Why Risk-Taking May Increase Teen Happiness

One of the first things you might associate with teenagers is their risk-taking behavior. And most of the time, those associations are negative. Right?

That’s because we are deluged with stories of troubled youth whose risk-taking actions got out of hand —sometimes with tragic results. But what if there was a flip-side to youth risk-taking? A side that would make us encourage teenagers to stretch their comfort zones?

In a recent article, What Happy People Do Differently, positive psychologists, Robert Biswas-Diener and Todd Kashdan, claim that truly happy people understand “happiness is not just about doing things that you like. It also requires growth and adventuring beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.”

“Curiosity,” they say, “is largely about exploration…the most direct route to becoming stronger and wiser.” A study led by Kashdan and psychologist Michael Steger found that “curious people invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks.”

Teens Find Identity through Discomfort

Written by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, a developmental psychologist and founder of Roots of Action. I’m also a mother, stepmother, and grandmother with a passion for helping adults nurture young people who care about others, contribute to the social good, and act to improve the planet.

Roots of Action is designed to offer a blend of stories and insights drawn from theory and research in many fields, including child and adolescent development, education, positive psychology, and neurobiology. These fields offer the historical roots that help young people develop an internal compass with eight core abilities: Resilience, Learning, Social Skills, Caring, Self-Awareness, Creativity, Strategy, and Character.

If you are a professional in one of the fields mentioned above and would like to submit a guest article, please contact us. You can learn more about Youth In Transition on our webpage yitfredericton.ca.

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