Mindfulness is probably a completely foreign concept to most teens. With access to smartphones and video games, they may not even be able to imagine sitting quietly and doing “nothing”. But mindfulness isn’t doing nothing. Mindfulness works because it helps you replace your stressful thoughts and anxiety with something positive.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
Meditation can be an important part of a mindfulness practice, but there are also ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day. By slowing down and really paying attention to what you’re doing, even seemingly mundane activities like washing the dishes can become a mindfulness practice. You can notice how the warm water feels on your hands. Feel the difference between the soap bubbles and the running water. Notice the scent of your dish soap, or how the light refracts on the faucet. Slowing down like this helps us to live in the moment. We experience the actions without judgement, and pay attention to what is happening in our body and our mind.
How Can Mindfulness Help Teens?
Teenagers today face many challenges. Stress from school or problems with peers, while also trying to plan for their next big steps into adulthood, can feel overwhelming. Many teens experience anxiety and depression related to these pressures. Learning mindfulness practices can provide healthy coping tools for teens struggling with their mental health. An article in Harvard Health Publishing explains that in studies, mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped alleviate anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability
Mindfulness can also aid in emotional regulation. For teens who are struggling with depression, a mindfulness practice can give them the tools they need to slow down and disengage from whatever judgements they are feeling about the situation. They can learn to remain grounded in the moment and while paying attention to what is happening in their body and mind.
Red Mountain Colorado Can Help
Many teens struggle to understand the body-mind connection. Instead, they may become more easily overwhelmed by emotions or focus on uncomfortable physical sensations without connecting it to situations around them. Or, they may focus on the concrete details of stressful life events they’ve experienced without considering the impact it’s had on them personally.
That’s why we do more at Red Mountain Colorado. We leverage a highly specialized mindfulness-based approach to treatment of your teenager, so that your teen can uncover these underlying stressors, understand them and develop more positive thought patterns and behaviors. While other forms of therapy may encourage your teen to challenge these patterns by focusing on how unhealthy they are, mindfulness encourages teens to accept that these patterns have served a purpose and to consider alternate ways to get their needs met. For more information please call (970) 316-7594.