Being a teenager is such a transformative time in a person’s life.
For years, teenagers bridge the gap between being a kid and being an adult. Social expectations begin to change, emotions are everywhere, and life begins to unfold without offering much sense of where it’s headed.
Being a teenager can feel chaotic, so being mindful is incredibly hard to do during this time. Truth be told, it’s hard for adults to master mindfulness as well.
Being present and taking note of your emotions and the sensations around you is not a simple task. For teenagers who are in such an intense period in their lives, it can be even harder.
Just like anything else, it takes time to learn mindfulness. However, mindfulness tools can be instrumental for teens at this point in their lives.
1. Knowing the Line Between Hormones and Mental Health
Teenagers can be moody, but that is a product of all the hormones coursing through their bodies. Hormones can cause mood swings and imbalances that can cause a person to feel emotional, irritable, or sad,
It’s important for teenagers to know the difference between normal hormonal changes and struggling with their mental health. There are many resources to help parents and teens get help with any mental health concerns. They should be encouraged to communicate their feelings with those who can assist them.
If stress, depression, or anxiety are making everyday tasks difficult, it could mean there is a serious mental health concern. Depression and anxiety can be treated, regardless of the cause. Teens should understand that if they are struggling or thinking about hurting themselves, this is not a normal part of being a teenager and they should seek help.
Being mindful about mental health is something teens can develop through education, talking to a parent, or seeking out their school counselor.
2. Taking Time to Unplug
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Another way that teens can develop mindfulness is to take some time each day to unplug. In the digital world, it’s unrealistic to ask anyone, especially a teenager, to completely lose their attachment to technology. However, being mindful about tech use can help increase their ability to be present in the moment.
Charging phones in the living room instead of the bedroom, having the dinner table be a phone-free zone, or getting outside, away from cell service, can be a few ways to do this.
Getting outside can also improve a person’s creativity, mental health, and physical fitness. This can be an especially helpful exercise in mindfulness.
3. Finding Balance Between School and Life
Being mindful is about paying attention to your surroundings and taking in your feelings in order to work through them.
For many teens, they can learn to be mindful as a wellness strategy by being more cognizant about their balance between school and life and making adjustments when necessary.
Many adults talk about work-life balance, and the same concepts should apply to teenagers trying to balance their responsibilities with their family and friends. This can help teenagers to feel less stressed, happier, and more accomplished.
Feeling burned out can lead to teens rebelling against their responsibilities, so it’s important to pay attention to those feelings and determine how to best work through them.
4. Making Conscious Health Decisions
Many teens feel invincible, though many aren’t able to articulate or acknowledge that feeling until later in life. This feeling of invincibility alludes to teenagers’ disconnect between their choices and the outcomes.
For instance, adults know that eating healthy and exercising will lead to better overall health. Many teens don’t have the same commitment to this idea and the delayed gratification that goes along with it.
However, teens can become more mindful by paying attention to how they treat their bodies. By paying attention to how their body reacts to better food, exercise, and sleep, they will gradually make better health decisions.
5. Identifying Toxicity
For teenagers, it can be hard to identify toxic people or actions. Even if they can spot it, it can be hard to handle. Though negativity might not be as rampant in real-life interactions, social media and internet bullying can be dangerous for the teenagers who fall victim to it.
It can be helpful for teens to learn how to identify bullying, toxic friends and family members, and their own toxic behaviors in order to increase their mindfulness.
Coping skills like meditating, breathing, and talking problems out with a parent or counselor can do wonders when toxicity is rampant in a teen’s life. It’s helpful to talk about the unfortunate power of negativity, how to distance oneself from toxic people, and how to combat negative feelings with positivity.
6. Practicing Positive Self-Talk
Sometimes a teen’s biggest issue is their own negative self-talk. Teens can increase their mindfulness by acknowledging the problematic things they think or say about themselves and working to reverse them.
Parents can work on positive affirmations and bringing positivity into their child’s life. Teens can work on staying present and honest by working through these image issues and where they stem from.
Positive self-talk is a skill that many adults work through as well, so it’s not a mindfulness exercise reserved for teens. Many find positivity in nature, inspirational quotes, or exercises that help with their self-esteem.
Teenagers can develop mindfulness in many of the same ways that adults can. The main difference is in acknowledging hormonal changes, pushing through feelings of apathy, and getting through the tribulations of adolescence while being mindful.
It’s important to understand the importance of good mental health, unplugging to be present, finding balance in life’s tasks, making healthy decisions, identifying toxic behavior, and being kind to yourself.
Mindfulness is something that anyone can use as a wellness tool. For teenagers, it can be a big help as their lives transition to adulthood.