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Community Corner: Building a Practice of Gratitude

by Liz_ReachOut Community, Family, Friends, Health

Friends laughingPracticing Gratitude

Positive Pyschology speaks to the importance of gratitude and how crucial it is to happiness. It's something our ReachOutHere forum community practices in this thread and we thought we'd share some of the amazing things they are grateful for:

I am thankful for the person who invented ice cream and cake. I am thankful for uplifting music. I am thankful for my older sister. I am thankful for an amazing God that is a really good listener and a great advice giver. And I am thankful for my friends Erin who is AMAZING!! I wouldnt be the same without her. - Zibzib

I'm thankful that I have a sweet kitty curled up beside me right now, purring and ready for pets! - Lyn Mod

i am thankful for my amazing girlfriend, she is so amazing. i finally found something positive to love. she makes me feel happy. i am also thankful that after 6 months of treatment, im finally out, and not doing that bad. - LJS

I am thankful for family, friends, and all the support receive on this website and elsewhere. - unknownwriter101

I'm thankful of class ending early so that I get to view the wonderful sky (: - AmiableRose

I am thankful for friends, family, access to education, modern day plumbing, scientific inventions, gas efficient cars, night lights, the internet, stuffed animals, WATER (even though I hate drinking it), kindness of strangers, and frozen yogurt. - potatoproblems

Try it out. Every night before you go to bed, think of 3 things you are grateful for from that day and write them down. It's something I've done for years, and even on the crappy days, you can find a surprising amount to be grateful for.

Tell the ReachOut community what you're grateful for here, or register here to get started on your journey in the forums!



This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).  It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.  CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit:

Who is your role model?

by Liz_ReachOut Family, Friends, Relationships

Who inspires you?

One ReachOut Forum member asked, tons answered! Below, we feature a few thoughts on the qualities, lessons and impact that make for a memorable role model. In the words of Danaye, who started the discussion, "I know that everyone goes through tough times as well as good times. I know that there is someone in your life that you look up to or try."

Read some of the responses below, or add your own role model to the discussion:

Demi Lovato"I know that many people have probably said this but, my role model is hands down, Demi Lovato. She's a really inspirational person and she's been through so much and has struggled with the same things that I'm struggling with. She's recovered and she told her story, she's saved so many lives. She's inspired people t save their own lives and get help. The reason why I say she has inspired and not like helped is because one day at her concert, she said that many of her fans come up to her and tell her how she has saved their life, she then said that she didn't save their lives, she just inspired them to get help and that they saved their own life. Demi is probably one of the only reasons why I'm still alive right now, I mean yeah there are other bands that helped me but she is one of the main people that have helped me in so many ways and even though I am still struggling with self harm, she still inspires me and her music is beautiful to listen to." - Savemefrommyself

"My role model is my grandmother....she's an angel. She's the type of woman who cooks for a party on HER birthday,she's the woman who's happy to be at work with a huge smile on her face,the type of woman that says treat people with respect and reminds you to not be cruel. She has nothing but love to give and not a bad bone in her body,she has shown me to treat everyone with love and to be happy to be alive. <3" - LexusGal

Eminem"My role model is Eminem. No family members, teachers, or anyone else has taught me as much as listening to his music has. I learned that I should always be strong, no matter what happens, and that I can get through it. No matter how bad I feel, somebody is always going through worse, always feeling worse than I am. If I just do what I love doing, life will be okay. - Shayd

"One great thing about Eminem, or Marshall, is that so many people throughout his life told him he couldn't do it. He'd never amount to anything. He'd never be a good rapper. Now he is arguably one of the greatest rappers alive. I think his entire essence is sticking it to the man."  - SnowyWeather

"My role model is my mother (the old her anyway). The one that supported her kids no matter what... No matter how hard she struggled she provided a way for us to me happy and she showed us that she was trying. She taught me that I can't truly depend on anyone else in this world when something has to be done but myself. She taught me how to survive on my own with little money. Although when I was young I thought that I had to grow up to fast it was for a reason. It taught me to be strong and use my head. She made me strong:-)" - Danaye

Read the full discussion or contribute yours here »

ReachOut Tips: Overcoming Trust Issues

by RO_Meredith Family, Friends

trustissuesWhen someone breaks your trust it can take time to recover. ReachOut Intern Stephanie Castillo understands. In today's blog post, she reflects on what she learned from her experience and shares some coping strategies for moving on. Check it out and be sure to read her bio below!

It’s great to have someone you can confide in. That one person you can just open up to, be yourself around and go to for support when times are tough. But for many of us it’s not that easy. We may have been hurt or betrayed, and so we feel like closing up is the best way to protect ourselves. Although it may protect us from getting hurt, it also makes it harder for us to create honest connections with other people and build healthy relationships with them.

Trust Fail
You may relate if in the past, you had your trust broken by those closest to you like family or friends. Maybe you were lied to, taken advantaged of, or had your secrets disclosed. Maybe it made you start questioning other relationships. If those people who were supposed to be the closest to you broke your trust, who’s to say that someone else won’t do it? In order to keep from getting hurt again, you may have started closing yourself off to others. You may have started omitting certain details of your life, or hiding how you truly feel so that this information won’t be used against you.

I’ve been there, too.  And I know that building a mental wall that appears to protect you from sharing too much can feel like a natural defense. But when you completely close yourself off, it can also have negative consequences. It can lead to:

  • Stress. Constantly guarding yourself is a strenuous job!
  • Negative self-talk. When you hold all these emotions in they can become heavier and heavier. You may become sad, angry or frustrated with yourself.
  • Loneliness. You can even begin to feel more alienated by always trying to hide how you really feel.   

Risks and Rewards
When we meet new people and share a bit of ourselves we are never certain if that person is going to have good intentions. It’s a risk. But it’s a risk that may turn out to be positive so we choose to take it because the relationships and rewards we find are worth it. Taking any risk is still scary, though; so some of us may shy away, or feel the urge to build that mental wall.

It may seem scary to try to trust people, but it’s never too late to make a positive change in your life. We have to remember that just because someone else was wrong for breaking your trust, their actions have nothing to do with you. The actions of other people should not stop you from opening up and building new connections.

Learning to Cope
It’ll be challenging to open up and we may get hurt again, but building resilience is part of the process. We all have to learn to open up and it’s a skill that improves with practice. It takes time and effort to open up again so be patient with yourself. Here are some suggestions that may help you start building trust with a friend or family member:

  • Start off slow.
  • Talk about things you like and are comfortable with.
  • Find out if they have similar interests to you.
  • Try doing some activities together and just build up your comfort level.
  • Listen to what they say for clues about how much they are opening up to you.
  • When you feel comfortable start sharing some stuff about yourself and take it slow.

What are some other ways you can slowly build up your trust? Feel free to share in comments. There’s no wrong answer here. The goal is to form healthy and positive relationships. Remember that regardless of the actions of others, you choose who you want to be. Don’t let other people’s poor choices stop you from being happy, opening up and meeting some great people!

For more information, check out these fact sheets
Effective communication
More tips for communicating effectively
Meeting new people

About Stephanie

stephpicMy name is Stephanie Castillo. I’m a journalism student in my junior year in college. Although I never worked on a newspaper in high school, I always appreciated the outlet journalism had to offer.  Journalism teaches you to communicate effectively and clearly. This was something I had a lot of trouble doing when I was younger. I kept a lot of things bottled up inside and was often overwhelmed with emotion. That's also what drew me to Inspire. I'm very excited to work for an organization that helps people open up without feeling stigmatized for seeking help. I know from my experience that's one of the best ways to avoid feeling alienated. By reaching out you can build a community of people who care, support and ultimately inspire each other to grow and change. I want to encourage young people to take that step. I want to learn to listen and help foster a community that understands that the power to change comes from within. I'm excited to do that during my time at Inspire by helping develop fact sheets, work on the forums and more.


The Road to Respecting Your Parents

by RO_Meredith Family

penguin parent and chickDid you know August 1 was Respect for Parents Day? Below, our awesome summer intern Aishwarya shares the origins and reflects on the steps she took to build a mutually respectful relationship with her parents. Be sure to check out her bio at the end! 

Marilyn Dalrymple, author of It’s Tough Growing Up, founded August 1 as Respect for Parents Day in the hopes that “everyone--especially those who hold positions having power and influence over families--will pause on August first (if not every day) and consider the value parents have..." But the call for a special “holiday” also brings up a curious point: Why is it so hard to respect your parents as much as they deserve at other, undesignated times?

Placing restrictions on you may sometimes seem like your parents’ favorite pastime. It can feel like they’re always saying, “Don’t do this. Don’t do that,” or complaining about your clothes or grades in school.  Why do they feel like the need to control your entire life? It may be cliché, but it’s because they care. Well…and because they can.

One way I’ve learned to not feel frustrated by this is by putting myself in my parent’s shoes. Try it. Maybe they want you home at a certain time so they don’t have to worry about someone mugging you in the middle of the night. They probably complain about your clothes because they don’t really want you to be mistaken for a hobo when you walk down the street (even though you have tried explaining to them countless times that ripped jeans are just in right now). For them, how you perform in school lets them know how successful your future is going to be. They want you to be safe and they want to see you excel in life. See a commonality in all their actions?

Regardless, it’s still hard to understand them sometimes. It’s hard for them to understand us at times too. That’s where respect comes in, and it most definitely goes both ways. My parents were hesitant to let me drive alone. They allowed me to get  my license, but when the time came to lend me a car, they got cold feet. “We trust you, but not other drivers,” is what they frequently told me. I waited for one year before they finally let me drive again. At times, I wasn’t able to comprehend why they were doing this, but I tried understanding their side of the situation. Once I did that, I didn’t have the heart to be mad. I could tell that they cared about my well-being and they were worried I wouldn’t need them anymore if I could transport myself everywhere.

I respect my parents for caring about me and was willing to see things from their point of view. But now it was their turn. I had a talk with them and explained to them practically why I needed to be able to drive myself places. I asked them to respect me and trust me to exercise good judgment. The result? We ended up with a deeper appreciation for each other. 

Sometimes all it takes to maintaining a good relationship is to try to understand the other person’s point of view, and that is exactly what respect entails. Once we start respecting those around us, we begin to see how much they care for us. If you’ve been arguing with your parents, take the first step and try to understand where they’re coming from. You may find, surprisingly, that you agree with their decisions or you may simply come to a better understanding of them. Regardless, respect works in a way similar to love, trust, and appreciation. The more you respect someone, the more they will, in turn, respect you.

Was there a situation where you felt like you handled a situation with your parents well? Share below!

For more advice on how to communicate with you parents effectively, you can also check out these fact sheets:

Effective communication 
More tips for communicating effectively
Arguing with your parents

Photo by shutterstock. 

About Aishwarya

My name Aishwarya and I am 17 years old. I will be a senior in high school in the fall. Currently I am interning here at in San Francisco and having a wonderful time! At school I am involved with my school newspaper as well as my school's TV station. By getting involved in these organizations, I got interested in and introduced to the world of writing and journalism. I also volunteer at my local hospital where I deliver reading materials to patients. The most important thing I've learned in my life until now is to take chances and believe in yourself! I encourage you all to get involved in different projects; you never know when you could find something that interests you. The quote I live by: “I believe that everything happens for a reason...sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” -Marilyn Monroe "




Which Home for the Holidays?

by RO_Admin Family

Which home for the holidays?Today's guest post is from ReachOut Council member Chloe, who shares how she has been able to navigate the challenge of celebrating the holidays with divorced parents. Be sure to read her bio at the end of the post!

The holidays are all about spending quality time with your family and celebrating what it means to be together. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday that you celebrate, the emphasis is on family time. But what do you do if you don't have the traditional “family portrait” to spend the holidays with? What if you, like many other kids and young adults around the United States and the world, come from a divorced home? What should be a peaceful and wonderful time of get-togethers and family dinners could become quite the stressful time of year. So what DO you do if the holidays force you to make a choice?

The holidays and, in turn the holiday dilemma, works a little bit differently in my life. Although you cannot technically be “half” of a religion, I consider myself half-Jewish and half-Christian, and here's why. My father's side of the family is Jewish celebrates the Jewish holidays. My mother's side of the family is Lutheran and celebrates the Christian holidays throughout the year. My personal belief system is more spiritual than religious, but I choose to take pride in where both of my families’ heritage and therefore, celebrate Jewish and Christian holidays.

The holiday struggle between family members is not an uncommon occurrence nowadays. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and those couples with children now force their children into making one of the toughest decisions that could ever be made; the choice between parents. How does one make a choice like that? I know from experience that there can be tons of stress and anxiety involved when the holidays are approaching.

Luckily for me, my father does not celebrate Christmas so that isn't an issue. Even more fortunate in my case, my mother and father still get along quite well, so they will celebrate together if necessary. But that isn't something that happens in many divorced homes. Making decisions around this time of year when it comes to family is super stressful, but I have learned a few things to help deal with the stress if you are in a similar situation.

Talk to your parents about your concerns. Hopefully they'll listen and help you come to a thought-out and fair decision on how to spend your holidays so no one looses out.

Consider spending one holiday (like Thanksgiving) with one family and one holiday (like Christmas) with the other. You can switch off each year.

Spend the holidays with a sibling. My sister and I, who is a few years older, have also talked about celebrating the holidays with just the two of us. We're still celebrating the holidays with family, but starting a new family tradition until we have families of our own.

Don’t lose sight of what the holidays are all about -- giving, loving, and cherishing those around you. Family is family, whether they're all under the same roof or living in multiple homes. Having your parents get divorced doesn't mean that you're not a family.

Related fact sheets:

When your parents break up
Holidays with your family
Step-families or new family units

If your parents are divorced or separated, how do you deal with the holidays?

About me:

ChloeHi there! My name's Chloe and I'm originally from New York but currently living in South County,  Rhode Island. I'm a freshman psychology major and a Non-Violence and Peace Studies minor at the University of Rhode Island. Although I am studying psychology, I have a real passion for musical theatre and performing and my ultimate dream would be to perform on Broadway one day. In my spare time, I like to read, sing, dance, shop, hang out with my friends, and have a good time. I am so excited to be a part of the Youth Council and happy to have the chance to get involved in helping out others!

Photo by John 'K'


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