Meditation Benefits for Teens and Mental Health | Guest Post by Alex Grand

Being a teenager is difficult. Not only is your body changing, but your perspective of the world is as well. Many teens today often suffer from various types of mental health issues that can drastically affect their lives. While medications and therapy can often help, meditation is another way to help naturally heal many mental health illnesses. Below is more information about meditation and the many benefits it has.

Common Mental Health Problems Plaguing Teens

Growing up has always been tough, but modern “always-on” society means there is no escape. In fact, studies have shown that 50% of mental illnesses in teens develop by the age of 14. Some of the most common mental health issues that plague teenagers include anxiety, depression, panic disorders, anorexia, and OCD. These mental health illnesses can develop due to numerous reasons, such as self-consciousness, bullying, and trauma.

The Benefits of Meditation

Below are just a handful of the benefits meditation can offer teenagers.

It Improves Their Focus

  • A lack of focus is a common problem among teens. Meditation teaches teens how to control their focus and attention span. This can help them to stay attuned to things that they might otherwise find boring. This could conceivably help them to boost their grades, as they will be more focused on their work.

It Encourages Better Self-Esteem

  • Teenagers often worry about how they appear to others. This low self-esteem can be due to them not fully understanding their emotions and feeling negative about themselves. Meditation encourages teenagers to have better self-esteem because it helps them to learn how to control their emotions, something which is often the cause of low self-worth. It shows them how to understand their emotions and moods and sort through any negative thoughts they might have.

It Reduces Anxiety

  • A common mental health issue many teens suffer from is anxiety. While symptoms will vary for this illness, some of the most usual ones are hyperventilating, palpitations, insomnia, and excessive fear. Meditation helps to reduce anxiety in the body because it encourages the mind to relax and stay present. This not only can stop a racing heart and other similar side effects, but eventually teaches teens how to relax which can stop anxiety from occurring often or at all.

It Works to Prevent the Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol

  • The teenage years are often a tumultuous time that could lead down a path toward drugs and alcohol for “comfort”. In fact, it is believed that one in five teens have abused prescription drugs at some point in their life. This not only can be fatal, but can cause them to have many other issues down the road, such as mental health disorders, drug dependence, poor judgment, seizures, strokes, and heart problems.
  • Meditation works to help prevent the abuse of drugs and alcohol as it clears and calms the mind. It also teaches teens to look toward better things for their lives, rather than depending on drugs and alcohol for quick yet temporary relief.

It Helps Them to Be Kinder

  • Meditation can also help teens learn to be kinder to others. This is because many meditation exercises teach them to be more compassionate and positive toward others.

Ways to Encourage and Teach Teens to Meditate

 There are a few ways you can encourage and teach teens to enjoy the art of meditation. Below are some tips and ideas you could use.

Thought Remover

  • A good practice to use to introduce teens to meditation is to have them do a thought remover exercise. You can have them count from one to ten in their mind repeatedly. If a thought pops into their head during this exercise, they must start counting back at one. This process can continue for about one to two minutes.

Circle Drawing

  • Another way to help teens remove negative thoughts from their mind and focus on the positive is to have them do a circle drawing. First, have them draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper. Then, have them write their goals and dreams in the middle of it. You can then have them write what they don’t like or want on the outside of the circle. This practice can help them to focus on achieving their goals.

Deep Breathing

  • One of the most popular meditation techniques is deep breathing. Deep breathing has been proven to help reduce pain, stop stress, and improve the immune system. It also helps with keeping the mind focused. You can teach teens deep breathing by asking them to first close their eyes and slowly take a deep breath. Then, have them slowly exhale. As they are doing this exercise, have them release any negative thoughts to help clear their mind. In the end, this can help them to feel more refreshed.

Compassion Exercise

  • This compassion exercise works to teach teenagers how to feel more positive and compassionate toward others. To begin with, have them work on deep breathing techniques. Then, let them have their mind wander to the things, people, and animals they love. Eventually, they can change this viewpoint to the things they don’t like and learn to feel more positive and relaxed about them.

Have Them Notice the Good Things in Life

  • Stress is common in teens which not only can wreak havoc on their health, but can lead to anxiety and depression. You can teach teens to reduce their stress levels by refocusing their mind on positive things when they feel overwhelmed.

Meditation comes with plenty of benefits that can help teens to take care of their mental health. If you’re searching for a way to help a teen in your life work on their mental health, definitely consider meditation. It not only can help them with common problems such as low self-esteem and bad focusing abilities, but encourage them to be happier and healthier.

To learn more about the benefits of meditation, check out RootsofBeing.
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