Teen years can be some of the most formative, fun, dysfunctional, and challenging years of our lives. We face eight to nine years of growth, self-discovery, and the physical change of our bodies. On top of that, we have the pressures of high school, grades, and choosing a career or study path that will define the rest of our lives.
Here are three habits that, regardless of where you end up in life, will always be able to help you and guide you through life.
1) Prayer and Scripture Reading
It has been scientifically proven that spending time in morning meditation or journaling can help you have a calmer more productive day. What better way to do this than adding some Scripture reading and prayer time? Creating a habit of spending time with HaShem each morning can be vital during both difficult and good times in our lives. This habit teaches our hearts that HaShem comes first before our daily lives and teaches our minds to take a break and focus on other things besides the stresses we may have. Once you become an adult, this practice is harder to enact but much more rewarding for your potentially busy life. Now, while you are still young, is the time to focus on God, his word, and build a relationship with him through the trials you may face.
Psychology states that gratitude is the key to success and helps ward off anxiety and depression and helps calm most mental illnesses. Judaism offers a beautiful prayer to be said upon arising each morning: Modei Ani (“I gratefully thank you”): a prayer of gratitude. Creating a habit of gratefulness can not only help us mentally and emotionally but spiritually as well. Acknowledging the good that God put in our lives such as our families, friends, a roof over our heads, and food on our table can be a good place to start with gratitude. Sometimes even writing little sticky-note reminders of the top five things to be grateful for can help us to focus throughout our day on all the wonders HaShem provides for us.
3) Helping Others
Another essential key to living a good, godly, wholesome life is getting out there and helping others. Yeshua taught about the great mitzvah of providing for the poor and orphaned among us. Volunteering in your local community even for just two hours a week is a great way to give back, meet other people, and be an active part of the world in which we all live. Luckily, we live in a society that for the most part uplifts activism and social awareness. Some great places to volunteer are the humane society, nursing homes, hospitals, community centers, or at your local synagogue or church.