How To Introduce Meditation To Your Teenagers
Teenagers go through many physical, emotional, and mental challenges as they go along. When they're not processed and addressed, these repressed thoughts and feelings turn into angst and anxiety or lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
According to experts, meditation and mindfulness can have several astounding benefits that help teenagers navigate life's rapid shifts and uncertainties. Aside from serving as a positive strategy to manage and reduce stress and anxiety, teens who meditate can also:
- Better focus and memory, giving them an academic advantage.
- Higher self-esteem, making them confident to take on anything.
- More robust immune system and cardiovascular health.
Meditating can be life-changing for you and your child. So, whether you are already into it or hearing it for the first time, here are some practical tips on introducing meditation to your teens.
Practice Meditation Yourself First
As the saying goes, "Monkey sees, monkey do." It will be easier for you to introduce your child to the world of meditation if you've eased yourself into it first. Likewise, it will be quicker for them to trust you on it if they see that you know what you're doing and how it has benefited you in your personal life.
Prepare The Environment
- Have a dedicated meditation room where they can sit still and be quiet. It can be an empty room or corner around the house near the garden that does not have any purpose yet. Take inspiration from meditation retreats.
- If you have limited space and are going to use your bedroom, ask your teenager to clean and declutter before they start meditating. It may be difficult to achieve complete focus and clarity when staying in a busy or messy space.
- Remove or turn off any distractions, including television and other electronic devices.
- You may be tempted to decorate your meditation room with plants, crystals, and other stuff, but remember that less is more. Maintain minimalism with a visually clean and clutter-free space as much as possible.
Start With Simple Meditation Techniques
Teenagers can be skeptical at first or may be intimidated by meditation. Therefore, it's important to keep them engaged with basic meditation practices in the early stages. An excellent example would be doing quick five-minute breathing exercises.
Follow This Step-By-Step Guide
- Ask your teen to close their eyes with you and pay attention to their breathing.
- Let them focus on how they inhale and exhale, forgetting all about their thoughts, worries, and anxieties.
- Tell them to be in the moment. Be mindful of their feelings. If, at any point, they feel anxious, assure them that it'll soon pass.
Encourage But Do Not Force Them
If there's anything teenagers hate, it's being forced to do something they're not truly interested in, and meditation is no exception. So do your best to present opportunities for them to practice meditation and mindfulness but never make them feel pressured.
Some Tips That You Can Try:
- Ask them to try it at least once to experience what it's all about, letting them know they are free to stop at any time.
- Invite them to join you to meditate, but don't take it personally if they refuse.
- Find a local age-appropriate meditation group where they can find peers.
- Don't try too hard; otherwise, you'll end up frustrating your teen and yourself.
- Let them know about the benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Make study materials and the meditation space easily accessible for them.
Let Them Use Advanced Tools For Guided Meditations
Sometimes your teen may be embarrassed or self-conscious about meditating with you. That's normal. Thankfully there are now available technologies to help them.
- Ask them to install and use free meditation apps on their mobile devices, like Calm and Headspace.
- Send them links to Podcasts, interviews, or documentaries about meditation and mindfulness.
- Encourage them to watch guided meditations on YouTube and other online platforms.
How often does a teen need to meditate to experience the benefits?
They can ease into the practice by meditating for four to five minutes at a time, to work up to meditating for fifteen minutes daily, four to five times per week. If they can do this, then eventually, usually within about three weeks, they will begin to rewire the connections in their brain.
Cell phones are a common accessory for teenagers. Is it suitable for meditation for them to use?
Yes. This can be especially helpful if your adolescent feels uneasy about attempting to meditate alongside you. Your adolescent can access various free apps downloaded on a mobile device, such as your smartphone or tablet. Some examples of these apps include Calm and Headspace.
You can also use the timer function on your smartphone when you meditate.
When you first suggest meditation to your adolescent, they might initially respond with suspicion. However, given the current state of affairs in the world, it is more important than ever for young people to learn how to meditate and find peace in their busy lives.
This is a useful skill that can support them through various perplexing and demanding circumstances throughout their lives.
Using Meditation As A Brain Exercise For Your Teen
Last but not least, researchers are now learning that mental training can truly alter the structure and operations of our brains. Similar to how bicep exercises build our arm muscles, mindfulness techniques build our brains in ways that can enhance memory, emotional control, and general mental health.
Professional performers, including artists, athletes, and business executives, use mindfulness to help them succeed and perform at their best.
Therefore, developing mindfulness and practicing meditation are fantastic ways to maintain mental health and enable you to be the greatest version of yourself.