Jeff Yalden Electrifies Cambridge, MN By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker On Wednesday, March 22, Jeff Yalden brought his motivational and mental health expertise to Anoka Ramsey Community College in Cambridge, MN, where he spent a full day with the psychology club and the counseling department. Anoka Ramsey was a top-ten finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence through the Aspen Institute, which is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to educational and policy studies. After breakfast, Yalden spoke with college staff about a message board out in the hallway which had been seen a spike in negative feedback about emotions. “The board usually inspires kids to come check it out, and they would post questions on it, but the school was becoming concerned about their mental health and mental awareness – so they decided to take action and brought me in,” he said. The first step was mindfulness training, which began with an exercise to chart anxiety levels on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest. “For us to be healthy, I think we should be operating between two and four,” he said, adding that celebrating little victories and small accomplishments is a good way step back and provide a needed mental break. He spent some time teaching a basic meditation practice of focusing only on breath – the inhale and the exhale – for two minutes. “This slows down your brain – slows the process down,” he said. “We are concerned with how many likes we have on Instagram or who is following us on Snapchat. I think the best thing for you guys is to work hard at finding out who you are – and who you are not.” He went on to talk about his battles with mental health and depression and then shifted to mental health awareness and suicide prevention – how to look out for your friends and not being afraid to say something. “Somebody that isn’t mentally healthy is not thinking in the right frame of mind,” he said. Yalden stressed the importance of getting back “in purpose” after a setback or crisis. “When there is something not right in my life, I go right to the mirror. Take responsibility and be your best advocate.” But sometimes the first and best thing a person can do is to ask for help. “Sometimes the down periods last longer than usual. This is usually the result of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters being out-of-balance.” Two contributing factors to suicide can be dysthymia [a persistent mild depression] and adjustment disorder [usually following a stressful life event like a death of a loved one, moving, divorce, changing schools]. “If you have any of these for more than two weeks, go talk to somebody,” he said. One student told him, “My tomorrow will be better, and I will not feel down about it. I don’t let myself down because I love myself.” Impressed, Yalden built on that: “You are doing the little things every day to make tomorrow better than today – and you are making today better than yesterday.” But this requires consistency. “That’s an incredible discipline that you have to do every day. The problem is, you can’t just do it once in a while. You do it every single day and your whole life will change,” he said. To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Book Jeff now for your next event by calling 800-948-9289.
By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker After he was already booked to speak at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden got an email that there had been a student suicide on campus. “The young man was a sophomore and part of the men’s lacrosse team, and as you can imagine – this rattled the community and the school,” he said, adding that the athletic director asked Yalden if he could come in a day early to speak with the athletes, because they would be out of town competing on March 21, the day he was to speak. This would have involved changing his existing flights, resulting in additional fees that would be passed on to the school. “They said they didn’t have that in their budget, and this weighed on my heart. I told them I would come in on my dime and do it for free. I’d spend an extra day and then come back on the second night,” he said. Ultimately, the school decided to go a different route, and Yalden spoke on the day he was scheduled. “We had a great turnout. About 150 people showed up to the mental health/suicide prevention talk – and we didn’t really talk about the suicide too much, but we addressed it.” Yalden did, however, talk heavily about his three-point theory about teen suicide: 1) I am alone. 2) I am a burden and a liability to other people. 3) I have the desire for suicide. He talked about major depression, which is short but severe – causing young people to feel as if it will never end and prompt a suicide attempt. He mentioned dysthymia, which is a lower-level but constant depression that can also lead to suicide if left undiagnosed. “Suicide is the culmination of a lot of things, and one thing can be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said, and addressed the stigma attached to mental health. “None of you are laughing at me because I have glasses – and if I put my glasses on, life gets a little better. Same thing with therapy or maybe going to the doctor and taking medication. You [should] be your best advocate.” Yalden spent some time talking about cell phones and social media, and the effect these things are having on young people today, and said video will soon overtake all other types of content by 2020. Indeed, a recent Cisco study predicted that video will account for 75 percent of web traffic by 2020 [Source: Tubularinsights.com]. “That tells us that if young people are having trouble with social media today, it’s only going to get worse,” he said. Other hot topics that night were boundaries and balance. “I talked a bit about mental health, asking for help, learning how to put priorities and boundaries into their lives – learning to say know and learning to close their circle. It was a well-rounded program. To find out more about Jeff Yalden’s impactful speaking programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Jeff’s schedule fills up fast. To book him now for your event or school, call 800-948-9289.