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In The Resilient Teen, psychologist, teen expert, and trauma specialist Sheela Raja offers ten skills grounded in key principles from psychology and neuroscience that can help manage difficult emotions, recover from difficult situations, and cultivate a sense of joy—even in the face of setbacks and modern-day stressors.
Teens need real tools to help cope with all of life’s challenges—from small stressors like homework, social media, and dating to serious trauma resulting from bullying, school shootings, violence, and now—pandemics.
The key to dealing with all of these difficult events is resilience—the ability to recover from setbacks or trauma, and forge ahead with emotional strength. The best thing about resilience is that it can be learned. This book will help teens learn how to be resilient, so they can weather life’s storms and reach their goals.
Teens will learn essential strategies for self-care, how to establish a healthy lifestyle, and how to set limits on technology. They will also discover how mindfulness can help them deal with stress and challenging emotions in the moment, tips for building better relationships with family and friends, and tools for dealing with disappointment.
Most importantly, this book will show how to increase their own sense of joy, purpose, and meaning—even when things seem less than awesome.
“A primer on fostering adaptability in the face of stress. As stated in the introduction, resilience is not a fixed end goal but a way of approaching life. The author divides the book into four parts, focusing on key skills for each…. Each chapter includes dictionary definitions of key terms, stories about teens dealing with different types of obstacles, and specific exercises and checklists, ending with a summary of material covered. The author’s voice is practical and realistic, providing encouraging explanations and suggestions; a recurring message is to be kind to oneself. The information provided is well researched and up to date, including the acknowledgement of teens’ struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic. A welcome section addresses the impact of societal prejudice. Belongs on every young adult’s bookshelf.”
“Sheela Raja writes with brilliant simplicity. The Resilient Teen is relatable and provides the reader with practical, manageable, and realistic steps. Raja joins with the reader in ways that promote individual hope and universal compassion. The message is loud and clear: being resilient is possible and The Resilient Teen lets us know how.”
—Susan A. Green, LCSW, clinical professor, and codirector of The Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work
“Using research and engaging stories, The Resilient Teen offers relevant, straightforward information about physical and emotional health. It provides practical guidance for managing sleep, stress, and difficult emotions, and tips for developing mindfulness, healthy habits, and social connections. The chapter on cognitive flexibility and realistic optimism, skills that can help transform difficult situations and lead to growth after hardship, make this book especially valuable and timely (for both adults and teens).”
—Brigid McCaw, MD, MS, MPH, clinical advisor for California Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Aware Initiative, and medical director (retired) at Kaiser Permanente Family Violence Prevention Program
“Sheela Raja has crafted a timely, practical, and substantive resource—not only for teens who are experiencing distress and adversity, but also for those who are seeking emotional well-being skills. It is developmentally appropriate, accessible, engaging, and beautifully written. Parents and professionals looking for an exceptional resource to promote resilience and adaptive functioning in teens will be thrilled with Raja’s latest offering—arguably her best book to date.”
—Matt Gray, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Wyoming, trained at the National Center for PTSD, specializing in trauma
“This book is a gift to youth and for youth during a precarious time. When thoughts, emotions, and body sensations are in flux, a compassionate and stabilizing voice can ring like a bell of clarity to reach and heal the hurt. Speaking directly to teens and young adults, Raja provides practical skills to navigate the world, build resilience, and grow to lead a meaningful life. A pragmatic and insightful read!”
—Roxana Cruz, MD, FACP, director of medical and clinical affairs at the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, working with underserved and vulnerable populations
“If you’re a teenager facing challenges of any kind, do a kind thing for yourself and download this book. Raja guides you toward bouncing back by asking gentle yet thought-provoking questions. The great mix of stories, science, and bite-sized, actionable steps makes it a nourishing read. But, as a longtime college counselor, I love that while you learn more about becoming resilient, you’ll also learn more about yourself.”
—Arun Poonusamy, chief academic officer of Collegewise, and host of the Get Wise podcast
“Sheela Raja has written an important book that helps teens develop critical skills toward holistic emotional wellness. Raja offers clear definitions, relatable examples, and practical advice and strategies. Psychotherapists, youth workers, and teachers can use this as a guide in their work with individual teens and groups. I can see parents and teens using this book to foster rich mealtime dialogue while learning together.”
—Cynthia Lubin Langtiw, PsyD, professor in the clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago Campus
“Today’s teens need resilience now more than ever. As everyone is grappling with questions about social justice and issues of public health, once again, Raja creates a clear, compassionate, and actionable plan for the adolescent. The Resilient Teen is filled with practical tips and tools to which teenagers will readily be able to relate. By normalizing the existence of stressors for everyone, Raja promotes thoughtful ideas for improved well-being and enhanced resilience. So logical and empathetic in her approach, Raja again demonstrates why she is a leader in the field of teen trauma and resilience. These will be valuable life lessons for the reader to take into adulthood!”
—Shairi R. Turner, MD, MPH, chief transformation officer at Crisis Text Line; and CEO of Shairi Turner MD Coaching and Consulting, LLC