At thirteen years old, Tessa Zimmerman was having a rough time, to say the least. After suffering through a series of intense panic attacks, she was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The next year, she contacted Lyme’s Disease; the treatment left her with so little energy she could barely get out of bed
She eventually finished the Lyme’s Disease treatment, but it left her looking sickly and feeling even more anxious. She realized this was no way to go through life.
“I chose not to let my diagnosis determine the rest of my life. Panic attacks or not, I was going to show the world that I was worth something and could contribute in a positive manner,” she recounts.
But having suffered with anxiety and depression for so long, how was she supposed to alleviate the anguish? What could she do to change her situation in a profound and lasting way?
Tessa began looking for tools that could help her cope. After extensive research and experiments with different methods, “I became my own guru,” she explains.
The exploration led her to discover two critical parts that were missing from her path to wellness: nutrition and fitness.
Medical experts have long preached about the benefits of both for years and the public is plenty sick of hearing about it. But what some seem to miss in all this messaging, is that taking better care of our health doesn’t just unclog arteries—it unclogs busy minds, too.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can not only ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, it may help these symptoms from coming back.
Tessa embarked on becoming a kale-loving fitness enthusiast. But in the process, she realized there was another part to the equation that required attention if she truly wanted to change her life: mindfulness.
To Tessa, “mindfulness” was more than just a new-age buzzword. It was the power-tool that helped saw through the wall of panic and anxiousness that could block out happiness in her mind. But quieting the brain is not intuitive. Tessa read how-to books and used apps like Headspace to learn how to practice breath concentration and relaxation.
As she discovered more and more tools to help stay calm in times of high stress, she realized how little teens were being taught about these practices. Between school, relationships, body issues, and life changes, adolescence can create a tsunami wave of tension and pressure. Tessa decided to launch a blog to help other teens find the peace and strength, too.
Thus was born TeenSanity, her blog dedicated to, “spreading the knowledge of health to teenagers struggling to find the answers.”
In 2012 she developed an educational model based on her discoveries. She named it ASSET: “Awareness, Self-Efficacy, Science of Happiness, Exploration, and Touch and Connection” (The acronym also spells ‘Tessa’ backwards!)
From surviving finals to repairing friendships, dealing with parents to launching a business– she found ASSET could help teens empower themselves in all aspects of life.
While Tessa has become a powerhouse business woman, she focuses on helping other teens thrive rather than making her first million and partnered with The National Student Initiative to spread the ASSET model to schools all over the nation.
Additionally, she updates her blog weekly, runs workshops, presents at business seminars, hosts a program on FTNS radio, and is contributing to the book “2 Billion Under 20”. She also writes for the women’s entrepreneurial site, “Sassy Six.” Like any good marketer, she can sum up her objective in one short statement: “I am on a mission to make healthy cool!”
Juggling so many duties could make her high school years seem like a walk in the park. While she still suffers from the occasional bout of nervousness, it doesn’t negatively impact her like it did when she was 13. Thanks to her discovery of ASSET, Tessa knows just what to do in order to stay calm and focused.
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