Why is mindfulness for your teen important?
Teens are so busy these days with sports, academics, socializing, preparation for college, and more. And because they are so busy, it’s a perfect time in their lives to invest in self-care habits. One way of practicing self-care is through learning relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness for your teen. When teens enter college and adulthood, they’ll never forget the mindfulness techniques they developed as adolescents.
Mindfulness is an awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings as well as one’s surroundings using the senses. This is done in a non-judgemental way to create space and margin in thought. Much like empty pages are left in a book to lessen the crowding of words, mindful moments in the day create breathing room and space in thought. Studies show mindfulness can help reduce stress, support emotion regulation and encourage kindness and compassion for self and others.
As a parent, you can practice these techniques with your teen once a week and slowly build to 10 minutes each day. There is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness, only different approaches. Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques for just 10 minutes each day can create changes in brain development.
Here is one method to develop mindfulness for your teen:
Select relaxing music together to play in the background. YouTube channels offer a variety of choices, as does music streaming on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes or other choice. You can also do this silently if you prefer.
Start with a few minutes of silent stretching to enhance the body-mind connection. The more in-tune one is with their body, the better they can recognize their feeling states and manage their emotional reactions. Always check with your medical provider first to make sure you are safe to do independent stretching.
While standing, sitting or lying down take three slow deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. If you chose to keep your eyes open, focus on one visual in the room.
Observe of the feeling of the ground against your body or feet. Feel the grounded sensation of the floor on your body or feet.
When thoughts float past, take notice of them without judging or categorizing the thought. View thoughts as clouds in a sky floating through your mind. Continue to listen to and focus on your breathing.
When 10 minutes have passed, slowly open your eyes. Allow your body to slowly move back into your day.
Remember to thank yourself for taking the time to be kind to your mind. A little goes a long way.
Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our child or teen psychologists specializing in stress reduction and mindfulness. We serve families in San Diego North County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.