Coming up on March 2nd is a holiday known as Teenage Mental Health Day. This day serves as a good reminder of how important it is for individuals, especially teenagers, to maintain good mental health. In this day and age, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in idolizing celebrities and internet stars. The idolization of these stars can be harmless in nature. However, it often allows teenagers to feel inferior. This can only harm a teen’s mental health and is one of the leading causes of the rise in anxiety and depression in our young communities. This increase in anxiety and depression is why Teenage Mental Health Day is becoming more relevant. It is important to find methods to decrease the prominence of poor mental health in teenagers. One of the most effective methods is physical activity.
The effects of physical activity on mental health are well established in literature and research. Individuals who participate in physical activity are statistically less likely to experience poor mental health conditions. Furthermore, those who exercise more frequently are even more likely to have good mental health. With substantial research to back up these claims, the question is not whether physical activity improves mental health. Rather, the real question is how do we motivate our young population to live a non-sedentary lifestyle?
While many of the barriers to physical activity may be obvious, such as video games, movies, phones, and other sedentary activities, it is difficult for us to control these factors. Tackling such barriers will prove to be ineffective and difficult to monitor. The best way to inspire our young population to live an active lifestyle is to introduce them to different modes of exercise at a youthful age. This can be done through sports, recess, or at a gym. Enabling adolescents to find a mode of exercise that they can be passionate about will improve their likelihood of maintaining this activity. Additionally, promoting parents to also participate in regular physical activity can help inspire their children to do the same. Families whose parents participate in sports or exercise tend to pass on this active lifestyle to their children.
Poor teenage mental health is an epidemic of its own. It is almost sad that, as a society, we let this epidemic swell to its current proportion when it is clearly preventable. It is important that we give our youth all the opportunities we can to live an active lifestyle. On March 2nd, the world’s eyes will be shifted towards the mental well-being of our youth. As a teenager, you can help celebrate this day by playing basketball with a friend. As a parent, you can celebrate this day by asking your child to join you at the gym. There are many ways that you can celebrate Teenage Mental Health Day. No matter who we are, we can all do our part in improving the mental health of our up-and-coming young adults.