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What to Know About Mindfulness for Teens

Mindfulness helps you calm your mind and your body. Learning how to slow your mind and breath can be a great way to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. Adults, teens, and kids can practice mindfulness

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you stop and pay attention to the world around you without judgment. Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully noticing the smells, textures, sounds, and sights around you. It allows you to experience your life in the present moment.

Quiet your mind. For some people, mindfulness meditation is a spiritual or religious practice, but it doesn’t have to be. You can practice mindfulness as a way to calm your body and quiet your mind. Mindfulness is often used in non-religious settings like schools, classes, or therapy.

Benefits of Mindfulness for Teens

Mindfulness helps you be present in your life. Through regular training, it can give you some control over your reactions and your thoughts.

Mindfulness can be useful for people of any age and it helps teens too. Here are some ways it can improve your mental health, your mind, and your general health. 

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Mindfulness gives you better working memory. When you learn to calm your mind and be in the present moment, your working memory can improve. Your working memory helps you remember short-term information so that you can learn new things or do tasks. This might help you in school as you learn new subjects.

Mindfulness can improve your focus. Mindfulness can help you concentrate better and suppress distracting thoughts and information. This can help you focus better at school.

Practicing mindfulness can lower rumination. In other words, mindfulness can help you stop thinking the same thoughts over and over that tend to be dark and sad. These thoughts can make depression worse, but mindfulness can help you stop this process.

Mindfulness can lower stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed and you have anxiety, you might have a rush of adrenaline. This causes racing thoughts, restlessness, irritability, or anger. Practicing mindfulness can help you slow your mind and get control of racing thoughts. This can help you self-regulate.

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Mindfulness can help with depression. People who practice mindfulness can reduce the severity or occurrences of depression symptoms.

Improves your health and sense of well-being. Mindfulness meditation can help lower blood pressure, manage stress, and reduce inflammation in your body. Practicing meditation can also help with emotional distress, coping skills, anger, and hostility. It may help improve your mood and your self-esteem as well.

How to Practice Mindfulness

There are many ways to practice mindfulness and meditation. There are some steps to take, but there isn’t a single "right way" to meditate. Some people like to set aside a room with a special chair or cushion for meditation, but it’s not necessary. You can practice mindfulness meditation on the bus, at your desk, while you eat, or anywhere you need.

The basic steps of mindfulness meditation include:

  • Slow your body and your breath. 
  • Pay attention to your body and your experiences. What do you see, feel, and hear?
  • Accept the moment as it is. Notice what you’re feeling, but don’t explain it or pass judgment on it. 
  • Be curious and kind to yourself and your experience. 

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Your meditation doesn’t have to last for hours or be overly complicated. You can practice it in many different ways. These can be:

  • Mindful eating: Put away your phone or turn off the TV. Focus on your meal, the way it tastes, how it feels, and how your body feels.
  • Focused breathing: Sit quietly at your desk and focus on your breathing. As your thoughts come, notice them and return to your breathing.
  • Walking meditation: Notice the scenery, the smells, how your shoes feel, how your lungs feel. Pay close attention and be present in the moment.

You will get the best results from mindfulness meditation when you practice every day. Just 5 minutes per day can help you improve your outlook on life and overall well-being.

Sometimes people like to meditate with other people. Your school might have classes, or your teacher might be able to teach you how to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is also usually a part of yoga exercise. Check to see if your school or your local youth organization offers yoga classes.

Treatment for Your Mental Health

Being a teen is stressful. Mindfulness meditation can help teens and anyone else adapt during stressful times. It can keep your body and mind calm and help you better manage your emotions. This can help lower your stress, help you focus and learn better, and help you have a better mood. You might feel better and have a better sense of well-being with regular practice.  

It’s important to remember, though, that mindfulness isn’t a replacement for medical care. If you are a teen experiencing mental health issues, speak to your school counselor, your parents, or your doctor to get the help you need. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Canadian Mental Health Association: “Mindfulness.”

Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience: “Mindfulness training for adolescents: A neurodevelopmental perspective on investigating modifications in attention and emotion regulation using event-related brain potentials.”

Monitor on Psychology: “What are the benefits of mindfulness?” 

NIH: “Meditation: In Depth.”

Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing University of Minnesota: “What Is Mindfulness?”

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