Research suggests that shifting teenagers’ perception from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset”—the idea that they are capable of developing new skills and capacities—can help them cope with social and academic stress. By adopting a growth-driven mindset that places the possibility of change at its foundation, students learn to accept difficult experiences and mature from them, instead of feeling trapped.
Here are some strategies you can use to help teens promote a healthy social mindset:
1) Positive Outlook: teach teens to see stressful situations as challenges to be met and overcome rather than problems that will last forever.
2) Add the word “yet” to the end of sentences when they find themselves ruminating on stressful social situations (“I don’t have any friends…yet”).
3) Direct evidence for growth mindset: Acknowledge examples of people and situations changing when it seemed like they never would.
4) Mindfulness exercises before heading into a potential stressful situation.