Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash
Being a teenager in the 21st century isn’t easy. Now more than ever, our teens are being devoured by stress. They are combating numerous images on social media and uncontrollable feelings while still seeking an authentic self. They are too old to be a child and too young to be an adult. And sadly, many are also silently struggling with anxiety and depression.
But that ends now! Mindfulness is powerful tool that can help your teen cope with life’s challenges, stressors, and mental health concerns. Mindfulness can help your teen to be more present in the moment, increase self-acceptance, be less judgmental and feel less overwhelmed. The following mindfulness tips can help teens gain control over their thoughts and overcome stress.
1. Breathing Anxiety Out
As humans, we breathe all the time, but did you know teens could optimize emotional health with each breath? Most of the time, we are not aware of our breathing because it is an innate skill essential to our survival. But, you'll be surprised to know that there is a link between our breathing and our emotions.
Studies show emotions can be controlled through focused breathing. Focused breathing is manipulating your breathing through various techniques and exercises, for example, 2+4 breathing.
· Comfortably sit with both feet firmly on the ground.
· Place both hands on your diaphragm or on your thighs with your palms faced up.
· Slowly inhale for two counts as you watch your belly inflate.
· Hold your breath for two counts.
· Steadily exhale for four counts as you watch your belly deflate.
· Hold your breath once again for two counts.
· Repeat exercise at least ten times.
Research demonstrates that focused breathing not only lessens test anxiety but also increases test scores. Unpleasant (negative) emotions leave no room for concentration. Fortunately, mindful breathing can help stressed teens calm down and also improve their focus which can help improve their grades. It seems like breathing does way more than keeping us alive!
2. Meditating Anywhere, Anytime
Introduce your teen to meditation and emphasize that it is solely reconnecting one's mind, body, and soul. Eliminate the notion that a successful meditation must be in a specific time or place.
Studies show suicide rates progressively increasing in adolescents as they seek to escape their problems through drugs and self-harm due to a lack of coping skills. Daily meditation sessions will help anxious teens find the inner peace they seek.
Help teens understand meditation can happen anywhere and at any time, even under the covers of their beds or in a cold seat in homeroom right before an exam. Closing their eyes and being mindful of their bodies with focused breathing will bring mental, emotional, and physical tranquility. A simple meditation that can be utilized anywhere and anytime can be accessed through simply visualizing the ocean, imagine each breath rises as the waves rise and exhales as the wave crashes on the beach. The meditation can be enhanced by imagining warmth of the sand on their feet and the sun warming their body causing the whole body to feel relaxed and at ease. This simple meditation can calm the mood within a few moments.
3. Self-care Regularly
Social media may have its benefits, but it also exposes adolescents to cyber-bullying and depression. Studies show that social media harms self-esteem. Teens are often comparing their lives to those they follow on social media and become unsatisfied with themselves.
Practicing self-care will help stressed teens nurture themselves. It can be catching up on sleep, finishing up a painting, or something as simple as taking an aromatic bath. It is important that teens learn to take a moment to free their minds of societal expectations and focus on what matters — their well-being.
4. Journal Away
Negative thoughts love to spiral inside the minds of teenagers. Sadly, many also grow roots and torment them forever. But having a journal to write down their deepest thoughts and fears will help anxious teens confront their fears.
Certain things are too hard to say out loud but writing them down still serves as a form of release. Journaling is therapeutic and is a healthy way for our teens to express themselves free of judgment. It allows them to let go of mental tension and also provides clarity to their issues.
As they grow more mindful, they will be proud to reflect on all the progress they've made. However, let's not go snooping around reading journals—privacy, please!
5. Positive Affirmation
Positive phrases directly challenge negative thoughts. Having teens repeat, "I am strong and confident." to themselves may seem ridiculous at first, but soon it will begin to encourage positive changes in their lives because they will start believing it.
Positive affirmations can help motivate teens to accomplish their goals and to hold themselves to their goals. Learning to utilize positive affirmations can help teens see their strengths which can boost their ability to better adapt to stressful situations. This simple practice can help increase self-esteem.
A united mind, body, and soul is the answer to fight off stress. Let's help stressed teens achieve mindfulness through these simple five tips so they can enjoy their youth!