Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens
There are many reasons why children feel stressed today. From heavy course loads and full athletic schedules to friendship dramas and even school violence, the stress level of American students is increasing. Environmental problems such as climate change contribute to the stress children feel. According to a Pew Research Center study, 61% of teens feel pressured to get good grades; And 29% feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way and be socially fit. Also, there is pressure to attend sports, participate in extracurricular activities, and attend a good college. Even working with just day-to-day life can be stressful and overwhelming.
Combine these pressures and stresses with increasing rates of anxiety and depression among adolescents, and it is unsurprising that improvements in mental health have become a major concern for both parents and teachers. More and more people are turning to meditation as a way to help teens to cope with the negative stresses and emotions in their lives.
What is Mindfulness?
In the simplest terms, mindfulness means paying full attention to something and not thinking about anything else at that moment.
This means slowing down what you are doing and really taking notice, even if it means just focusing on your breath. Being mindful is the opposite of multitasking.
When children and teens focus on focusing, they slow down, take their time, and focus on something that is both relaxing and stress-free. Mindfulness meditation usually involves some combination of breathing exercises, visualizations, body awareness, and relaxation.
Meditation techniques for stress relief
How does mindfulness help
The practice of being mindful allows children and adolescents to face disappointment when they face some difficulties in their lives. It can also be used when they need to focus their attention on something specific and are not allowed to distract. The more children and teenagers practice, the better they are.
Also, it actually works. In fact, research suggests that practicing meditation can attract attention to anyone — including young people with ADHD who often have trouble concentrating. Overall, people who learn to practice mindfulness are better able to pay attention and are less distracted. Mindfulness also helps individuals to remain calm under stress, avoid getting too upset, treat others better and be more patient. It can also affect learning, helps children and adolescents become better listeners, and helps them feel happier overall.
Health Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Childhood and adolescence are important stages in the development process for young people. During these phases of his life the foundation of his future mental health will be laid.
Mindfulness helps students learn how to pause in all kinds of situations and respond thoughtfully instead of just reacting. This skill is especially helpful when they face challenges or encounter children who engage in bullying.
Not surprisingly, practicing mindfulness can help children and adolescents learn how to manage stress, control their emotions, focus on hands-on work and develop a positive outlook on life.
Children and teens who use brains also develop a better understanding of how their brains work. They can also build curiosity to know how their brain works and why they feel the way they feel, which can ultimately give them a sense of who they are as a person. Research has shown that when mindfulness is used in schools it can provide cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.
Research has shown that teaching children attentively can affect their cognitive skills, particularly executive functions performed by the brain. Executive functions are responsible for a person’s ability to pay attention, focus, organize information, remember details, and engage in planning.
In fact, a study of third grade students over an eight-week period found that when a mindfulness program was implemented at school, students showed improvement in regulating their behavior and at work compared to a control group be focused. Did not participate in a Mindfulness program.
Meanwhile, another study found that students participating in the 24-week Mindfulness program performed better on meditation-based activities than other students in their elementary school. Similarly, a study of preschoolers found that students with a Mindfulness course scored better on academic performance tests. They made future academic success
Emotional health, or a positive sense of well-being, is an important component of every child’s life. Not only is this the basis of mental health, but it can also help to overcome mental health-related problems:
• Self-esteem issues
• Better social interaction
Overall, being mindful or participating in mindfulness activities can not only help students manage stress but also increase their sense of well-being. For example, one study found that students were more likely to report feeling optimistic after participating in a Mindfulness program. Meanwhile, another study found that preteens increased feeling of well-being after feeling calm, sleeping better, and participating in a five-week mood and stress reduction program.
Difficulty interacting and communicating with others can cause problems with learning, understanding, and the school climate. But mindfulness programs have been shown to improve these skills and bring positive results within the school.
For example, a five-week Mindfulness program in an elementary school led to better participation in classroom activities. Meanwhile, a Mindfulness program at a high school helped nurture mutual respect and care among students and improve the school climate.
Mindfulness has been shown to increase a child’s or adolescent’s ability to regulate emotions, as well as to feel compassion and empathy. It is widely considered to be an effective treatment for people of all ages who deal with other mental health problems such as aggression, ADHD, or anxiety. And can also be used to reduce the painful effects of bullying.
Mindfulness can also be used as a tool to enhance self-concept, improve planning skills, and control impulses. And, when used effectively in schools, Mindfulness can reduce the number of principal’s office visits, reduce the amount of school bullying and improve attendance.
Overall, Mindfulness is about helping children and adolescents reflect on their own thoughts and actions and figure out how to make better choices. They are no longer reacting to things in their environment but responding to them thoughtfully and purposefully.
Finally, when children and adolescents understand that they can be in control of their thoughts, feelings, and actions, they not only make better choices but feel more in control of their decision-making processes.
Tips for parents and teachers
Make sure you are using Mindfulness with these strategies in the most effective way.
- Remember that the purpose of mindfulness is to reduce stress and increase positivity. Consequently, avoid using mindfulness as a disciplinary tool. Mindfulness is about raising awareness that thoughts are “just thoughts”, understanding how emotions manifest in their bodies and recognizing when meditation has gone astray.
- Set a time each day to practice mindfulness. This is a skill that takes time to develop.
- Offer to practice mindfulness with your children or students. In this way, you are modeling for them how to incorporate them into their everyday lives, even if they are adults.
- Select the right time to practice mindfulness. For example, when children want to run and play, avoid planning a mindfulness activity during recess. Choose a quiet time of the day when you get distracted by something the first few times. Eventually, as they get better at being brainwashed, they will be able to use it even in the most chaotic situations.
- Share some examples of how you have redirected your ideas and encourage your children or students to share their experiences. By discussing what works and what does not work, you can all learn from each other and support.