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Mental Health for the Digital Generation

Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
I'm Tanya J. Peterson, and I'm really excited to be one of the authors of the Mental Health for the Digital Generation blog. I've been writing here on HealthyPlace for seven years. I co-author the Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog, have written a bunch of articles on different topics around the website, and provide the newsletter articles. I love doing these things because mental health is so vital--mental health is life itself. Writing for Mental Health for the Digital Generation blog feels like coming home, like being where I wat to settle in, get comfortable, and have meaningful conversations. 
Annabelle Clawson
It's one of those days--the days where I can't get out of bed for fear of the day ahead, where I neglect to take my medication, where I cancel all plans and call in sick. I need something to make me feel better. Instinctively, I feel drawn to binge-watch my favorite TV show. That's the easiest way to forget my feelings, right? However, I know that I must replace my unhealthy coping skills with healthier ones.
Annabelle Clawson
When I'm having a bad mental health day, the last thing I want to do is lace up my shoes and work out. I want to stay in bed, eat cereal, and watch TV. But I've learned that regular exercise improves my mental health (and doesn't always involve putting on shoes). I've since made it a priority.
Annabelle Clawson
It's difficult to know what to do during a panic attack, especially because completing even the simplest tasks feels like my head might explode. When I have a panic attack, I feel helpless and terrified and can't focus on anything else. Learning to cope has been a messy process, but over time, I have gotten better at it. Here's what I do during a panic attack.
Annabelle Clawson
College is stressful and demanding. There's a lot to keep up with--not to mention how difficult the work is sometimes. It's normal to experience stress about schoolwork. However, college stress can have a negative impact on your mental health if you don't manage it well.
Annabelle Clawson
You might feel hesitant to talk about your mental health with others. Mental health problems are often accompanied by crippling shame that prevents you from wanting to reach out for help. Shame also lies to you, saying that you are a burden to others and that no one is as messed up as you are. But if you feel that way, it is time to start talking about your mental health.
Annabelle Clawson
Social media can negatively impact your mental health. You don't need dozens of studies to tell you that;1 you've seen it in your own life. But it can also be a force for good. You've seen that too (otherwise you wouldn't still use it). The question is: how can you find a balance? I've put together a list of Dos and Don'ts to promote a positive relationship between social media and your mental health.
Annabelle Clawson
Going down the rabbit hole of a negative thought spiral is no fun, and yet, sometimes it's so automatic that it feels like there's nothing I can do to stop it. It only takes one negative thought to blast my mind into a dark place where I feel lots of anxiety and no control. If this happens to you, too, it's not your fault--but you can learn to reframe negative thinking so these nasty thoughts taunt you less and less.
Annabelle Clawson
Perfectionism, in my opinion, creates unhappiness and is frequently misunderstood. Many people think that a perfectionist is just someone who has color-coded planners or follows all the rules. They can't observe the self-criticism and constant disappointment lurking in a perfectionist's deepest thoughts. Perfectionists make the best task-doers, but often, they are the most unhappy.
Annabelle Clawson
It's 7 A.M., my alarm goes off, and I can't get out of bed this morning. Some days, when I'm feeling really ambitious, I hit "snooze" and crawl out of my covers nine minutes later. Most days, however, I turn off the alarm and return to the safety of my slumber. When I finally wake up hours later, to afternoon sunshine forcing its way through my eyelids, I feel disoriented, disappointed, and dysfunctional. I wonder why I can't leave my bed.