Solutions to Drug Abuse!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"EVERYONE takes drugs." That sweeping statement may be used to induce the naive to experiment with illicit drugs. But depending on how we define "drugs," those words contain an element of truth. The term "drug" is defined as: "Any chemical substance, whether of natural or synthetic origin, which can be used to alter perception, mood or other psychological states." That is a useful, broad description of what are called psychoactive drugs, although it does not cover many medicinal drugs used for physical ailments. According to that definition, alcohol is a drug. The danger lies in its immoderate use, which is evidently increasing. A survey of colleges and universities in a Western country found that "binge drinking is the most serious drug problem on college campuses." The survey revealed that 44 percent of students were binge drinkers.* Like alcohol, tobacco is legally available, although it contains a powerful poison, nicotine. According to the World Health Organization, smoking kills about four million people a year. Yet, tobacco barons are wealthy, honored members of society. Cigarette smoking is also highly addictive, perhaps more so than the use of many of the illegal drugs. In recent years numerous countries have curbed tobacco advertising and imposed other restrictions. Nevertheless, many people still see smoking as an acceptable social activity. Smoking continues to be glamorized by the film industry. A University of California at San Francisco survey of top money-making films between the years 1991 and 1996 found that 80 percent of the leading men portrayed characters who smoked. Young people overdrinking Binge drinking is a major problem on many college campuses What About "Safe" Drugs? Medicinal drugs have certainly benefited many, but they can be abused. Doctors may at times prescribe drugs too easily, or they are pressured by patients to prescribe drugs that are not necessary. One physician commented: "Doctors don't always take time to sit with the patient to work out the cause of his symptoms. It's easier to say, 'Take this pill.' But the primary problem is not addressed." Even nonprescription drugs, such as aspirin and paracetamol (Tylenol, Panadol), if abused can lead to serious health problems. Over 2,000 people worldwide die each year as a result of misusing paracetamol. According to our earlier definition, the caffeine in tea and coffee is also a drug, although we hardly regard it as such when drinking our favorite breakfast brew. And it would be absurd to view socially acceptable drinks like tea or coffee in the same light as hard drugs like heroin. That would be like comparing a domestic kitten to a fierce lion. Nevertheless, according to some health experts, if you habitually drink more than five cups of coffee or nine cups of tea a day, it could do you harm. Furthermore, if you were to cut a very high intake drastically, you could undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those of one tea drinker who experienced vomiting, severe headaches, and sensitivity to light. Man smoking a cigarette Many view cigarettes and "recreational" drugs as harmless What About the Illicit Use of Drugs? A more controversial issue is the use of drugs in sports. This was highlighted at the 1998 Tour de France when the nine cyclists of the top team were expelled for using performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes have devised various ways to counter drug tests. Time magazine reports that some have even gone so far as to have "'urine transplants,' meaning [that] someone else's 'clean' urine is inserted into their bladder via a catheter, an often painful procedure." We have yet to deal with the bewildering array of illicit drugs used for "recreational" purposes. These include marijuana, ecstasy (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, or MDMA), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), uppers (stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines), downers (depressants like tranquilizers), and heroin. Not to be forgotten are the various inhalants, such as glue and gasoline, that are popular among the young. Of course, these inhalants are not banned substances and are readily available. The common notion of an emaciated drug addict shooting up in a dingy room can be deceptive. Many on drugs are still able to function relatively normally in everyday life, although their addiction must affect the quality of their life to a greater or lesser degree. Nevertheless, we cannot minimize the dark side of the drug scene. One writer describes how some cocaine users "are capable of 'shooting up' dozens of times in a single session, converting their bodies into needle-pricked, bloody, and bruised messes." After an apparent decline in the late 1980's, illegal drug use is on the rise again worldwide. Newsweek magazine observed: "Authorities are overwhelmed by an onslaught of drug smuggling, a rise in drug use of almost every kind and a dearth of funds—and information—needed to fight it." The Star newspaper of Johannesburg, South Africa, stated that according to government statistics, "one in four people living in South Africa are addicted to alcohol or drugs." The UN Research Institute for Social Development pointed out that "drug producers and traffickers . . . have organized themselves on a global scale and put a significant proportion of their drug profits in financial centres offering secrecy and attractive investment returns. . . . Drug traffickers are now able to launder illicit profits by moving money around the world electronically with few national controls." It appears that many Americans may handle cocaine daily, albeit unknowingly. An article in Discover magazine explained that most American bank notes bear traces of the drug. The fact is that today the use of drugs, including illicit drugs, has become acceptable to many, viewed as a part of everyday life. Considering the widely publicized damage caused by illicit drugs as well as tobacco and alcohol, the obvious question is, Why do people abuse them? As we ponder this question, it is a good time to reflect on our own views about drugs.

Binge drinking is it really harmful?

BINGE DRINKING. Some define it as simply drinking to get drunk. A report by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism tried to be more specific. It said that binge drinking is “typically defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row for men, and four or more drinks in a row for women.” Health officials in the United States call binge drinking “a major public health problem.” According to a study of secondary-school children in England, Scotland, and Wales, “up to a quarter of 13 and 14-year-olds claimed to have ‘downed’ at least five alcoholic drinks in a single session.” About half of all 15- and 16-year-olds surveyed said they had done the same. In one U.S. study, 2 out of 5 college students had engaged in binge drinking at least once during the two weeks prior to the survey. According to the U.S. Department of Health, “about 10.4 million adolescents ages 12 to 20 reported using alcohol. Of those, 5.1 million were binge drinkers and included 2.3 million heavy drinkers who binged at least five times a month.” A study done in Australia revealed that more girls than boys in that land binge drink—consuming between 13 and 30 drinks a session! Much of this drinking takes place at the urging of other youths. Reports researcher Carol Falkowski: “New and daring drinking games flourish: group activities with the goal of drinking alcohol to intoxication. Some, for example, require all players to drink a shot of distilled spirits at a specified moment of a TV show or group conversation.” Binge Drinking—The Dangers While heavy drinking may be considered a game to some, it is a very dangerous game! Excessive amounts of alcohol deprive the brain of oxygen; vital bodily functions can begin to shut down. Symptoms may include vomiting, unconsciousness, and slow or irregular breathing. In some cases death can result. About a month after graduating from high school, 17-year-old Kim went to an “all-you-can-drink” party. Kim consumed 17 drinks before passing out. Her older sister then came and took Kim home. The next morning, Kim’s mother found her dead. Overdrinking may rarely cause death directly, but it still poses a health threat. “Alcohol can raise havoc with any organ in your body,” says mental-health expert Jerome Levin. “Alcohol’s favorite targets are the nervous system, the liver, and the heart.” Says an article in Discover magazine: “New research suggests that young drinkers are courting danger. Because their brains are still developing well into their twenties, teens who drink excessively may be destroying significant amounts of mental capacity.” Chronic alcohol consumption is also associated with increased acne, premature wrinkling of the skin, weight gain, damage to internal organs, alcohol dependency, and drug addiction. There are other dangers associated with overdrinking. If you become drunk, you may be vulnerable to mistreatment. You can become the victim of physical assault or even rape. At the same time, you might well be a danger to others, engaging in out-of-control forms of behavior that you would not even consider if sober. The Bible thus warns that if you overdrink, “your own eyes will see strange things, and your own heart will speak perverse things.” (Proverbs 23:33) Painful consequences can include ruined friendships, poor performance at school and work, a criminal record, and poverty.#—Proverbs 23:21. Binge Drinking—Tragic Statistics Young man passed out from overdrinking The following statistics reveal the sad consequences of binge drinking among college students in the United States: Death: Each year 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes Injury: 500,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured when under the influence of alcohol Assault: More than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking Sexual Abuse: More than 70,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape Source: The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism The Pressure to Drink Despite such dangers, alcohol is heavily promoted and readily available in many lands. In fact, drinking alcohol is glamorized in TV and magazine advertisements. More often, though, young people succumb to binge drinking as a result of peer pressure. In an alcohol awareness survey taken in Australia, 36 percent of the young ones questioned said that they drank primarily “to fit in at social activities.” In the chaotic atmosphere of a “beer bash,” an otherwise shy person can become the life of the party as his peers urge him to down drink after drink. Young Katie was brought home in a coma after doing so. Her “friend” had given her alcohol, saying: “Come on, Katie, you’re a big girl now. You should learn to chug it.” The desire to have a good time and to fit in with others is so powerful that despite compelling evidence that binge drinking is dangerous, it continues to be popular. What Choice Will You Make? The questions arise: What choices will you make when it comes to drinking? Will you simply follow your peers? Remember what the Bible says at Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him?” If you let your peers control your every move, you become nothing more than a slave to them. The Bible urges you to think for yourself. (Proverbs 1:4) It contains advice that can help you to avoid making serious mistakes. Consider what it has to say about alcohol. Actually, the Bible does not condemn drinking alcohol, nor is it against young people having a good time. However, it does warn against overdrinking. “Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise,” says Proverbs 20:1. Yes, alcohol can make one act in a ridiculous and loud way! True, it may momentarily bring you pleasure, but if you overindulge, it “bites just like a serpent,” leaving you with a host of physical and emotional injuries.—Proverbs 23:32. Something else to consider is that in many countries there is a minimum age for drinking alcohol. Christians obey such laws. (Titus 3:1) They are there to protect you. Finally, and most important, consider the spiritual damage over drinking can cause. Jehovah God wants you to serve him with “your whole mind”—not a mind needlessly damaged by overindulgence in alcohol! (Matthew 22:37) God’s Word condemns not only “excesses with wine” but also “drinking matches.” (1 Peter 4:3) Engaging in binge drinking is therefore counter to the will of our Creator. Such excess can prevent one from enjoying a close relationship with God. What should you do if binge drinking has caught you in its snare? Get help immediately by speaking to a parent or a mature Christian.% Go to Jehovah God in prayer and beg for his help. After all, he is “a help that is readily to be found during distresses.” (Psalm 46:1) Since binge drinking and underage drinking often result from peer pressure, you may need to make substantial changes in your choice of friends and entertainment. Making such changes will not be easy, but with Jehovah’s help you can succeed.

How you can help your children when they are in crisis

SHOCKING incidents like these are not isolated events. They cannot be brushed off as mere aberrations. “Youth violence is a major problem in our society,” says an article in Professional School Counseling. Statistics back this claim.

The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics notes that while there has been some decline in reported school violence in that country, “students ages 12-18 were victims of about 2 million nonfatal crimes of violence or theft at school in 2001.” There has also been an increase in reports of school bullying.

But not all youth violence in the United States is directed at other students. “Over the 5-year period from 1997 through 2001,” the same source reports, “teachers were victims of approximately 1.3 million nonfatal crimes at school, including 817,000 thefts and 473,000 violence crimes.” Furthermore, “9 percent of all elementary and secondary school teachers were threatened with injury by a student, and 4 percent were physically attacked by a student.”

The picture in other lands? “China arrested 69,780 juvenile delinquents in 2003,” reports one news agency, “an increase of 12.7 percent over 2002.” The news item notes that “gang crimes accounted for 70 percent of juvenile delinquency.” A report from Japan in 2003 similarly said that youths were responsible for half the crimes committed in the preceding ten years.
Drugs—An Assault on Young Bodies
A teenage boy smoking marijuana

Further evidence of trouble involves the assault that many young ones are making against their own bodies. A report by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse states that about half of all teenagers in that land have tried an illicit drug before finishing high school. The report adds: “Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers. Nearly four out of every five students (77%) have consumed alcohol (more than just a few sips) by the end of high school; and nearly half (46%) have done so by 8th grade.”
Promiscuous Sex

In this age of AIDS, promiscuous sex is unquestionably dangerous. Yet, many youths seem to view sex as little more than a harmless game. Some American youths, for example, blithely speak of “hooking up”—a harmless-sounding euphemism for casual sex. They talk about having “a friend with benefits”—a sexual partner who makes no emotional demands.

Author Scott Walter describes the orgylike parties some suburban youths throw while their parents are at work. At one such party, a young girl announced that “she was going to have sex with all the boys there. . . . Children as young as 12 were involved in the parties.”

Shocking? Not to experts who have studied teenage sexual behavior. “Over the past 20 years,” writes Dr. Andrea Pennington, “we have seen the average age for teenagers engaging in sexual activity grow younger and younger. It is no longer unusual to find boys and girls starting out as young as 12 years of age.”

Particularly distressing was a report in the newspaper USA Today: “Increasing numbers of the country’s youngest teens . . . are having oral sex. . . . Kids have convinced themselves that ‘this is not really sex.’” According to one survey of 10,000 girls, “eighty percent said they are virgins, but 25% had had oral sex. And 27% described that act as ‘something you do with a guy for fun.’”

Such views on sex have made inroads elsewhere. “Asia’s youth are becoming increasingly susceptible to HIV through heterosexual relationships with many becoming sexually active at a younger age,” reports UNESCO, adding: “Teenagers are increasingly shirking their parents’ ‘Asian values’ by having premarital sex, often with multiple partners.”

Further signs of youthful distress? Canada’s Women’s Health Weekly reports: “Twenty-five percent of females between ages 16 and 19 will experience an episode of major depression.” However, depression is an illness that afflicts both sexes. According to U.S.News & World Report, every year up to five thousand young people kill themselves. For some reason, the report notes, “boys kill themselves six times more often than do girls.”

Can families really be happy? How is it possible?

Interestingly, many believe that the family arrangement had no Originator. The Encyclopedia Americana says: "Some scholars are inclined to trace the origin of marriage to pairing arrangements of animals below man." Yet, Jesus Christ spoke of the creation of man and woman. He quoted as authority the early Bible record and said: "What God has yoked together let no man put apart."—Matthew 19:4-6. Do you know any families that are as united and happy as those seen in this tract? Families everywhere are coming apart at the seams. Divorce, lack of job security, single-parent dilemmas, frustration—all of these contribute to the crisis. An expert on family life lamented: "By now, predictions of the demise of the family are familiar to everyone." Why are families today bombarded with such serious problems? How can we enjoy family life? How the Family Originated A happy familyTo answer these questions, we need to know the origin of marriage and the family. For if these had an Originator—a Creator—family members should look to him for guidance, since he would surely know best how we can enjoy family life to the full. So Jesus Christ is right. An intelligent God created the first humans and arranged for happy family life. God brought the first couple together in marriage and said that the man "must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh." (Genesis 2:22-24) Could it be, then, that today's family problems are due to the pursuit of life-styles that violate standards set by the Creator in his Word, the Bible? Which Way to Success? Couple with a baby girlAs you are no doubt aware, the modern world promotes self-interest and self-fulfillment. "Greed is healthy," a financier told a college graduating class in the United States. "You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself." But pursuing material possessions doesn't lead to success. Materialism, in fact, is one of the greatest single threats to family life because it gets in the way of human relationships and drains people of time and money. In contrast, consider how just two Bible proverbs help us to see what is important to happiness. "Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meat where there is hate." "Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than have a banquet in a house full of trouble." Proverbs 15:17; 17:1, "Today's English Version." Powerful, aren't they? Just think how different the world would be if every family held to these priorities! The Bible also provides valuable guidance on how family members should treat one another. Consider just a few directives it gives. Husbands: 'Be loving your wife as your own body.'—Ephesians 5:28-30. Simple, but very practical! The Bible also directs a husband to 'assign his wife honor.' (1 Peter 3:7) He does this by giving her special attention, including tenderness, understanding, and reassurance. He also values her opinions and listens to her. (Compare Genesis 21:12.) Don't you agree that any family will benefit if the husband treats his wife with concern, as he himself would want to be treated?—Matthew 7:12. Wives: "Have deep respect for [your] husband."—Ephesians 5:33. A wife contributes to family happiness by assisting her husband to fulfill his heavy responsibilities. This is what was intended, since God provided a wife to be "a helper for him, as a complement of him." (Genesis 2:18) Can you appreciate the blessing to family life when a wife shows her husband respect by supporting his decisions and cooperating with him to achieve family goals? Marriage Mates: "Husbands and wives must be faithful to each other."—Hebrews 13:4, TEV. When they are, family life is certain to benefit. Adultery often devastates a family. (Proverbs 6:27-29, 32) Wisely, therefore, the Bible urges: "Be happy with your wife and find your joy with the girl you married . . . Why should you give your love to another woman?"—Proverbs 5:18-20, TEV. Parents: "Train up [your children] according to the way for [them]."—Proverbs 22:6. When parents give time and attention to children, family life is sure to improve. Thus, the Bible urges parents to teach their children right principles 'when they sit in their house and when they walk on the road and when they lie down and when they get up.' (Deuteronomy 11:19) The Bible also says parents should show they love their children by disciplining them.—Ephesians 6:4. Children: "Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord."—Ephesians 6:1. True, in this lawless world, it is not always easy to obey your parents. Yet, don't you agree that it is wise to do what the Originator of the family tells us? He knows what is best to make our family life happier. So try hard to obey your parents. Be determined to avoid the many temptations of the world to do what is bad.—Proverbs 1:10-19. To the extent that each family member applies the Bible's counsel, family life will benefit. Not only will the family enjoy a better life now but it will have the prospect of a wonderful future in the new world promised by God. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3, 4) So make it a family habit to study the Bible together! Millions of families earth wide have found the guidance provided in the book The Secret of Family Happiness to be a real benefit.


DESPITE well-known risks, people continue to abuse drugs, and such abuse continues to destroy lives. Drug abuse costs the United States an estimated 100 billion dollars a year in health care, reduced job productivity, lost earnings, and crime. But perhaps it is young ones—children—who pay the highest price. According to a Brazilian study reported on in Jornal da Tarde, 24.7 percent of youths between 10 and 17 years of age have already tried some kind of drug.

While teenage drug use in the United States may have declined somewhat in recent years, alarming numbers of young ones there are addicted. Consider seniors in high school. According to one study, 37 percent had at least tried marijuana in the previous year. One out of 5 had used it in the past month. Almost 1 out of 10 had tried the drug ecstasy in the past year. Over 6 percent had tried LSD.

"Drugs are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, spreading diseases such as AIDS, and killing our youth and our future."—KOFI ANNAN, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL
Young man using drugs

Reports from all over the world are grim. The British Office for National Statistics reports that "12 per cent of pupils aged 11-15 had used drugs in the last year . . . Cannabis [marijuana] was by far the most likely drug to have been used." Particularly alarming was the fact that "more than one third (35 per cent) had been offered one or more drugs."

A report sponsored by the European Union likewise reveals that among young people, "drinking to inebriation has become increasingly common." The report also says that such "alcohol abuse is associated with various short term adverse effects such as accidents, violence and poisoning, as well as with developmental and social problems." From Japan comes a report that "the drugs most often used by teenagers in Japan are organic solvents, which can lead to other drug use."

Little wonder, then, that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: "Drugs are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, spreading diseases such as AIDS, and killing our youth and our future." Often, people involved with drugs are responsible for crimes such as drug trafficking and drug-related homicides. In addition, because of abusing drugs, many people become victims of violence, are injured, or engage in risky, unplanned sex. And if you think that your family is immune, think again! One U.S. government report said: "Drugs are not a problem solely of the poor, minorities, or inner-city residents. . . . Drug users come from all walks of life and from all parts of the country. The drug problem affects everyone."

Yet, parents often do not sense the danger until it is too late. Consider the case of one young Brazilian girl. "She was drinking alcoholic beverages," explains her sister Regina.* "The family thought it was cute. But this led to her experimenting with drugs with her boyfriends. Since my parents always treated her as if the problems she caused were of no consequence, her condition got out of control. Several times she disappeared. And every time a young woman was found dead, the police called my father to see if she was the one! This caused my family great distress."

The World Health Organization presents five basic reasons why young ones might be drawn to drugs:

(1) They want to feel grown-up and make their own decisions

(2) They want to fit in

(3) They want to relax and feel good

(4) They want to take risks and rebel

(5) They want to satisfy their curiosity

Drug availability and peer pressure also increase the likelihood that a youth will begin this self-destructive course. "My parents never said anything about drugs. In school the teachers mentioned the problem but without going into detail," explains Luiz Antonio, a Brazilian youth. Spurred on by schoolmates, he began abusing drugs when he was 14 years old. Later, when he tried to quit, his drug-supplying "friends" pressured him at knifepoint to continue his habit!

Have you faced up to the fact that your own children could be in danger? What have you done to protect them from drug abuse? The following article will discuss some ways in which parents can protect their children.

ways can you control your emotions.

EMOTIONS are powerful. They affect the way you think and act. They can motivate you for both good and bad. At times, they may even seem to overwhelm you. “I hardly ever feel that I’m good enough,” says 20-year-old Jacob. “Often, I fail to meet my own expectations. Sometimes I just cry, or I get so angry that I take it out on those around me. It’s hard to control what I’m feeling.”
Part of becoming a mature, responsible adult, however, is learning to control one’s emotions. Some experts now feel that the ability to manage emotions and to deal with people is more valuable than intelligence. In any event, the Bible places a high value on controlling one’s feelings. For example, Proverbs 25:28 says: “If you cannot control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls, open to attack.” (Today’s English Version) What makes it so hard to control one’s feelings?
A Challenge for Youths
People of all ages and backgrounds struggle with controlling their emotions. However, the struggle can be particularly challenging during one’s transition from adolescence to adulthood. Says the book Changing Bodies, Changing Lives by Ruth Bell: “Most teenagers feel a jumble of crazy, beautiful, frightening, mixed-up emotions. A lot of people have several different feelings at the same time about the same things. . . . One minute you may feel a particular way, and then a minute later you may find yourself feeling the opposite way.”

As a young person, you are also inexperienced. (Proverbs 1:4) So, as you encounter new situations and challenges for the first time, it is only natural to feel a bit insecure and perhaps overwhelmed. Fortunately, your Creator well understands your feelings. He knows even your “disquieting thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) In his Word he has set forth some principles that can help.
A Key to Controlling Emotions

One key to controlling your emotions is learning to control your thoughts. Negative thoughts can sap you of the energy you need to take action. (Proverbs 24:10) But how can you learn to think positively and thus be helped to control your emotions?

One way is to refuse to dwell on negative things that make you feel depressed or insecure. By following the Bible advice to focus on things that are “serious” and “righteous,” you can replace negative thoughts with positive ones. (Philippians 4:8) Doing this may not be easy, but with effort it can be done.

Consider a young woman named Jasmine. “I feel so overwhelmed by all that I’m faced with,” she once lamented. “New job, new responsibilities. My emotions are spent. I find it difficult to breathe.” It is not surprising for a youth to feel that way on occasion, and it can cause one to feel insecure, unsure of oneself. The Bible tells us about a young man named Timothy, who was superbly qualified for the responsibilities he was given. Yet, it appears that he battled feelings of inadequacy.—1 Timothy 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 1:6, 7.

It may well be that you feel insecure when you are confronted with a new or unfamiliar task. ‘I’ll never be able to do this,’ you may tell yourself. But you can control such feelings of insecurity by refusing to dwell on negative thoughts. Focus on learning to do the task competently. Ask questions, and follow instructions.—Proverbs 1:5, 7.

One key to controlling your emotions is learning to control your thoughts

The more competent you become at a task, the less insecure you will feel. Do not dwell on your weaknesses, allowing them to paralyze you and prevent you from applying yourself to making improvement. One time when the apostle Paul was criticized, he replied: “Even if I am unskilled in speech, I certainly am not in knowledge.” (2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:6) Similarly, you can build your confidence by acknowledging your strengths and turning to God for help to cope with your weaknesses. God really can help you, as he did people in the past.—Exodus 4:10.

Another way you can help to control your emotions is to set modest, realistic goals and accept your limitations. Also avoid unfairly comparing yourself with others. At Galatians 6:4, the Bible gives good advice when it says: “Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”
Slowing Down Anger

Managing anger can be another difficult challenge. Like Kate, mentioned at the outset, anger prompts many young ones to say and do things that are hurtful or destructive.

Granted, it is normal to feel anger at times. But remember the first murderer, Cain. When he became “hot with great anger,” God warned him that such anger could lead to his committing serious sin. He asked Cain: “Will you, for your part, get the mastery over [sin]?” (Genesis 4:5-7) Cain failed to heed this divine advice, but with God’s help you can control your anger and avoid sinning!

Again it comes down to controlling your thoughts. At Proverbs 19:11, the Bible says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” When someone upsets you, try to understand why he or she behaved that way. Was that person deliberately trying to hurt you? Could it be that he or she was acting impulsively or out of ignorance? Making allowances for the mistakes of others reflects God’s own mercy, and it can help slow down your feelings of anger.

What, though, if anger is justified? The Scriptures say: “Be wrathful, and yet do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26) If necessary, talk the matter out with the individual. (Matthew 5:23, 24) Or perhaps the best thing to do is simply to let the matter drop—let go of the anger and move on with your life.

Interestingly, your friends can have an influence on how you deal with anger. The Bible thus directs: “Do not have companionship with anyone given to anger; and with a man having fits of rage you must not enter in, that you may not get familiar with his paths and certainly take a snare for your soul.”—Proverbs 22:24, 25.

Being around people who make an effort to control their anger can help you to develop self-control yourself. The Christian congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are full of such mature individuals, many of whom are older and more experienced than you. Get to know some of them. Watch how they cope with problems. They may also be able to give you “skillful direction” when you face difficulties. (Proverbs 24:6) Jacob, quoted earlier, relates: “A mature friend who can remind me of God’s Word is priceless. When I remember that Jehovah loves me despite my insecurities, I’m able to feel in control and remain calm.”
Other Practical Steps

A popular exercise book says: “Countless studies have proven that how you move your body influences your mood through your biochemistry. Hormone and oxygen levels all change with the kind of movements you make.” There is no question about it, physical exercise is beneficial. The Bible tells us: “Physical exercise has some value.” (1 Timothy 4:8, Today’s English Version) Why not establish a modest routine of regular exercise? It can have a good effect on the way you feel. Maintaining a healthful diet can likewise bring benefits.

Consider, too, your choices of music and entertainment. A study published in The Harvard Mental Health Letter said: “Viewing violence . . . tends to stir angry and aggressive feelings. . . . People watching violent films thought more aggressive thoughts and showed a rise in blood pressure.” So make wise decisions when it comes to what you listen to and watch.—Psalm 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Ultimately, the best way to learn to control your emotions is to develop a close friendship with your Creator. He invites each of us to speak to him in prayer, to pour out our feelings and emotions. “Do not be anxious over anything,” encouraged the apostle Paul. “Let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers.” Yes, you can develop the inner strength to face any situation in life. The apostle Paul added: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”—Philippians 4:6, 7, 13.

Young Jessy says: “I’ve learned to pray, pray, and pray. Knowing Jehovah cares helps me to feel calm and more in control of my emotions.” With God’s help, you too can learn to control your emotions.

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