Being a teen can be very stressful. Parents and adults often don’t recognize the emotional and mental challenges teenagers face on a daily basis. From trauma, bullying, expectations, responsibilities, they have to deal with a lot of stuff from all sides. To top it all, they are not quite as adults yet and hence have not learned how to properly manage stress, negative emotions, high pressure situations & responsibilities.
Teenagers face a lot of issues in general like:
- Feel threatened all the time
- Disillusioned with life
- Scattered all over the place
- Anxious about the future
Specially these days the teenagers are having to deal with a whole lot of issues like-
- Stress over the exams
- Anxiety over not going to school/college
- Anxious to meet their friends
- Unhappy about not going out with friends
Mindfulness is a powerful way to handle stress. It is all about living fully in the present moment, without judgment, and with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. It’s about breathing and noticing what’s happening at the moment right now and sending a gentle smile to whatever you’re experiencing in this moment and then letting it go. By doing mindfulness you live much more in the NOW. It’s just a different approach to life. It gives us resilience to rise above those challenges and live life more fully. It’s a particular type of meditation where we bring our awareness to the present moment and we can let go off the past and let go off the future and live life more joyfully. It can be practiced by anyone no matter what your religion, age, and background.
Mindfulness is a great tool for the teenagers to help them deal with their stress. Each one of them is so busy all the time, trying to work towards their goals that they forget to practice it. It involves just taking out a moment to look at their life without any expectations. Taking time out for themselves rather than getting carried away in their daily activities. They don’t have to wait till they have time to do like a formal sitting meditation. They can bring that same mindful awareness to any activity that they are doing in their daily lives. So, walking can be a meditation. Eating their lunch, brushing their teeth, being creative- painting, writing, or playing music can get them deeply in touch with their present moment. Mindfulness is available ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. It’s a tool or skill that they can use for the rest of their lives. It’s easy to do just daily exercises. It keeps you calm and present and that is healthy for everybody. They have to go over it in their mind slowly instead of wanting to do it quickly and as fast as they can. They need to look at life from a more positive perspective.
Some mindfulness activities for teenagers:
- Morning breathing exercises: Spend 5 minutes every morning & evening in a quiet place and focus on your breathing. This helps to centre your thoughts and calm you down
- Grown up colouring books: These have intricate patterns which requires high level of focus without being stressful. Adding colour to the designs is a soothing activity and encourages teens to finish the activities they start and concentrate on tasks
- Awareness & gratitude: Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. Now move your focus to different feelings and sounds and experience them without reacting
- Connect with nature: Take a 10-minute nature walk to breathe in the fresh air and experience the outdoors and take in the environment with your senses
- Practice yoga: Spend 10 minutes to practice simple yoga postures
- Recite positive affirmations: Positive self-talk is not only uplifting but it also provides a sense of calm when students read their positive affirmations to themselves
- Listen to music: Play your choice of music and relax while listening to it mindfully
Not only teenagers but we can all benefit from these mindfulness practices. As long as it’s something positive and something we love to do. It could be the perfect way to build a mindfulness practice that can work for everyone.