Mindfulness is a great coping technique for relieving stress and anxiety. It has recently become very popular among adults but many do not know that it can be very beneficial for children as well. If you’re a parent of teenage kids, you should probably know how to explain mindfulness to a teenager.
The transition from the preteen stage to teenage is beautiful yet difficult to adapt to for both, the child and the parents. The psychological, as well as physical changes that the child goes through, are frustrating to cope with for a parent but many fail to realize that this stage can be extremely stressful for their kids as well.
Of course, as a parent, all you want to do is help your children out when you see them struggling. A great way you can help is by learning how to explain mindfulness to a teenager and introducing them to it so they may deal with the difficulties that accompany the teenage stage with a clear, positive and stress-free mind.
It’s really not that difficult to explain mindfulness to children but it’s important to make sure you know enough about it before introducing it to them. Here’s all you need to know:
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a mental exercise that promotes a healthy and attentive mental state. Most adults fail to realize that children, especially adolescents of today, live very stressful lives.
Upbringing, traumas, bullying including many other factors are responsible for the increased distress and tension that has been recorded among the youth of today.
Luckily, mindfulness meditation is a mental workout that has been proven to alleviate stress and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Here are some of the benefits of mindfulness meditation and how it works:
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
According to The American Psychological Association (APA), greater levels of stress and anxiety are reported among teens than any other age group.
On a 10 point scale, teens reported unhealthy levels of stress (5.8) as compared to the average of 5.1 reported among adults.
Studies suggest that practicing mindfulness works as a great stress reliever. Here are a few proven benefits of mindfulness for teens:
- Mindfulness allows teens to build focus and attention, improves concentration and strengthens learning and perception skills.
- It aids in reducing stress, anxiety and depression which is becoming very common among adolescents these days.
- Not only does it promote better mental health, but it also promotes improved physical health, encouraging increased activity and productivity among children.
(More on how mindfulness can increase productivity: How Mindfulness can Increase Productivity.)
- Studies have found that increased curiosity on top of heightened tolerance and patience are also among the various benefits of mindfulness for teens.
- Mindfulness is a great tool for building self-confidence, empathy, self-control and increasing motivation among adolescents.
- Other benefits include promoting better academic performance, — due to reduced stress levels — strengthening reasoning and perception skills and more.
Read more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation: The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness Meditation.
How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?
It’s a pretty simple technique. It works by stimulating your mind to focus on your present surroundings and thoughts, cutting out all unnecessary distractions.
Before you learn how to explain mindfulness to a teenager, you should probably know how mindfulness meditation works so you can explain it to them better. This is how it works:
Find a comfortable spot in your home — anything works as long as there are no distractions around. Sit down; either cross-legged on the floor, or on a cushion, on a chair or whatever is comfortable and works for you.
Relax your body, maintain your posture and breathe in and out slowly, keeping your focus on the gentle rhythm of your breathing. Of course, at several points, your mind will wander which is totally fine. When you realize that your attention has wandered off from your breathing, simply bring it back to it.
As thoughts, desires and fantasies infiltrate your mind, simply acknowledge them but don’t answer them. Remember, we’re here to merely recognize our feelings and emotions, not to pass judgment or fight them.
And that’s it. As for how long you should do it, 10 minutes a day is great for a beginner but you can increase the time to 15 and 20 minutes at your convenience.
Now that you know how it works, let’s talk about how to explain mindfulness to a teenager.
How to Explain Mindfulness to a Teenager
Let’s be honest, it can be hard to explain a lot of things to teenagers as they usually have too many questions and are really not the best listeners. On top of that, most of them have this weird obsession with being rebels.
However, when you see them stressed and failing miserably to figure things out on their own — that they were adamant they had ‘under control’ — your parental instincts kick in.
Luckily, mindfulness is an undemanding practice and can easily be done by teenagers. Moreover, it is really not that hard to understand, even for adolescents. Here are a few tips you can make use of, that can make the whole ‘explaining process’ easier:
1. Make it Easy to Understand
Talk to them about what mindfulness really entails in a simple, to-the-point manner. Make sure you don’t complicate the process even more. Try to explain the benefits of mindfulness for teens in a way that you know will be easier for your child to understand.
2. Tell Them About the Benefits
Most teenagers will probably find it boring and a waste of time. They may also find it absolutely absurd and pointless.
Besides, no one would jump into something without knowing what’s in it for them. Communicate with them and tell them about the amazing benefits of mindfulness for teens and simplify how it works for them.
3. Answer Their Questions
It’s important that before you even begin thinking about how to explain mindfulness to a teenager, make sure you gather adequate and correct knowledge about it yourself.
That way, when you’re faced with their curious questions, you know how to answer them and most importantly, you’ll be giving them accurate information.
4. Help Them Out When They Need it
As they begin to understand it and show interest in the process of mindfulness, walk them through how it’s done and provide them with a suitable atmosphere to practice it.
5. Make it Interesting
Lastly, make it interesting. Teenagers are usually full of energy and having to sit down, even for 10 minutes, might not appeal to them too much. We know that there are various benefits of mindfulness meditation and we may want them to grasp the concept immediately but we must understand that they might not find it interesting.
Luckily, there are several mindfulness activities that can actually be quite entertaining. Perhaps, introduce your child to the fun mindfulness activities before gradually introducing them to meditation.
Read more about how mindfulness might be the greatest tool for kicking anxiety’s butt here: Mindfulness – The Perfect Tool to Kick Anxiety Out of Your Life.