Be Positive! An Activity Book for young people who want to feel more self-confident.

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After a busy week in the clinic, I like to reflect on what I’ve achieved, what went well, and what didn’t go so well. Reflection can be an invaluable tool for everyone, to develop a better insight to how we can keep being our amazing selves, and to become even better! While it’s great to think about what we could be doing to improve ourselves to an extent, over-reflection can lead to feelings of self-doubt and self-critique for some, especially those with low self-esteem and confidence.

Teenagers are in a life stage where they are learning to reflect, and with a constant input of messages from the media and peers, there’s often a lot of pressure for them to be successful, popular, or perfect. It can be easy to forget that social media is only showing other people’s highlights reel – people don’t often share when they’re having a bad day, feeling low, or feeling overwhelmed by school or work. With all this pressure, teenagers may develop a self-critical ‘inner voice’ which can impact on their self-esteem, confidence, body image, and world view. 

Dr. Sharie Coombes’ new activity workbook, ‘Be Positive’ is designed especially for young people who want to feel more self-confident. What I especially love about the book is that although the focus is on positive thinking, it emphasises that negative thoughts are normal and okay to have. 

The book, which is very in touch with current issues faced by teens, centres on activities designed to encourage in-depth reflection on a range of issues such as body image, making mistakes, guilt, and relationships. 

Here are some of my favourite activities from the book, which you can try at home with your teen:

  • Think about a negative experience and create a body map to show where you notice negative feelings (e.g. fluttery stomach, tingly hands…). Then do the same but thinking of how it feels to be proud of yourself/ positive. Notice where feelings are felt in the body. 
  • Make rewards for yourself for each of your special strengths, or qualities you are proud of. Have an imaginary awards ceremony. 
  • Fill a jar with positive messages to look at when feeling low in confidence for an extra boost.
  • Think about how you would like to be treated by others and find ways that you can set this boundary by communicating your needs to them. 

In a time where one in ten teenagers are experiencing a mental health problem, with anxiety the most prevalent, opportunities to develop the skills needed to reflect positively on strengths and values are so important. If your teen is struggling with poor self-esteem, body image or confidence, Occupational Therapy could help them to develop the skills to become more self-confident. 


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About the Author

Joanne Harries

Joanne Harries

Clinic Manager

Joanne is a friendly, positive, and outgoing Highly Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist & Sensory Integration Practitioner, with a real passion and drive for supporting children, young people and their families with everyday activities and challenges. Joanne Works in a professional manner at all times and it is her aim to make a difference to the lives of the individuals and families she supports.

Joanne has previously supported and help to set up Occupational Therapy services to; a children’s therapy company, secure setting for adults with complex needs, and specialist schools for Autism. Joanne’s experience of various diagnoses and working within teams of professionals also extends to complex behavioural difficulties.

Joanne has extensive experience of assessment and report writing, with a particular interest in assisting individuals, families, and Solicitors with SEN Tribunals. Joanne is available to provide assessment, consultancy and training to families, schools, Solicitors and parent support groups, remotely, in the South Wales clinic, across the UK and Internationally.

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