3 Simple Ways Teens Can Practice Mindfulness This Year
3 Simple Ways Teens Can Practice Mindfulness This Year
Mindfulness exercises are a beneficial way for teenagers around the world to actively work on their mental health. Many teens are still adjusting to the “new normal” of hybrid/in-person learning, and many are experiencing a range of emotions, from low moods, to anxiety, to chronic stress.
A 2022 press release from the CDC concluded that 37% of high schoolers suffered from “poor mental health” during the pandemic, and a whopping 44% have experienced persistent sadness or hopelessness since last year. The press release continues that COVID-19 exacerbated the already declining mental health of teenagers, and something must be done to improve this growing issue among adolescents.
The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) gives further insight into the adolescent mental health crises with their recent journal and deduced that “25% of the world’s youth are experiencing depressive symptoms.”
Mindfulness for teens
Incorporating mindfulness in a teen’s everyday life, as discussed in Talking To Teen’s recent article, can be very beneficial. Mindfulness exercises can help adolescents effectively regulate their emotions and find better coping mechanisms for stress, thus making them more likely to overcome mental health related issues.
3 mindfulness exercises that are easy to start doing
Here are a few easy mindfulness exercises that teens can add to their daily routine, and how your organization can help provide mental health and wellness education for at-risk adolescents.
1. Mindful Meditation
Mindful meditation for teens can do a world of good for those who are battling mental health issues. Meditation is really helpful in reducing anxiety and depression, which seem to be two prominent matters teens struggle with the most.
Very Well Mind’s article states this particular activity “combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness,” and allows a person to focus on their thoughts and feelings in the present moment and without judgment. If a teen does mindful meditation a few times a week, the results can be mind-blowing.
To practice mindful meditation, we recommend following the steps listed below from Mindful.org’s article:
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Close your eyes or soften your gaze
- Turn your focus to your breath and how it moves through your body
- Pay attention to your arms and legs, noting how they relax as you meditate
- If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath
Once the mindfulness meditation is complete, a teen should feel more at ease and in a better mental space to process their emotions.
Teenagers who struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues would greatly benefit from consistent journaling. Journaling has been proven to be an effective way to counteract mental health disorders.
By journaling a few minutes each day or whenever they see fit, teens can better understand the tough emotions they may be experiencing without the fear of someone judging them or invalidating their feelings or experiences.
An article from the University of Rochester Medical Center states that journaling can help a person “prioritize problems, fears, and concerns,” and it can give “an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.” Teens battling mental health issues can get the most out of journaling by doing it at a time when they can relax and focus solely on this one task.
The article also states that, at a teen’s discretion, it could be helpful to share certain parts of their journal with a loved one or someone they trust.
Mental health disorders are not the easiest things to overcome, but with journaling, teens are better equipped to deal with the internal struggles they often face.
3. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an excellent mindfulness practice that teenagers can do when they feel overwhelmed. This relaxation technique, which requires deep breaths from the diaphragm, can reduce stress and anxiety by lowering heart rates and bringing a sense of peace and security back to the mind and body.
Harvard Medical School’s article states that deep breathing is a practice that invokes the “relaxation response,” a technique developed by Harvard Medical School cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson. Deep breathing not only aids in full oxygen exchange, but it can also help suppress a teen’s “fight or flight” response that occurs as a result of everyday stressors.
To practice deep breathing, the article says to first, sit or lie in a comfortable position. Then, deeply breathe in through your nose, filling your lower abdomen with air.
Next, slowly breathe out through your mouth or nostrils. After one breath cycle is complete, a teen should repeat the practice until they feel more relaxed and their stress levels have gone down.
How Your Company Can Help Teens’ Mental Health
Did you know your company can drastically help teenagers who are suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic stress, and other mental disorders? Through the sponsorship of EVERFI’s wellness courses, your organization can make a positive impact in the lives of students who otherwise would not have access to mental wellness education.
Our courses, like Understanding Mental Wellness, teach teens how to better cope with mental health issues and give them actionable steps to make the best choices given their unique circumstances. By supplying teens with the tools they need to effectively and positively overcome their mental health disorders, your organization is setting them up for lifelong success.
Click here to learn how your company can sponsor one of our wellness courses for your community. With your help, we can create a world of possibility for countless adolescents who need it most.