Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Hi friends. How are you feeling right now? No, really. How are you feeling right now? Take a moment and recognize your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Are you feeling happy, sad, angry, calm, content? Is your body feeling achy, bloated, light, strong, sweaty, tense, warm? What about your thoughts? Are you noticing thoughts like Oh No, I can’t, You’ve got this? Observe and accept your experience in this moment without judgment. Simply allow these experiences to be present with you, without needing your experiences to be anything other than what they are.
Congratulations friends! In this short exercise, you practiced mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of the moment and accepting your sensations, feelings, and thoughts as they come. It’s an activity that challenges us to be in touch with our internal experiences- thoughts, feelings, and memories- without judgement. In 2022, you will see more blogs that focus on the art and practice of mindfulness, because, let’s face it, mindfulness is just good for our mental well-being.
For this blog, I invited Taylor Brown, one of the newest members of the team at Dr. Watlington & Associates to share her thoughts about mindfulness in her work with adolescents. As you read her blog, consider the various ways you practice mindfulness. If you have children, consider how you might practice mindfulness with them.
How Mindfulness Practices Benefit Adolescents by Taylor Brown, LMSW
Salutations All! I am Taylor Brown, a new member of the Dr. Watlington & Associates team! Practicing mindfulness has been a life-changing experience for me. I have made mindfulness meditation a part of my self-care routine daily. It’s super important for me to start my day off with a vibrant, relaxed, peaceful mindset. Practicing mindfulness enhances emotional well-being and helps to develop beneficial therapeutic qualities such as equanimity, compassion, and attentiveness.
In my experience, facilitating mindfulness group therapy sessions with adolescents has proven to reduce the negative effects of stress and increase adolescents’ ability to stay focused and engaged. Teenagers who participated in these groups would often tell me that the mindfulness techniques helped them stay on track academically and avoid disruptive behavior. In these groups, I would teach mindfulness techniques such as journaling, deep breathing, body scan, stretching, and emotional awareness meditation.
When teaching mindfulness techniques to adolescents, the goal is to equip them with the fundamentals to build positive self-esteem, manage anxiety levels, and skillfully resolve challenges. On the psychiatric acute unit, I identified three miraculous benefits of mindfulness for youth: paying close attention to detail, transitions between multiple tasks, and behaving appropriately with others. These skills are vital for life tasks such as reasoning, problem-solving, and healthy social relationships.
Teaching mindfulness to adolescents greatens the opportunity for them to navigate through life’s challenges. If you are a parent of a teenager, I encourage you to practice mindfulness activities with them. The best way to educate a child on how to be mindful is to embody the practice oneself. Practicing a variety of mindfulness techniques can be profoundly beneficial by allowing you to share this skill set through bonding and relaxation.
For more information about mindfulness practices for adolescents, we encourage you to check out the following resources:
- Mindfulness for Teens
- Mindfulness Workbook for Teens: Exercises and Tools to Handle Stress, Find Focus and Thrive
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Teen Anxiety