Being angry, sad, or mad happens to each and every person. Big feelings fill our bodies and, sometimes, we don’t know how to help ourselves. Doing things that are pleasurable and make you feel good can help you relax. It is helpful to engage in these types of activities on a regular, even daily, basis. Exercise is especially important because it has been linked with the release of endorphins, which leads to feeling better and more relaxed. Check which activities you are willing to do and challenge yourself to think of others to add to this list as well. Keep this list handy as a reminder to do these activities often!

  • Lift weights
  • Go for a walk
  • Stretch your muscles
  • Ride your bike
  • Talk to a friend on the phone
  • Do yoga
  • Go outside and watch the clouds
  • Play basketball
  • Go for a ride in the carPlay with your pet
  • Play video games
  • Play a board game
  • Cook your favorite food
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Meditate
  • Learn a new skill
  • Listen to the radio
  • Clean your room
  • Write in a journal
  • Paint or draw a picture
  • Take pictures
  • Spend time with family
  • Have a dance party

Source: CBT Toolbox for Children & Adolescents by Lisa Phifer, Amanda Crowder, Tracy Elsenraat, & Robert Hull

Communication is the foundation of a good relationship. Below are some helpful tools and scenarios to practice. 

Open-ended questions: These are questions that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.” 

Affirmations: Acknowledging and validating the other person’s experience, feelings, difficulties, etc. 

Reflective Listening: Reflecting back what was said so no assumptions are made and that you understand what is being said. 

Summarize: Sum up what was talked about to ensure you didn’t miss anything and that the other person knows you were listening.

“I” statements are always a good way to begin conversations when talking through conflict or when you feel that you cannot put into words what you are feeling or need from others.

Are you really listening?

  • Grab a handful of candy, coins, anything small you can hold in your hand. 
  • Partner up. 
  • Each partner will tell a story
    • It can be anything, just make sure it’s a medium-long story. 
  • Each time your mind wanders, you must give your partner one item from your hand.

Discussion: How did it feel when the other person had to hand over an item while you were talking? 

The object of the activity is to understand how often our minds wonder when listening to others. This means that we potentially miss something important, make the other person feel that we don’t care, misunderstand and/or make assumptions. 

Let’s Mime It Out! 

  • Ask each other questions. 
  • You must mime out your answer. 
  • Keep asking clarifying questions to figure out what the answer is.

The object of the activity is to understand the importance of asking questions for clarification and active engagement in communicating. 

 Materials needed: 

  • Card stock or plain white paper 
  • Pencil 
  • Markers
  • Watercolors, colored pencils, paint, or any other medium you prefer 

Grounding Activity: 

To begin, lay down your piece of paper. Place one hand on the paper, then press your hand into the surface. Notice where on your hands you notice pressure and how the paper feels under your hands. Then, slowly open and close your fingers to feel your fingers glide over the paper. Repeat with your other hand on the paper. 

Next, trace your hands with a pencil. As you trace, notice how the pencil feels along your fingers. After you’ve traced both hands, continue to lightly press your hands into the paper. 

Notice how your hand feels connected to the surface. As you feel connected to the surface, feel your connection below your own surface. What emotion are you feeling right now in this moment? Where in your body do you feel that emotion? Can you connect this area to your hand? 

Art Activity: 

Now that you have traced your hands, begin drawing inside of the hands any way you would like showing your emotions. See the examples below. 

The example demonstrates writing feeling words in each finger to show the two sides of feelings on separate hands based on how they felt during a particular event. On one hand, it describes hopeful and excited feelings. On the other hand, it describes nervous feelings about the same event. Then you can use colors to represent those two different experiences as well. 

Feel free to use colored pencils, water color, paint, markers or any other type of art medium you prefer. Use colors that best represent how you feel. Then, share your amazing creation with someone! 

Source: Counselor Keri

Use the questions below to have a conversation about friendship with your teen. Take turns asking each other the questions so you can both share. 

  1. What does it mean to be a friend?
  2. What are the qualities of a good friend?
  3. Why is it important to have good friends?
  4. Tell about a time when a friendship didn’t work out and why.
  5. Tell about a time when you really came through for a friend. 

Follow up:

  1. What was it like sharing your experiences? How were you feeling? 
  2. What was it like hearing someone else’s experiences with friendships? How were they different than your own or the same?
  3. What did it mean to you to share your experiences, beliefs and actions? 

 Some things are in your control, meaning you can change them, while other things you cannot control. For example, you have a baseball game but it begins to rain right before – you cannot control the weather. An example of something you CAN control is how you react when you are angry, upset, or stressed. 

To see the difference between things we can control and things we cannot control, let’s create a control center. I have created a diagram of how this will look for you (see below).

  1. In the middle circle, write four things you CAN control.
  2. In the outer ring, write some things you CANNOT control.
  3. Look over the things you can control. How can you control them in a positive way? 
  4. Look over the things you can’t control. What solutions can you come up with to react in a positive way? 

Source: Thriving with ADHD Workbook for Kids by Kelli Miller 

Coping Tools – What Helps Me?

What you will need: 

Pencil or Pen
Markers, Colored Pencils, or Crayons 


*If you do not have a printer to print the picture in the download, draw the fingerprint on a piece of paper. 

Think of unique qualities and strengths about yourself. Write these qualities and strengths in the spaces of the fingerprint. You can just write one word for each quality or strength, or write the word and explain why. You can use the markers, colored pencils or crayons to make each line exactly how you want it. Feel free to color, draw, and create this fingerprint uniquely, just like you! 

Sometime’s it may be difficult to think about your own personal qualities and strengths, but I encourage you to dig deep and think about what you love about yourself, or what others have said positive about you. 

As you’re writing different qualities and strengths, think about how you’ve developed these strengths. Your hard work and growth has made you who you are today! 

Some examples of qualities and strengths: 

Caring, creative, dedicated, enthusiastic, flexible, honest, motivated, optimistic, open minded, responsible, trustworthy, team player, great communicator, leader, great at math (or any other subject), great basketball player, dancer, organized, problem solver, good listener, happy, always smiles, great planner, makes people laugh, always kind to others, etc. 

Objective and Purpose: To reteach the basic concept of mindfulness, introduce the basic concept of gratitude, and learn how to practice both concepts together in an engaging and active way. 

Mindfulness acronym: P.A.O.P. = Paying Attention on Purpose 

Gratitude acronym: G.E.T. = Give Enough Time 

We live in a fast-paced world with a lot of responsibilities. For today’s lesson, we are going to focus on how mindfulness and gratitude work together. Put on your thinking caps and let’s come up with ways how P.A.O.P. and G.E.T. can work together. You will need a blank piece of paper and something to write with. By yourself, with a friend, or family member, start by setting a timer for 10-15 minutes. Picture someone that is important to you. For the next 10-15 minutes, be creative and write or either draw a picture of that important person. Answer the following questions: What qualities/characteristics makes this person great and what have I learned from them? How can I use those skills in the future? How does your body feel after this activity? What emotions do you feel? 

Now it’s time to really flex your gratitude muscles and focus on you and all of your great qualities/characteristics. This may be more difficult for some and that’s okay. You will need another blank piece of paper and keep your writing utensil handy. For the next 10-15 minutes, be creative and write or either draw something special about you. Answer the following questions: What positive qualities/characteristics do I have? How do I use those skills currently? How can I use those skills in the future? How does your body feel after this activity? What emotions do you feel? 

Way to go! P.A.O.P. and G.E.T. really do go hand-in-hand. Stay mindful while flexing your gratitude muscles.