How Mindfulness Can Help Teenagers

It’s becoming increasingly common for teenagers to persistently worry about interacting with unfamiliar people or being put in unfamiliar situations. Even depression in teenagers is affecting their academic performance, social status, family life and sexual orientation. In fact, when mental health concerns are flagged, parents are often caught off guard wondering what ‘signs’ they missed. We’ve put together a list of a few red flags that you should be on the lookout for.

Signs that you are struggling with your mental health*

It’s quite normal for teenagers to have mood swings. But where do you draw the line between mood swings and health concerns? Here are some tell-tale signs to look for: 

  • Problems at school that are persistent and/or repetitive
  • Negative mood that sticks through the day 
  • Loss of interest in otherwise favoured activities
  • Low self-esteem and energy levels
  • Sudden changes in sleep & diet patterns
  • Struggling to concentrate in studies or activities
  • Becoming fatigued easily

*This is not, by any means an all-encompassing list. Please consult mental wellness experts for a more detailed understanding.

Now that you know some of the signs, what can you do next to encourage an overall healthy state of mind?

For starters, incorporating breathing exercises, finding a support group early on and expressing these conflicts to trusted friends and family is a good start. However, if you’re looking for a better coping mechanism, Mindfulness Meditation is known to have several benefits for teens with mental & physical concerns including social anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness Meditation is a technique that teaches you to slow down your racing thoughts, let go of negativity and calm your body & mind. It encourages deep breathing and increases your internal awareness. This simple technique can be incorporated any time of day and even on-the-go.

Here’s how you can practice Mindfulness Meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable spot and situate your legs well. Keep your body or your legs in contact with the floor.
  2. Straighten, don’t stiffen, your upper body.
  3. Keep your upper arms parallel to your upper body.
  4. Drop your gaze and let your chin drop forward, gently. 
  5. Be present in the moment.
  6. Feel your breath and choose a focal point. If you find your mind wandering, indulge yourself for a few moments but try to steer your thoughts back to your breathing.
  7. Practice pausing before making any physical adjustments. This means shifting or even itching at a moment you choose.
  8. When you’re ready, lift your gaze and open your eyes.

And that’s it. A few moments of this routine can make a big difference.

Benefits of Meditation for Teens

Meditation for teenagers can prove to be highly beneficial. Here’s how:

  • Reduces stress: Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a standardized therapeutic approach that has shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety in healthy individuals. 
  • Lowers heart rate: Research on mindfulness meditation suggests that the practice may be beneficial for your heart. In the research, participants were allowed to choose between enrolling in an online mindfulness meditation program or being added to a waitlist for traditional treatment for heart disease. Those who participated in mindfulness meditation had significantly lower heart rates and performed better on a test of cardiovascular capacity.
  • Improves sleep cycle: Meditation can help teenagers put their minds at ease and relax, therefore allowing you to sleep better. It is also useful in treating sleep disturbances.
  • Enhances immunity: Meditation as a habitual practice can improve your body’s resistance to illnesses and enhance your immune functions in the long term.
  • Helps regulate emotions: Teenagers have to deal with an influx of hormones that cause mood swings. Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you connect with yourself on a deep level and control your emotions & behaviour better.

Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ to start

As a young adult, it’s always a good idea to check in on yourself and be mindful of how you’re coping. The great part about following a practice such as Mindfulness Meditation is that it doesn’t need one specific reason to incorporate it into your routine. It doesn’t need a problem or issue. It simply needs your time and dedication. So whether you are frantically googling how to deal with social anxiety or how to come out of depression or not, Mindfulness Meditation is still a great add-on to your daily routine.

Start connecting with teens on the Uable app today!

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