TEEN BREATHE ISSUE 39

In this issue: Letting go when it’s a no • Heads up • Working with words • Awkward! • Every picture • Spot the sparks • What’s the backstory? • Nice or too nice? • Search for the hero

Human behaviour is complicated. Friendships can be as challenging to navigate as the most mind-bending maze and, sometimes, even your own decisions might seem like riddles that you can’t solve. Perhaps you’ve done something without having a clue why, for example, or behaved in a way you regret.

People act as they do for all kinds of reasons, which aren’t always obvious. But exploring the factors behind your actions – and those of friends and family – can help you build a better understanding of how people work.

Learning about how thoughts are processed is a great place to start. Many of the ways people interact with the world, including how they assess risk and relate to others, are determined by instinctive responses in the brain. Younger people tend to focus more on reward-seeking than on planning, for example, because of the different rates at which parts of the brain develop.

That’s not to say it’s all about what’s going on in your head, though. Past experiences – from events in early childhood to missing the bus that morning – also have a big impact on the way people act.

So, if someone snaps at you or hurts your feelings, remember that for every instance of confusing conduct, there’s a set of circumstances that help explain it. And next time you behave in a way you wish you hadn’t, go easy on yourself – you’re only human, after all.

Cover Illustration by Sanno Singh