A good character and reputation lead to a good life – personally and professionally!
- Our character is the total of all our habits and all of our behaviors combined – this includes when others can see us, as well as when they cannot. Our reputation is what other people think of us.
- Relationships + Environments = Character and Reputation! Who we spend our time with and where we spend it determines who we become and what others think of us.
- People, companies, and organizations are highly attracted to individuals who are friendly, kind, honest, dependable, and giving to others – they want these individuals on their team!
- Less than 10% of all people are highly dependable. Being reliable and responsible by consistently doing what we say we’re going to do, when we say we’re going to do it, will put us in this elite group!
- There are many things in life that we do not get to choose, but we do get to choose our character and our reputation – we can either build it up, or tear it down!
- Damage to our character and reputation (which may be our own fault or from a false accusations by others) can be repaired and rebuilt. Good habits and good behavior, with consistency over time, will be required – but it can be accomplished!
- Big Warning! Never record written or verbal communications, take pictures or videos, of anything involving ourselves that we would not want to exist forever, be available to be seen or heard by anyone and everyone, and determine our reputation for us!
Successfully dealing with the “down-times” we experience helps us maintain the mental and emotional well-being we need for a life of contentment and peace.
- We cannot control many of the bad things that happen in our lives or how we’ve been treated by others, but we can control our long-term reactions and responses to them. We can either make things worse with poor decisions and poor behavior, or we can make wise choices and take positive steps to recover and move forward!
- Choosing to use course-correction techniques when we’re in a down-time period will help us to shorten the duration and minimize the depth of the negative experience.
- We may be a victim of something that happened to us or that someone did to us, but we don’t have to live the rest of our lives like a victim. We can choose to live as a victor instead!
- Preventative maintenance is the key to staying in good mental and emotional shape. This includes good sleep, a healthy diet, reading, listening to, and watching things that motivate and pump us up, as well as helping others and spending time with people who encourage us.
- Being able to understand and recognize the different negative triggers which can easily lead us into a down-time, and then using specific positive triggers to replace them with when they occur, is very empowering and self-strengthening.
- Important Note: If we experience a down-time that continues over a prolonged period of time and we consider thoughts of taking our own life, we must immediately talk to an adult such as a parent, a relative, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or someone we trust and share our thoughts with them.
Special Note: Depression can easily become very severs, and too often teens and young adults begin to believe that there is no way out. This is never the case, and talking with an understanding adult will help us find the way out of those feelings.
Positive relationships and conflict resolution are keys to daily happiness and successful living!
- We are naturally wired to connect, relate to, and have relationships with others.
- Having a variety of positive relationships is ideal. Simple acquaintances, casual friendships, and deep friendships will each benefit us, and us them.
- Initiating, developing, and forming are all necessary phases of positive relationship building. Friendliness, mutual interests, communication, and time together are the key components.
- Experiencing conflict is a normal part of all relationships. However, resolving conflict in a positive way can lead to mutual growth and even stronger and better relationships as a result.
- Relationships evolve and change over time. Some will grow and continue to exist, some will fade away naturally, and some will need to end on purpose because they are unhealthy, negative, or possibly dangerous and damaging to us.
Forming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the single most important component necessary to support the quality, longevity, and success of every other aspect of our lives!
- When we drink and eat healthy, are physically active, and get the proper amount of sleep, we’re most likely to perform at our best.
- Healthy lifestyle choices provide us with more energy. This equips us to have better attitudes, make wiser decisions, tolerate stress and difficult situations more successfully, and we’re able to participate in our relationships more fully and positively.
- Abusing alcohol, taking illegal drugs, and using tobacco products are all enemies of a healthy and productive lifestyle. They reduce our mental, emotional, and physical abilities, and the development of our personal potential. They contribute to sickness, disease, discouragement and depression, and numerous other destructive outcomes.
- Taking precautions to prevent teen pregnancy will also prevent becoming part of the discouraging statistics which exist for the futures of teen mothers, teen fathers, and their babies too! Abstinence is by far the most effective and safest form of preventing pregnancy.
Return to “Scanning the Surface” if you just want to get your toes wet!
- The Total of Who We Are
- How it is Developed
- Matching the Internal with the External
- Critical Building Blocks
- Relationships + Environments = Character and Reputation
- Game Changing Behaviors and one BIG WARNING!
- Second Chances
- Life Applications
- Understanding the Emotional Swings of Life
- Successfully Dealing with Our “Down-Times” (Discouragement and Depression)
- Course-Correction Techniques
- Preventative Maintenance
- Positive Relationships are Necessary
- Types of Positive Relationships
- Initiating Positive Relationships
- Developing Positive Relationships
- Forming Deep Relationships
- Conflict Resolution
- Ending Relationships
Character and Reputation Development
The Total of Who We Are
- Our character and reputation is the sum total of who we really are – all of our habits and all of our behaviors combined. This includes:
- The external perception of how others view us.
- The internal perception of how we view ourselves.
- The way we talk and behave within the different environments in which we live (home, school, work, spending time with friends and family, or by ourselves).
2. The consistency of our thoughts, feelings, words and actions, determine how we are perceived by others and ourselves.
How it is Developed
- Our character and reputation are developed and earned over an extended period of time.
- The more consistent our talk and behavior is, the sooner our character and reputation will be established.
- The more erratic and inconsistent we are, the longer it will take and the more difficult it will be for us to establish.
- Our personal choices determine the direction of our character development and our reputation that follows.
2. We have the continual and ongoing opportunity to either build our character up, or tear it down because:
- What we choose to think about affects our feelings.
- How we feel affects the words we use and the behaviors we engage in.
Matching the Internal with the External
- Matching our internal, external and environmental character, will significantly contribute to our personal happiness, peace, contentment and overall success in life.
- Be transparent by having one personality (a “rock”, not a “chameleon”). This means we’re the same basic person every day, with everyone we’re with, and everywhere we are vs. always changing who we are depending on who we’re with, and where we are.
- Speak and act in ways that are respectable and accepted, no matter what kind of group we are with or place we are at.
Critical Building Blocks
- Honesty and integrity.
- Friendliness and kindness.
- Discipline and commitment.
- Consistently do what we say we’re going to do, when we say we’re going to do it. And, communicating in advance if we’re unable to keep our commitment for some significant reason (severe illness or injury, serious accident, funeral, a friend in need etc.).
- Less than 10% of all people are highly dependable. We can be part of this elite group by simply being consistent with our word!
5. Serving and giving to others.
- Serving others with our help and our gifts can be among the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of our lives. Often it will seem as though we’ve received more in return than we have given out because of how awesome it makes us feel.
- Those that are disadvantaged, homeless, physically disabled and handicapped, sick and shut-in, emotionally upset because of a tragedy, elderly or children, all provide excellent opportunities for us to be of assistance.
- We can give the gift of our money to organizations and causes which exist to help others (Churches, Red Cross, Maximum Impact Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Veterans, disaster relief organizations, etc.).
- We can give the gift of our time and physical help to these same organizations by participating in such areas as raising money, collecting or distributing food and clothing, visiting hospitals or nursing homes, or helping with after school programs for kids (sports, hobbies, tutoring, etc.).
- We can also help with individual situations that we become aware of by addressing specific needs that we have the ability to address. Our help may be in the form of physical labor, performing acts of thoughtfulness and kindness, as a good listener, or simply being with someone who needs our personal presence.
6. Possessing these five characteristics will greatly add to the respect, confidence, and admiration that other people have for us. It will also increase our attractiveness to companies and organizations, and will contribute to the success of both our personal and professional lives alike.
Relationships + Environments = Character and Reputation
- Who we spend time with tends to determine who we become like.
- It is up to us to choose who we spend time with, as well as what environments we choose to put ourselves in. However, we must clearly understand that the internal and external perceptions of our character and our reputation are directly shaped by these choices.
- Our successes, failures, and futures are significantly impacted by the relationships we embrace and the environments in which we spend our time.
Game Changing Behaviors and One BIG WARNING!
- Always be honest, kind, helpful, giving, and polite to others (those we know and those we do not). Never be dishonest, unkind, selfish, rude or cruel to anyone, at any time.
- Always use language and behavior that is respectable and acceptable in any environment, with any person or group, and that we want everyone to know us by. Never use vulgar or foul language, or put-downs towards others.
- BIG WARNING!
Never, ever record written or verbal communications, take pictures or videos, of anything involving ourselves that we would not want to exist forever, be available to be seen or heard by anyone and everyone, and determine our reputation for us!
- This includes letters, recorded messages on answering machines or cell phones, emails, blogs, social interaction web sites, various internet postings, and so on.
- Because of the technological age in which we live, there is a strong likelihood that our families, friends, future spouse and children, schools that we might apply to, as well as our current and potential future employers, will all have access to see and hear anything about us.
- Time and again we see examples of celebrities and average people being exposed by former boyfriends, girlfriends, or people from their past, who released embarrassing and degrading videos, pictures, voice recordings, or emails that we to be kept private, but are now available for the whole world to see.
4. Nobody has ever offended anyone else, missed-out on a good opportunity, a positive experience, a quality relationship, or been unsuccessful in life because they avoided undesirable language and poor behavior. However, the opposite outcomes frequently occur because of the perception by others questioning the character and reputation of those who do behave this way.
- It is possible to repair and rebuild our character and reputation if it has been damaged. This will likely take some time and is dependent upon the severity of the poor decisions and the mistakes we may have made, or the lies and false accusations spread about us by others.
- The consistency of our words and our actions, over time, make it possible for us to change our character and reputation. However, other people who know us may be hesitant to accept these changes in us at first and will only acknowledge them after they have repeatedly observed them in us over time. It’s our choice, we can make it happen, and it’s totally up to us!
- Dream and determine what kind of person we want to become, and what kind of future we want to have – our goals.
- Surround ourselves (hang-out) with people who we want to become like, and who will inspire, encourage, and support us in attaining our goals.
- Consistently put ourselves into environments, and engage in activities, which will support and reinforce our growth in becoming who and what we want to become.
- Avoid relationships and environments that could compromise or adversely affect our future goals and aspirations.
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Understanding the Emotional Swings of Life
- What we choose to think about significantly impacts our feelings, our actions, our relationships, and our outlook on life.
- Our thinking can be affected by many influences – sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. These include family, friends, music, movies and television, weather, sickness, the death of others, sleep and energy levels, as well as the responsibilities and deadlines of daily life.
- These influences can result in our being extremely happy or extremely sad for a period of time. In most cases, however, these extreme moods do not last for very long and we soon return to a more normal state of emotion. But while we are in these extreme moods we often feel as though they’ll last forever.
- During these extreme periods our emotions tend to become very distorted and unrealistic, and we commonly experience “forever” and “never” thinking and feeling. The mental, emotional, physical and relational components of our lives can be dramatically impacted during these times.
Successfully Dealing with Our “Down Times”
- “Down-times” are times in our life where we experience feelings of discouragement, depression, and sometimes even hopelessness and worthlessness.
- Certainly not all, but most of the down-times we experience (which at the time seem so horrible, unbelievable, like we’ll never get through it, and filled with “forever” and “never” feeling and thinking) really don’t seem as extreme or dramatic in hindsight.
- We usually get through these experiences in fairly short periods of time – sometimes the same day, frequently within a few days or a week, and nearly always within a few weeks or a couple of months.
- Being in a bad situation can go on for a while, but being permanently stuck in a down- time with “forever” and “never” thinking and feelings is irrational and unnecessary. It doesn’t have to paralyze us long-term or for the rest of our lives.
- We cannot control a lot of things that happen to us in our lives, or what may or may not have been done to us by others. However, we can control our long-term reactions and responses, as well as the choices we make and the steps we take to recover and move forward!
- Important Note: If we experience a down-time that continues over a prolonged period of time and we consider thoughts of taking our own life, we must immediately talk to an adult such as a parent, a relative, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or someone we trust and share our thoughts with them.
Depression can easily become very severe, and too often teens and young adults begin to believe that there is no way out. This is never the case and talking with an understanding adult will help us find the way out of these feelings.
Course Correction Techniques
- We will have many down-time experiences throughout our entire lives. It is during these times that our thoughts and feelings can be severely impacted and act like “emotional rocket fuel”, which often results in us blowing things out of proportion and behaving irrationally.
- Choosing to use course-correction techniques when we’re in a down-time period will help us to shorten the duration and minimize the depth of the negative experience. We may be a victim of something that happened to us or that someone did to us, but rather than live the rest of our lives like a victim we can choose live as a victor instead!
- It is important to note that the down-times in our lives have different magnitudes and severity. A poor test score, a minor car accident, or the death of a loved one, all have very different and lasting impacts on our emotions and our lives. The more severe the down- time, the more help, healing, and time we’ll need to recover.
Recognize and admit it when we are in a down-time. Remind ourselves that it is not a “down-forever”, it will pass, and we will recover. Realize that it’s our choice to take action, or not, and help determine how long our recovery takes.
Take action, meaning actually “doing something”! This compares with “hoping, waiting, accepting”, and living like a victim. Creating the habit to take action when we are in a down-time takes effort and practice, but it’s definitely something we can become good at if we continually make the choice to take action rather than simply accepting where we’re at.
This is a very effective technique and involves “mentally stepping outside of ourselves” and pretending that we are actually someone else. This person would be someone who cares about us, who is aware of all of the details involved in our down-time situation, whose opinions and good judgment we respect and value, and who we trust will give us honest feedback (meaning objective and fair, truthful, and with a minimal amount of emotion and drama). Once we have “received” this advice, we must make the commitment to act on it to successfully begin our recovery process. It can be very helpful to tell another “actual” person about this technique and the process we put ourselves through, especially if we ask them to check-in with us on our recovery progress to help us stay accountable.
Involving others in our decision to take action in recovering from a down-time is an excellent technique as well. We must seek-out trusted individuals (friend, counselor, safe adult, pastor, etc.) whose opinions and good judgment we respect and value, who will give us honest and objective feedback and advice, who may have specific experience with what we are dealing with (sometimes organized groups can be an excellent resource), and who will protect our privacy. It is critical that we be 100% honest about all of the details concerning our down-time, which includes admitting mistakes and wrongs we may have committed. We must be willing to accept and honestly think-through the advice and counsel we are given, as well as setting up an accountability provision with our helper or helpers to ensure we continue to do our part in our recovery process.
Repeatedly visualize, or “see”, our recovery in our mind by picturing what it will be like when we are on the “other side” of the down-time. We shouldn’t focus heavily on our feelings at this point, as they will come as a result of the positive actions we choose to take and our recovery process as it successfully develops.
DO THESE THINGS:
To assist our recovery during any of our down-times, there are many positive things we can do to help ourselves:
- Spend time with people who encourage us and in environments that lift our spirits.
- Listen to positive music, read, or watch things that are exciting, energizing, and promote hope and good feelings.
- Participate in activities that we enjoy, especially those that involve physical exertion, as they stimulate our body’s natural chemical encouragers (endorphins).
- Engage in the normal daily routines of our lives (sleep, diet, schedules).
- Force ourselves to do things that are kind and helpful to other people (especially elderly, sick, disadvantaged, and younger people), and that are beyond what we would normally do in reaching out to help others.
DON’T DO THESE THINGS:
At the same time, there are many things we should especially avoid doing when we are in a down-time and trying to recover:
- Spend lots of time by ourselves, separated from others and focusing on our negative emotions.
- Listen to music, read, or watch things that are sad and generate negative emotions.
- Drink alcohol or take drugs to temporarily escape, as this only adds more feelings of depression and further compounds our down-time problems.
- Going to places, engaging in activities, or being with specific people that remind us of our down-time and reinforce our discouragement.
- Abandon the normal routines of our lives, and avoid reaching-out and doing kind things for others.
- As with cars, appliances, and electronic gadgets, the care and attention we pay to them during their “normal operational mode” helps to reduce the frequency and severity of malfunctions during their life. In the same way, our physical, mental, and emotional condition can be strengthened and fortified to increase our chances of handling our down-times more successfully.
- The key is to develop a list of things we do as a part of our normal daily routine, which will get us into good shape and well equipped to deal with down-times before they occur.
- Get enough sleep and rest on a regular basis, as well as consuming healthy drinks and foods throughout our day.
- Start the day with something that is motivational, positive and inspirational.
- Hang out with people who encourage us, and who we’d like to be like.
- Spend time in environments that are positive and promote clean and healthy activities.
- Listen to music, read and watch things that are encouraging and inspirational.
- Be kind, thoughtful, and helpful to others throughout each day.
- Self-evaluate from time to time to ensure that our mental, physical and emotional tanks haven’t gotten depleted. If they have, then we need to refuel accordingly to regain our necessary strength.
- Recognize and be aware of the mental and emotional triggers that each of us has in our lives. These are things (people, places, sleep, diet, music, books, etc.) which significantly impact us, making us feel either really good or really bad.
- When negative triggers arise, we need to turn away from them or replace them with positive triggers. Forming the habit of replacing negative triggers with positive triggers is very empowering and self-strengthening, as it gives us an effective tool to prevent and save ourselves from entering into a significant down-time event.
Positive Relationships are Necessary
- We are naturally wired to connect, relate to, and be in relationship with others.
- Positive relationships make us feel good, valued, comfortable and secure, and are necessary components to our personal well-being.
- They encourage, motivate, and inspire us to be better individuals.
- Positive relationships provide the opportunity to both learn and teach many valuable lessons through the mutual sharing of mistakes, successes, and experiences.
Types of Positive Relationships
- Simple acquaintances consist of people we see during our daily living (school, store, neighborhood) that we acknowledge and are friendly with (waving or nodding, saying “hi”), but who we don’t know well.
- Casual friendships (classmates, neighbors, co-workers) are those with whom we often have routine and friendly conversation about something we share in common (weather, traffic problems, school assignments, work), but only know one another on a surface level.
- Deep friendships are the most meaningful and lasting form of positive relationships. Gender, race, and age are unimportant for a deep friendship to exist. What matters most is that two people share common interests, a desire to care for and about each other, enjoy spending time together, have empathy for one another, and are willing to sacrifice for when needed.
Initiating Positive Relationships
- Routinely engage in brief acts of kindness and friendly communication with those we come in contact with throughout our day (smiles, handshakes, and greetings – “Good morning”, “Hello!”, “Hi!”, “How are you?”, “Good to see you!” “How’s it going?” etc.).
- Do healthy activities that we enjoy (sports, hobbies, clubs, video games, church groups, etc.) with the initial focus on “doing stuff” involving other people who share a common interest.
- Occasionally “push” ourselves to break-out of the daily ruts and routines we tend to get caught-up in by trying new activities, which will then expose us to new environments and new people who share common interests with us. These do not have to be long-term commitments, just opportunities for new interactions and new connections.
Developing Positive Relationships
- Asking questions of others can initiate conversations and provide opportunities for us to explore if we share any sort of deeper connection beyond the basic “hi”. If there is a connection, then the questioning and answering will tend to continue by flowing back and forth quite easily. If not, then we can simply move on and look for additional situations and opportunities to initiate the same with others. In any case, we gain good practice at being friendly and pleasant, which will serve us well and make us more attractive to others throughout the rest of our lives.
- General statement-type questions are a good way to begin with those we might be interested in connecting with (“Wow, isn’t the weather awesome today?”, “Did you hear about the fire in San Diego?”, “I’m looking for a job, do you know of anyone that’s hiring?”, etc.), as this often opens the door for some feedback to be received and more meaningful communication to possibly begin.
- When we do experience meaningful feedback (more than just one word answers), we can progress with more specific questions to help take the communication level deeper (“Where did you grow up?”, “Where do you go to school?”, “Do you like your school?”, “Do you like your job?”, etc.).
- Following a time when we have had a connection with someone, tell the other person that we enjoy getting to know other people and making new friends, as this helps to communicate our intention. Finish by saying something like, “it was nice talking with you”, “see you next time”, “talk with you later”, “have a good day”, or “take care”.
Forming Deep Relationships
- Every relationship is different, and developing positive relationships to the level of deep friendships cannot be forced.
- Deep and lasting friendships involve a natural progression of growth, over time, involving several critical factors shared between two people
- Time – indicates the value we place on each other through the frequency and the quantity that we spend together communicating (talking, listening, sharing an activity), the single most important component of deep friendship.
- Acknowledgement and Validation – shows we recognize and appreciate one another’s existence, value and communication with us (eye contact, verbal and non-verbal confirmation feedback).
- Affirmation and Empathy – demonstrates we understand and relate with the emotions, feelings, and perspective of the other person (head nodding, smiles, “I know”, “I understand”, “me too”, “wow”, “really”, “that’s great”, “that stinks”, “you’re right”, “I agree”, etc.).
- Giving and Receiving – connects us with others on a deeper level by allowing the mutual experiences of encouragement, self-worth, a sense of belonging, and being cared about by others to occur.
- Honesty and Dependability – communicates care, trust, value, a sense of belonging, and deep emotional connection between two people.
- Extra Effort – additional help and kindness is provided when needed (patience, emotional support, time, etc.).
3. It is unnecessary to have age, race, or gender in common for deep friendships to exist. In fact, we can benefit greatly from having a blending of these different characteristics within our friendships. This helps us become better educated, well-rounded, and better equipped to interact and connect with a larger number of people in a greater variety of environments. Sometimes we’ll be the one giving, and sometimes we’ll be the one receiving:
- Age – offers invaluable lessons that only age and experience can provide.
- Race – offers unique vision and perspective that only race can provide.
- Gender – offers emotional insight and understanding that only gender can provide.
- Conflicts, differences of opinion, misunderstandings, hurt feelings and frustrations, are normal occurrences and part of all human relationships.
- When ignored and left unresolved these occurrences can threaten any relationship, even deep friendships which are considered to be strong and secure.
- Not resolving conflict and simply pretending it doesn’t exist by ignoring it, results in temporary peace only. Unresolved conflict in relationships always remains and always resurfaces, and usually becomes worse each time.
- Making the choice to use proven tools for conflict resolution shortens the time it takes for a damaged relationship to be restored. It also helps establish good habits for handling future conflicts, while contributing to the strength and long-term success of all relationships.
Proven tools include:
- Honest Communication – This is the single most important and effective tool for resolving conflict. However, it can only occur when both individuals participate in expressing both their intellectual and emotional feelings.
- Empathizing – This involves truly listening and trying to understand things from the other person’s point of view. This can lead to gaining appreciation for their thoughts and feelings, and also helps avoid similar conflicts in the future.
- Sincerely Apologizing – When a conflict or wrong has occurred, this is a critical step in relationship restoration because it acknowledges responsibility and remorse (even if it was unintentional). It also demonstrates maturity and a desire not to repeat what occurred, as well as communicating that the relationship is more important than individual ego and pride.
- Forgiving and Moving Forward – When a sincere apology has been extended, it is important that forgiveness is given in return so that the relationship can move forward. Depending on the severity of what occurred, some time may be necessary for healing and the rebuilding of trust to take place. The key is for the person who committed the offense to make the necessary changes to prevent the offense from happening again (which demonstrates a sincere apology) so that the other person has reason to forgive, regain trust, and not engage in dwelling in the past (which keeps relationships from being able to move forward).
- Giving and Taking – It is important for each individual to occasionally be willing to “give in” to the other when conflict and differences in preference arise. This shows care and support for one another and the relationship, along with preventing an unhealthy and imbalanced relationship in which the same person always has to “win”.
- Common Ground – This is the best place to end up, even though it is often not exactly where we thought we wanted or needed to be in order to be comfortable. However, the best “place” (which may be a way of thinking, feeling, an agreement or compromise) is where both individuals can accept and move forward together when conflict happens in their relationship.
- Big Picture – When both individuals involved in a conflict commit to the success of the “big picture” (which is the success of the relationship existing and growing positively), then they can actually work together as a team attacking the conflict (rather than one another) in an effort to win and become victorious over the conflict itself.
- In the same way that we as individuals grow, change, and evolve over time, it is normal for the relationships that we have to experience the same. Some are just beginning, some we’ve had for a long time, and others are in the process of coming to an end.
- Most relationships that end involve the process of two people simply growing apart. Interests and activities change, jobs and schedules change, one person moves away, and the time and connection the two spend together no longer occurs. This natural drifting apart is usually something both people understand and accept.
- Ending some relationships can be quite difficult when one of the individuals is unwilling to let go and allow the end to occur. This is often the case when one of the individuals determines the relationship is no longer healthy and positive, or safe, for both involved. Common examples include the presence of physical or verbal abuse, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, or overly possessive and controlling behaviors.
In these difficult situations it is best to:
- Politely, calmly, and firmly communicate that the relationship is over.
- Communication in writing can be the safest and most effective method. Our words can be expressed clearly, completely, and without the drama and emotion that face-to-face conversation can frequently lead to.
- When there is conversation, keep it brief and stay with factual statements like “I will no longer be in a relationship that is harmful to me”, or “it’s time that we go our separate ways”.
- If the person not wanting to let go of the relationship begins asking questions, trying to make a “deal”, casting blame, or asking for another chance, we should simply repeat what we have already said about the relationship being over. We may need to repeat ourselves a few times, but staying with this pattern of repetition will most always lead to our message being understood and the conversation ending.
- Always maintain a calm voice and try to avoid the tone of the conversation from becoming a shouting match. With calm and low voice, simply repeat what we have already said about the relationship being over and that we want to go our separate way.
- If the situation does elevate to where we feel threatened and are concerned for our personal safety, we should immediately call 911 for help.
Forming a Healthy Lifestyle
- Forming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the single most important component necessary to support the quality, longevity, and success of every other aspect of our lives!
- The key to forming a healthy lifestyle is making wise choices consistently over time, and establishing good habits in the basic areas of our lives.
- When we drink and eat healthy, are physically active, get good sleep and rest, we:
- Feel better, think better, and have more confidence.
- Have more energy and perform better.
- Have more physical, mental, and emotional strength and stamina.
- Handle our daily difficulties and problems more easily and effectively.
4. A healthy lifestyle follows the principle of sowing and reaping. Not only is the length of our life affected, but so is the quality of our life along the way.
- Healthy lifestyle people tend to live longer, more active, and happier lives.
- Unhealthy lifestyle people tend to live shorter lives filled with ongoing sickness and health problems, high costs for medicine and medical treatment, and less active lives due to continually not feeling good and being tired.
5. The most common health problems in society today (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, joint and body movement problems, and cancer) are most often linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
6. There is good news! If we develop good habits of consistently drinking and eating good things, stay active and get moderate exercise, get enough sleep, rest, and stay away from engaging in destructive behaviors and activities, then our bodies will more likely perform well for a longer time without significant breakdowns.
What and When to Drink
- Approximately 60% to 70% of our body weight is water.
- Scientific research confirms that our body and brain requires consistent hydration throughout the day to perform at optimal levels.
- Water carries vitamins and nutrients to our cells, as well as flushes waste and toxins from our body to help keep us from disease and sickness.
- We think better, feel better, and perform better when we are consistently hydrated, as every system within our body depends on water.
- As a general guideline, each day we should consume about a half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight that we have (ex. a 150 pound individual should drink about 75 ounces of water per day).
- Other factors can influence our need for additional water intake during the day (exercise, climate and altitude, illness, pregnancy, etc.), so it is always wise to check with a medical professional if these factors exist.
- Healthy beverage choice examples:
- Water, water, water. It is the healthiest liquid we can put into our bodies, and also the least expensive – very often free!
- Herbal teas moderate amounts of coffee.
- 100% fruit and vegetable juices.
- Low-fat or non-fat milk.
- Low calorie, low sugar sports drinks.
8. Unhealthy beverage choice examples:
- Regular and diet soda and soft drinks.
- Whole milk and flavored milk.
- High sugar and high caffeine drinks.
- Flavored sugar powder drinks.
What and When to Eat
- Our optimum daily calorie intakes can vary and depend on such things as age, sex, height, weight, level of physical activity, and the desire to either lose, gain, or maintain our weight.
- It is always wise to check with a medical professional for personal guidance.
- Scientific research continues to show that eating breakfast is critical to our daily success and performance, both mentally and physically.
- Eating smaller, healthier meals and snacks throughout the day gives us the continual fuel and energy we need to successfully handle the physical, mental, and emotional challenges we face versus three large meals.
- Research shows that it takes our brains about 15 to 20 minutes to receive the signal from out stomach that we’ve eaten enough to satisfy our hunger. Therefore, eating slower by chewing our food more completely is an excellent way to avoid overeating and feeling stuffed, uncomfortable, tired and sluggish.
- No single food provides our bodies with all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs, so we need to eat a variety of foods from the different major food groups (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean protein, nuts and seeds).
- We should focus on eating fresh, non-processed and non-preserved, foods whenever possible.
- Healthy food choice examples:
- Fresh fruits (apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, kiwi, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, avocados).
- Vegetables (artichokes, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, celery).
- Whole grains (brown rice, corn, oats, wheat, high fiber low sugar cereal, pasta, wheat and whole-grain breads).
- Nuts and seeds in small amounts (almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts).
- Lean protein (beans, chicken, eggs, egg whites, fish, lean cuts of beef and pork, scallops, shrimp, soybeans).
- Oils (canola, cholesterol lowering spreads, olive).
- Dairy (low-fat and non-fat milk, low-fat and non-fat yogurt, low-fat and non-fat cheese, low-fat and no-fat cottage cheese).
9. Unhealthy food choice examples:
- White flour products (plain white bread, donuts, cakes and cookies, crackers).
- Frozen foods (TV dinners, pizza, burritos, ice cream and desert treats).
- Canned and packaged foods (quick noodle mixes, canned fruits not packed in water, canned vegetables not low in salt, soups and pastas not low in salt).
- Animal products (fatty cuts of beef and pork, bacon and sausage, whole milk, processed cold cuts and lunch meats).
- Oils (butter, lard).
- Junk foods (candy, foods with additives and preservatives, chips, fried foods).
- Health experts recommend exercising at least 3 times per week, for a minimum duration of 30 minutes.
- Exercise benefits every aspect of our lives:
- Reduces stress and improves our mood by changing the chemical levels in our brain (endorphins).
- Helps us lose or maintain our weight level.
- Builds muscle strength and size, increases our bone density, and improves our flexibility.
- Strengthens our immune system.
- Promotes our mental health (brain cell growth).
- Reduces our risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
- Helps us fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and better.
- Builds emotional health and self-confidence because we feel and look better.
- Can often be enjoyable!
3. Successfully making exercise a normal part of our lives depends on variety and consistency.
4. Doing different physical activities, with others we enjoy being with, while doing something we enjoy (listening to music, watching television, sightseeing), minimizes the possibility we’ll get bored and quit regularly exercising.
5. Exercise activity examples to get us started:
- Walking or hiking.
- Biking (stationary, road, mountain).
- Tennis, racquetball.
- Treadmill, stair master.
- Weight lifting.
6. A little caution!
- It’s always wise and recommended for us to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- It’s normal for us to experience mild soreness and stiffness after exercising, especially when doing a new activity. Stretching before and after will help minimize this.
- Overexertion can cause a heat stroke, a heart attack, and even death. We should stop exercising immediately if we feel faint, dizzy, or short of breath, and consult a medical professional.
Sleep and Rest
- Medical research shows young adults need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night and adults need 7 to 8 hours.
- Similarly to exercise, the amount of sleep and rest we get dramatically effects every area of our life.
- Positive effects of getting enough sleep and rest:
- Our physical, mental, and emotional capacities are recharged and replenished.
- We do better in school, at our job, in our relationships, and handling stress.
- We grow and develop better because hormones like HGH (human growth hormone) are released into our bodies during our sleep.
- We stay healthier because our immune system is strengthened, helping us to fight colds, flu, viruses and diseases.
- New cells and tissues are formed, while our existing ones get repaired from the stresses of normal daily living.
- Our body’s systems, muscles, and organs are given a chance to rest, repair and re-strengthen, and be prepared for the next day’s demands and requirements.
4. Negative effects of not getting enough sleep and rest:
- Research has shown we are prone to developing many types of health ailments including cancer, diabetes, viral infections, stress-related headache and heart problems.
- Our memory and mental alertness is compromised, as well as our ability to concentrate effectively for extended time periods.
- We get irritable, loosing our patience and temper quite easily.
- We tend to gain and be overweight due to the impact on certain hormones that affect our appetite and cause us to overeat.
5. Sleep Robbers:
- Caffeine – diminishes our ability to sleep deeply and soundly. headache and heart problems.
- Alcohol – causes us to sleep restlessly and for shorter periods.
- Stress – delays going to sleep and causes restlessness.
- Erratic schedules – confuses our body clock and disrupts normal sleep patterns.
- Noise, light, and extreme temperatures – confuses our body clock, preventing us from sleeping deeply. We should be sure our televisions are turned off when we sleep.
6. Take Naps:
- Naps can help ensure we get enough sleep, especially if we aren’t able to at night.
- Naps can also help reduce our stress level, improve our mood, memory and mental sharpness.
- 20 to 30 minute naps are best, as longer can lead to grogginess and disruption of our night sleep.
Alcohol, Illegal Drugs and Tobacco
- Throughout our lives, we may be encouraged to participate in the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco (smoked or chewed).
- Peer groups, family members and friends, advertisers, celebrities, can all be sources of influence – either by their words, actions, or both.
- Unfortunately, many people who choose to consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco, experience:
- Out of control and severely damaged lives.
- Life-long addiction problems.
- Losing valued relationships, job and career opportunities.
- Being put in jail or prison.
- A multitude of health problems and pre-mature death.
4. Research has shown that the earlier we begin experimenting and consuming any of these items (especially before our early 20’s), we may be more likely to:
- Develop an addiction.
- Damage the development of the specific part of our brains responsible for minimizing addition tendencies.
5. In most states it is legal to consume alcohol once we reach the age of 21, and some studies even indicate there might be health benefits for some adults who consume one to two drinks of alcohol per day. However, most health experts agree that the risks of addiction, accidents, health problems and premature death that can result from consuming alcohol make it not worth it.
6. Good news! We will never experience any of these destructive consequences by choosing not to consume these substances. If we have experimented or have become involved, then making the choice to stop (seeking professional help if needed) will prevent us from further risk of damaging and life-long consequences.
7. Substances and Effects:
Tobacco, Amphetamines (Meth), Ecstasy, Cocaine, Crack, Poppers, Anabolic Steroids
- Temporarily provides relaxation and relief from anxiety, suppresses brain activity.
- Causes insomnia, mental confusion, tremors, anxiety and irritability, decreases self-control, depth perception and sound judgment.
Pain Killers, Heroin, Opium, Pethidine, Codeine
- Reduces sensitivity to emotional reaction and pain, produces temporary calm and contentment.
- Causes flu-like symptoms, apathy, decreased appetite and poor hygiene.
Marijuana, Hash, LSD, Mushrooms
- Temporarily exaggerates sensory experiences, relaxation, encourages fantasies.
- Causes forgetfulness, confusion, depression, anxiety and irritability, disorientation and paranoia, hallucinations, and distorts depth perception.
- More than 80% of all teen pregnancies in the United States are unintentional.
- Statistics show that teen pregnancy significantly impacts the lives and futures of everyone involved – mothers, fathers, and babies alike.
- Just 33% of teen mothers complete high school and receive a diploma.
- Less than 2% of teen mothers earn a college degree by age 30.
- 80% of teen mothers cannot support themselves and end up on welfare.
- The majority of teen fathers have futures that include less education and lower incomes, as they often end up quitting school (giving up on education and career dreams) because they have to go to work to support the medical and infant care costs of their babies. The futures of men who wait until at least the age of 20 to become fathers tend to be exactly the opposite.
- Teen fathers have the legal responsibility to financially support their children until they reach age 18, whether they marry their child’s mother or not.
- Teen pregnancy is commonly associated with increased rates of alcohol, illegal drug, and tobacco use.
- Babies of teen mothers have lower birth weight, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect.
- Sons of teenage mothers are 13% more likely to end up in prison.
- Daughters of teen mothers are 22% more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
3. Good news! If we wait to get pregnant until we’ve completed our teenage years, secured a job and entered a strong relationship by marriage, and are self-supporting as a couple, then we’re far more likely to avoid becoming a part of these statistics. Abstinence is by far the most effective and safest form of preventing teen pregnancy.
4. If we do get pregnant as a teen we should seek the guidance and support of caring adults, and take steps to ensure we don’t become pregnant again until we’re out of our teens, have a job, a strong relationship by marriage, and are self-supporting as a couple.