A psychologically healthy person is involved in their community as well as the world around them. Our cultural landscape is overflowing with information and distractions. At face value, many of these distractions seem harmless. But the cumulative effect can cause people to be deeply dissatisfied.
Especially young people.
Teenagers are in the midst of transitioning between childhood and adulthood – trying to make sense of the world beyond their home while simultaneously building their budding identity.
Today, adolescents face unprecedented pressures. They have to grow up fast and are not always psychologically prepared to handle the pace and the pressure. When this happens it can lead to a number of mental health issues – such as depression and anxiety.
Teenagers with strong behavioral health are capable of handling this transition into adulthood with minimal difficulty. On the other hand, teenagers prone to depression and other mental health issues often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Generally speaking, this well-worn path leads to experimentation with drugs and alcohol.
Now more than ever it is critical to teach adolescents to value themselves. By understanding their inherent value, they will better be able to see how they can add value to their surroundings.
A great way to build value and self-esteem is through involvement with extracurricular activities.
Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
The benefits of extracurricular activities can improve an adolescent’s quality of life in several ways. They provide opportunities for community involvement, as well as a platform for developing strong behavioral health skills.
Before discussing the benefits of extracurricular activities, let’s define what we’re talking about.
Definition of Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are activities that a student engages in that fall outside the bounds of school-required curriculum. Extracurricular activities require a consistent time commitment and an element of organization.
The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
After school activities for teens can include joining a sports team, playing a musical instrument in band or orchestra, being a Science Olympiad, or getting involved with student government. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Talk to your child’s school to discover what programs are offered.
Activities for teens are beneficial in building self-esteem and self-worth. Involvement with other adolescents teaches the value in working towards a common goal. This develops strong behavioral health.
The importance of extracurricular activities is that they play a vital role in the physical and emotional development of young people. It provides them with an opportunity to embrace a community, organization, skill development, and time management.
A full schedule demands responsibility and time management. It also drastically reduces the probability of mental health issues and substance use disorders.
8 Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
1. Better Grades
One might think that getting involved in extracurricular activities could distract from homework. This is not the case. Extracurricular activities promote passion and excitement – qualities proven to improve brain functionality. They also require effective time management. Developing the ability to prioritize opposing responsibilities at an early age will yield fruit for a lifetime.
2. Skill Development
After school activities for teens will expose them to new skills and an expanded worldview. Growth is the cornerstone of personal development.
Learning a musical instrument is one of the few activities that engages both sides of the brain. It is simultaneously creative and analytical. On the other hand, organized sports teach adolescents how to apply physical and mental energy in conjunction with strategy.
Both activities promote practice, discipline, organization, and teamwork. These skills will prove useful throughout life.
3. Increased Self-Esteem
Self-esteem and self-worth are achieved through success. Extracurricular activities provide many challenges and opportunities for success. They can also teach teens how to learn from failure.
One of the greatest benefits of extracurricular activities is that they offer a chance to develop and master skills in a fun and relaxed environment. Skill development leads to confidence, which in turn leads to a higher self-esteem.
4. Improved Social Skills
Making friends can be difficult for some adolescents. Extracurricular activities allow teens to be surrounded by individuals who have shared interests and experiences. Being in this type of situation on a regular basis will teach them how to relate to others by working together towards a common goal.
One way or another, teenagers will find friends to spend time with. If they are prone to anxiety and depression, the people they relate to may prove to be a negative influence. Extracurricular activities are a positive and productive way for young people to stay out of the wrong crowd, which can lead to risky behaviors.
5. Change of Pace & Diversity
School is important. So is doing homework and performing well on tests. But it’s equally important for adolescents to learn about balance and structure in the activities that they enjoy.
Being involved in music, academic clubs, or sports teaches teens valuable life skills in an environment outside of the classroom. It also teaches them how to work with others that may come from different backgrounds.
It’s probably safe to assume that there is more value in the lessons learned outside of the classroom. Not to minimize the importance of a structured learning environment. The two modes of learning should work in concert with one another.
6. Looks Good on Resumes
Many adolescents apply for summer jobs or work part-time during the school year. Participating in extracurricular activities looks good on a resume will give them an advantage over other applicants. Potential employers want to know that applicants can multitask and deliver results.
7. Looks Good on College Applications
Colleges get a lot of applications. Being able to impress them with extracurricular activities can be a huge advantage during the application process. Institutions of higher learning want to enroll students who have proven that they can handle the various challenges and demands that higher education presents.
For this reason, applicants who have participated in extracurricular activities can show admissions offices that they can effectively manage time and involvement.
8. Healthy & Productive
One of the greatest benefits of extracurricular activities is that they promote mental, emotional, and physical health. They require adolescents to use strategy, manage time effectively, cooperate with others, develop new skills, be social, etc. The list goes on.
By engaging in after school activities, teens learn how to be productive members of society. This establishes self-esteem, self-worth, and allows them to see their potential. Adolescents who don’t participate in extracurricular activities are far more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.
Strong Behavioral Health
Behavioral health is a blanket term that refers to overall well being. That is to say, people who exhibit strong behavioral health take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. They are also far less likely to have a mental health disorder or a substance use problem.
Strong behavioral health is a matter of making better choices. Adolescents can learn the value of good decision making through involvement in extracurricular activities. Healthy behaviors lead to wellness and lifestyle management.
What does it mean to be mentally healthy?
Being mentally healthy means that you have positive outlets for handling your feelings and emotions. It also means fulfillment in life, work, and relationships.
It is important to keep in mind that being mentally healthy does not mean that you won’t experience ups and downs. People with strong behavioral health still feel anxious and depressed. The difference is that they don’t allow their feelings to define them. Through a healthy detachment from their feelings, they are able to accept reality as it is.
Extracurricular activities help foster community and self-awareness, giving teens a healthy means of defining their budding identities in positive and proactive ways.
Family First Adolescent Services
If you are the parent of an adolescent boy who has gotten too far off the tracks, Family First Adolescent Services can help. Sometimes enlisting the help of trained professionals is the only way to course correct. We specialize in treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as substance use disorders related to the use of drugs and alcohol.
We understand how important education is to the development of young minds. Our programs place the utmost importance on teaching adolescent males how to live a healthy life while taking care of business. School is priority here. We also understand the importance of family dynamics. Our Family Programming focuses on healing the entire family from within. We’re passionate about changing lives.
See what some of our past clients have said about Family First Adolescent Services.
Residential Treatment Center for Teenage Boys
Family First Adolescent Services is one of the premier adolescent mental health facilities in the United States. Located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, our specialized residential treatment program for troubled teens focuses on treating mental health issues and substance use disorders in adolescent boys.
The adolescent mental health treatment programs at Family First are primarily focused on building healthy family dynamics. We believe that substance use, addiction, and mental health issues are a family disease.
Adolescent problems are nothing new, but understanding the nature of these problems can help. The only effective way to treat them is to uncover the root of the problem. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are often the source of mental health disorders and substance use.
At Family First Adolescent Services, our job is to uncover and address underlying issues, and educate your son and your family so that everyone involved can grow beyond the problems. We teach adolescents how to treat anxiety without drugs or alcohol.
Mental health problems should be handled by a qualified mental health professional. If your adolescent child is struggling with mental health issues or a substance use disorder, contact Family First Adolescent Services today. Our caring and compassionate staff will find the best solution that suits your son and your family.