  • Feeling irritable, frustrated or angry

Depression can be treated so don't feel like you have to live with it - get some support

The best thing to do is to go and see your GP - they help people that are suffering from stress and depression every day and will be impressed that you've noticed something's wrong and are asking for help. They might prescribe you some medication or refer you to a counsellor or therapist.

Also try doing some of these:

  • Talking to someone you trust about how you feel such as a friend or family member.
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Green veg especially are great at tackling depression
  • Do some exercise - regular exercise can have the same effect as taking antidepressant medication.
  • Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes can mess up your head - so cut them out

And don't ever feel ashamed of feeling depressed. Admitting it and getting help is brave and will be the first step to getting your life back on track.

Problems with Anger

It's completely normal to feel angry sometimes. But it's how we deal with that anger that's important

Being unable to control anger is dangerous and can result in heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol levels and of course, getting punched in the face.

So why do people feel anger?

There are loads of different reasons - everybody gets stressed out and angry about different things.

What can I do to keep my anger under control?

  • Recognise when you're starting to feel angry or days when you feel particularly on edge or ready for a fight. Learn to deal with it by doing something chilled that you enjoy like listening to music or reading a magazine.
  • Do some exercise - getting those legs pumping with a few laps around the park will get your heart rate up which is a great stress buster
  • Give up the alcohol, cigarettes and drugs as these can make us more edgy.
  • Learn to accept the things that make you angry. Force yourself to move away from a situation that you know will land you in trouble.

Self Harm

Self-harm is when people deliberately hurt themselves. The most common ways of doing this are cutting, scratching or pricking to draw blood, burning, picking at old wounds, punching or head-banging a wall.

Why do people self harm?

There are lots of reasons why someone might self-harm but it certainly isn't about wanting to die. Most people who self harm have experienced something upsetting in their lives like bullying or abuse, and may be feeling bad about themselves. They feel extreme emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, shame, helplessness, self-hatred, unhappiness, depression or despair which can build up over time and eventually become unbearable. Self harm is the way they deal with these feelings as the physical pain brings relief from their emotions.

Getting help for self-harming

Don't let self-harm rule your life. Get help by talking to someone like one of the organisations below or your GP.

Try to spot when you're starting to feel the pressure to self-harm and try doing something else to relieve your emotions. Try getting outside, punching a punch bag or a pillow, squeezing an ice-cube or flicking elastic bands.

And finally...

Contact one of the organisations below to get more help

Bullying

You know it's a big deal because your school has a policy about it, and puts up posters in the corridors. The thing is, for anyone who has been bullied - and that's 2 out of every 3 children, it really is a big deal. A small amount of bullying now and again might not be earth-shattering, but for some, bullying can ruin their lives.

Bullying can mess with your head.

It's a bit like monsters under the bed when you're little. What we mean is that you get so worried about the problem, it takes over your life. You convince yourself that this terrifying thing is going to rule your life. However once you actually look under the bed and confront the problem, you realise a lot of what you worried about wasn't that scary. Bullies use their strength or power to scare people into doing what they want. Thing is, they're not actually that powerful or strong.

There's plenty you can do.

These ideas might sound simple, but they work:

Go to your school:

Bullying is something we're all aware of, and it's something your school should know how to handle. Every school must have an anti-bullying policy and rules to prevent people being picked on. If you think your school isn't doing enough to make its policy clear, have a word with your teachers or your designated teacher. If you don't feel confident enough to do this, then get your carer or another adult you trust to speak for you.

Report the problem:

It isn't grassing, it's looking after yourself - and it will be dealt with. The school has to take you seriously and will want to solve the problem. They want you to be happy at school and they don't want the school to get a reputation for having a problem with bullying.

Don't try to fight back!

It's messy, you'll get into trouble, the teacher won't know that you've been bullied and will think you're just as much to blame as the bully. You've also just given the bully all the excuse he needs to continue being an idiot. "Uh, well you hit me so I'm going to carry on making your life hell". You know how it goes.

Keep a record:

Save any nasty texts or emails that you have been sent, and note down days and times when you've been bullied. It's all evidence to help teachers build up a picture of what's been happening.

Remember it's not your fault - nobody deserves to be bullied!

Did you know its illegal to make an abusive or menacing call, text, or message?

Are you being bullied by phone?

  • Tell someone
  • Never reply
  • Keep and save message
  • Ask your mobile provider to change your number
  • You may have to tell the police

For more information visit: www.kscb.org.ukwww.bullying.co.uk, www.childline.co.uk or call 0800 1111

The loss of someone special in your life.

Grief is a very painful experience and this is a normal reaction to losing someone close. It takes time to adapt to the loss and this cannot be rushed. There are recognised stages of loss and you can feel shocked and not believe it has happened. You can feel angry at the person for dying or blame other people. You can bargain with yourself i.e. ‘if I am really good, or do my homework than it will all be alright’. You can feel sad and depressed and lose hope. Then you can move on to a place where you accept the loss of the special person.

 

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