Girl Power in Positive Thinking!

Hey, girl, you’ve got the power! Think you’re in a situation that’s completely hopeless? Perish the thought ... and rethink it. Here’s how.

Toxic Thought: “I’m flunking this class! I’m so stupid -- I’ll never make it out of middle school.”

Positive Thought: “I will improve this grade! I’m going to pass this class and I’m determined to focus on that goal.”

Think negative, and guess what -- that’s what you’re gonna get. Negative self-talk depletes you of the energy and motivation needed to do well. Certainly you can improve your grade to some degree from where it is now! So set a short-term goal, and once you’ve reached that, set another. Do what it takes: Get a study buddy, see your teacher after class, and talk to your parents about tutoring. Each time you get a better score on a paper or test, it’ll boost your confidence. And before you know it, you may even see an A!

Toxic Thought: “My BFF and I had a huge fight, and we’ll probably never speak to each other again!”

Positive Thought: “Friends do not always agree, and that’s OK. I love my BFF no matter what, so I’ll just give this time to cool off.”

You and your BFF had a spat? It’s not the end of the universe. Promise! Give each other some space to let the emotions wind down. Once you’re feeling in a positive frame of mind, approach her with an upbeat attitude. If it’s an issue that can be let go, well, let it go. There’s no purpose in dredging up past stuff. If it’s something that needs to be resolved, work toward a lighthearted compromise. Each of you could write down three perceived solutions, and then share them with each other to see what will work best for both of you. Maybe you can combine one of her solutions with yours, turning a conflict into a moment of cooperation!

Toxic Thought: “I hate my parents’ rules! They are so unfair. I swear they are trying to make my life miserable.”

Positive Thought: “I really think my parents are too strict, but I know they’re doing what they think is best for me.”

You can’t change anything until you first accept it the way it is. Instead of battling with your parents about their rules, show them that you respect their boundaries. If you really want to, say, negotiate a later curfew, approach them with maturity. You could ask for an extra half hour on a specific night. But check yourself before you do: Having a spaz attack will get you nowhere, while reasoning with them and showing that you have self-control just might do the trick. If not, give it a few weeks and try again. Good luck, positive thinker!

Quiz: Are You Being Your Best You?

Nobody’s perfect. In fact, you’re fine exactly the way you are! But everybody has room for improvement -- it’s a never-ending journey. Take this quiz to find out if you’re giving it your all ... or not so much.

How to Be Popular

Every girl wants to be popular, right? You want to be liked by as many people as possible. But popularity is about being fantastic, not plastic! Here, we lay down the myths and truths about popularity so it all makes way more sense.

Myth: Popularity is about looking a certain way.
Truth: Be active!

Being popular is not about how you look, what you wear or which handbag you carry. If you want to get to know a lot of kids who are into the same things as you are, get involved in lots of activities. Join a club. Try out for a sport. Audition for the school play. If you’re hanging out in lots of different circles, you’re going to get noticed. For sure!

Myth: Being popular means acting like the cool kids.
Truth: Be yourself!

When you do start circulating, be sure you’re signing on for stuff that genuinely interests you. Don’t go out for basketball or run for class treasurer just because you want to hang with a certain group. Do it because it’s something that really gets you stoked!

Myth: Popular girls always run in exclusive cliques.
Truth: Be friendly!

OK, some girls tend to run in groups from which they exclude others. But gals like that are actually insecure and are trying to give off the illusion that they’re better than everyone else. If you want to be well-known by lots of different kids, never act like you’re too good to be seen with anyone in particular. Show that you’re open to being friends with anyone who’s nice and fun to be around.

Myth: To be popular, you have to follow the pack.
Truth: Be confident!

If you’re acting like a clone, you’re not being true to yourself. Know who you are, do what you like and develop your own personal style. Nothing makes you stand out from the crowd more than giving off a vibe that screams, “I’m unique, and I’m proud of it!” Do it fearlessly. Imagine it’s like ice-skating: When you’re afraid you may fall, you usually look klutzy. When you skate with confidence, you glide along with grace! And so it is with popularity.

Ditch the Stress!

Being stressed makes everything harder: You’re less likely to focus in class, more likely to fight with your BFF, and you might even get sick. To get your carefree self back, here are some cool ways to help you relax. Some of them might sound wacky, but they work! So get ready to try something new ... and ditch the stressed-out you.

Be a Poser

Girls who do yoga feel strong, focused and self-confident. Yoga is all about being kind to yourself. It helps you live “in the moment” instead of dwelling on yesterday (ugh, you tripped in the cafeteria) or tomorrow (big algebra test coming up). Plus, we love all those cute animal names for poses, like Camel, Monkey and Downward-facing Dog. Ready to strike a pose? Grab a DVD or search “yoga for kids” online. You’ll be stretching your way to serenity in no time.

Color Your World

Ever hear of looking at life through “rose-colored glasses”? They really exist! Some people use color therapy (treatment with tinted lenses or lights) to ward off depression. You don’t have to go that far, but remember that your environment can affect your emotions. Blue is soothing, pink is playful and yellow is energizing. So whether you’re picking an outfit or decorating your room, surround yourself with happy hues.

Clear Your Head

Smart girls like you have lots of “chatter” going on in their brains. Try meditating to calm your mind. It can be as simple as closing your eyes, breathing deeply and repeating a single word for a few minutes. (Pick a word like “happiness” and not your crush’s name so you don’t defeat the purpose!) Or lie on the floor, turn on some classical music or nature sounds, and imagine the most beautiful place you can think of.

Lighten up

Some people are extra-sensitive to the changing of the seasons, especially when it’s dark and dreary outside. If that’s you, you might need more light in your life. Be sure to spend time outside every day: Walk to school, shovel snow (your parents will love it) or ride your bike. Bonus: Aerobic exercise, whether it’s indoors or out, is a proven stress reducer!

Be Nosy

Some smells can trigger a positive response in your brain, so try aromatherapy! Scents like lavender, cinnamon and ylang-ylang could help you relax and sleep better. On the other hand, grapefruit and peppermint will wake you up. Instead of buying essential oils, which can be potent and expensive, go for scented candles and bath products. Or you can sip a cup of chamomile tea before bed. Sweet dreams!

A First Time for Everything!

Whether you’ve already gotten your period or you’re still waiting for your mom to let you shave, this is a time in your life when you’re having one first-in-a-lifetime experience after another. Hey, you’re a big girl now.

First Period
“When I got my first period, it was during a sleepover at my BFF’s house. It wasn’t a slumber party or anything, just me spending the night. But it was still so embarrassing -- I slept in one of her twin beds, and the sheets were bloodstained when I woke up in the morning. My friend was so nice about it, though. We changed the bedding, and her mom got me a pad.”  -- Geanie, 15

First Time Shaving
“When I was 9, I wasn’t allowed to shave yet. But during the summer, I really wanted my legs to be smooth. (They were very hairy.) One day, I was in the bathtub and saw my mom’s razor. I couldn’t resist. I shaved, but I didn’t cover all of my legs. The hair was in sections, so it looked like stripes. I traded my shorts for long pants until the hair grew back out so my parents wouldn’t see, even though it was, like, 100 degrees out.” -- Kelli, 14

First Kiss
“My first kiss was at summer camp with my best friend’s cute cousin. We were sitting by a campfire, and I knew he was going to kiss me. I was sooo nervous and was trembling all over. Well, I’d just had a bunch of root beer right before so when he leaned in ... I burped. Right in his face. He kissed me anyway.” -- Christine, 16

First Stick of Deodorant
“I had a crush on this boy, so one of my friends told him. He said to her, ‘Jess is nice and all, but I can’t go out with her -- she stinks.’ I was mortified! I immediately went to the store and bought some deodorant. I had no idea I had body odor. Ugh. But now I have a nice boyfriend who likes the way I smell.” -- Jessica, 12

First Bra
“I got my first bra when I was, like, 6. My favorite aunt bought it for me, but it really was just a flimsy pullover made of elastic and T-shirt material. It sort of had cups, but no hooks or wires or anything. It had a weird picture of a windmill on it, and I thought it was so cool. I just found it in my drawer the other day. That thing is dorky.” -- Ryan, 13