Meditation Techniques for Teens
The adolescent years can be one of the most stressful and trying periods for parents and teens. Teens who have too much stress and not enough time for relaxation can experience increased anger, physical illness, anxiety, and other mental and physical problems. According to the TeensHealth website, performing specific meditation and breathing exercises can help teens release stress, calm down and become more focused 1. Parents can help their teens relax and unwind by providing education about some effective meditation techniques 2.
One of the most effective ways to begin a meditation practice is to perform deep-breathing exercises 1. Even teens who don't yet want to engage in formal meditation can benefit from this exercise. Deep breathing helps the mind focus and eases feelings of stress. To perform this exercise, have your teen sit in a comfortable position and let the family know he shouldn't be disturbed for a few minutes. Have him close his eyes and notice his current breathing patterns without trying to change anything. Then have him take a long, slow inhalation and imagine his belly filling with air. Have him pause, then exhale all of the air from his lungs. Allow thoughts to float out of the mind, as though they're drifting down a river. If he gets distracted, have him say "thinking" and return to his breath.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests muscle relaxation techniques as one way to help teens manage excess feelings of stress. This exercise involves tensing and releasing specific muscle groups to alleviate tension and stress. You can also use free guided online recordings to help with this exercise. Lay on a comfortable, padded surface, such as a yoga mat or blanket. A pillow can be used to support the head and an eye bag can be used to block out light. Ensure that he won't be disturbed for at least 15 minutes. Have him close his eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Then have him tense his forehead for a few seconds, tightly scrunching up the eyes and forehead. Release the contraction and relax. Have him move on to his jaw. Clench the jaw tightly, then release. Continue moving down the body in this manner, tensing and relaxing all of the major muscle groups, ending with the feet.
In an article for her website, meditation teacher Susan Kramer offers a simple seated meditation for teens 2. To perform this exercise, have your teen sit in a comfortable position. If he's sitting at a desk, have him sit up straight, feet planted firmly on the floor and hands relaxed in the lap. Otherwise, sit in a cross-legged position with hands resting in the lap. Have him close his eyes and focus on his breath. Have him count his breaths -- inhale deeply and mentally count "one," then have him exhale completely and mentally count "one." Focus on the sound of the breath, counting breaths until reaching 50.
Visualization exercises are helpful meditative techniques that can help teens when they feel stressed about something specific, such as passing an exam or competing in a sports event, according to TeensHealth. Have your teen sit in a comfortable position, in a location where he won't be disturbed for several minutes. Have him close his eyes and focus on his breathing for a few moments. Have him vividly call to mind the stressful event, but imagine that things work out well. Have him imagine the setting in as much detail as he can. Picture a classroom or the playing field. Have your teen see himself acing the exam or scoring a winning home run in the game.
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