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Overwhelm. Stress. Fear. Anxiety. Confusion. Doubt. These big emotions are felt by every human – not just “full grown” adults. 

When a young person encounters a situation that leaves them feeling uncertain and bogged down by these emotions, their mental health might also struggle. 

How do we validate these emotions and prioritize a healthy mental status in young adults who are learning to navigate adulthood? Here are a few practical tips! 

 

  • Equip them with the resources necessary to overcome negative mindsets. 

An old phrase states that “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”. Coping mechanisms of elementary and even high school aged children are not always the most effective at preventing mental breakdowns in young adulthood. Through modeling, mentoring, and cultivating, a young adult can abandon the former automatic mechanisms of fear, anger, and frustration and adopt things like problem-solving, rational thought, and decompressing. There are so many tools available to learn and master in the art of navigating our emotions and protecting our peace of mind. 

  • Guided journaling is a successful way to teach young adults to sift through negative emotions and continue searching for positive mental health. You can find journals and templates online. 
  • Daily devotionals and inspirational reading help to combat overwhelm and depression. 
  • Outlets (hobbies) that work the body and the brain can relieve stress and pressure and help to regulate hormones. 
  • Healthy diet and regular water intake are key in fighting fatigue, exhaustion, and sadness.

 

  • Keep them in remembrance of the power of a positive word.

The words we say and the words spoken over us have a profound impact on the world around us. The constant flow of negativity or degradation from media, social media, and peer groups corrodes confidence in young adults. When confidence is thin, self-worth declines. When self-worth is in question, the mind begins to play tricks on the solidity of their identity. When identity is compromised, the very mental, emotional, and physical ground they have based their life upon begins to crumble. 

The antidote to this verbal poison is, very simply, a consistent stream of positive words. 

The greatest authority on our eternal identity is the Word of God. Search scriptures about worth and value and remind them, daily, that what God speaks over them is the most important. Give them references to look up themselves.

Speak positively and affirmingly about their future jobs, future educational goals, future relationships, future ministries, and future dreams. This method can feel exhausting because it’s more like “a penny in the jar a day” than “100 bucks all at once”. But the strength is building up, word by word, in every transaction and every conversation. 

  • Teach the “calm down, clarify, and carry on” method. 

In children, anger and frustration are often very natural responses to a breakdown in communication. “Huffing and puffing” doesn’t altogether disappear as we mature, but it does have resolve, if we learn how to follow up on our feelings. 

Telling a young adult that they’re allowed to “feel frustrated” is so vital. Then following it up with a healthy response to overcoming frustration is also so necessary. 

  • “Calming down” is something a young adult learns through modeling. They have to be shown how to de-escalate stressful situations. 
  • Clarifying requires humility in the form of trying to communicate AGAIN with a fresh and relevant perspective. Humility is also modeled for young adults. Naturally, we want to feel vindicated and “right” – even when there might be a better way. Teach young adults to word it differently, to translate based on the person they’re speaking with, and to be on a never-ending adventure to communicate more clearly!
  • Carrying on, and moving past conflict is one of the most effective ways young adults can learn to let things go. Mental loads become overwhelming when they are carrying TOO MUCH. Help them navigate their way around a “breakdown” by teaching them to offload debris and clutter along the way. 

There are no tips and tricks to being completely free of mental issues related to worry, trauma, and just hard life in general. There are only resources and tools that can help us teach others not to approach every obstacle with an aimless, violently swinging hammer. We can build or destroy our God-given minds with the tools we choose to pick up and use. 

It’s ever-so-important to teach young adults who are about to enter the big world to protect, preserve, and prioritize their GOOD mental health. It’s the basis of the way they view themselves and others in everything they attempt. Make sure they have all they need to thrive mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.