What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of being aware of your mental state, taking care of that mental state, and building habits that benefit your mental state. Mindfulness is about awareness and self-improvement. Mindful people can tell you what they are feeling and where it stems from.
They are more in tune with their emotions, have greater emotional intelligence, and focus on building skills to help them cope during difficult situations.
Adopting a mindful attitude does not happen overnight. It takes consistent practice, awareness, and dedication to become mindful. Like many things, the most difficult part of developing mindfulness is getting started.
To help you develop mindful practices and adopt behaviors that benefit your mental health and emotional intelligence, work with a Positive Presence Mentor-Coach to get started and see real results. 99% of students that worked with Positive Presence Mentor-Coaches reported feeling more confident about their future.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Teens
Teenagers experience life in extremes. Everything is either the best or the worst. The beginning or the end. Teens are still developing their emotional awareness and intelligence, gaining valuable life experience and perspective, and discovering who they are and what is important to them. With all this occurring at once,it can be hard incorporating mindfulness practices that can help keep teenagers feeling grounded, self-aware, and calm.
Mindfulness practices are designed to decrease anxiety and feelings of dread, help build connections through empathy and understanding, and have a more positive outlook on life. Over time, by building mindfulness strategies into daily life, teenagers will notice these benefits become second nature. They will feel more in control of their emotions, more self-aware, and better equipped to handle conflict and challenges.
How to Start Practicing Mindfulness
It is easy to incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily life. Sometimes the brain is a busy place, full of messy ideas and to-do lists. Mindfulness can help refocus and settle the brain.
Mindfulness is about shifting. Shifting your body, shifting your mind, shifting your perspective. Something as simple as changing locations can be a shift. The point is you noticed you were feeling overwhelmed, stressed, overactive, overstimulated, etc – and you did something about it. Sometimes mindfulness seems synonymous with meditation, journaling, therapy, etc. – and although sometimes it is, there are many other ways to incorporate and practice mindfulness.
Remember, mindfulness = awareness.
Here’s a quick check-in you can do to help understand where you are at mentally and emotionally:
What is one word I would use to describe how I feel right now for these four states:
Consider performing a mindful shift if you have more than one negative word associated with these four states.
For more insightful activities, guides, and self-development opportunities, work with a Positive Presence Mentor-Coach.
7 Mindfulness Activities for Teens to Try Today
Get started building your repertoire of mindfulness activities with these suggestions:
- Have a Mindful Snack
Choose a few small snacks with unique textures, colors, or tastes. Some examples include carrots, chocolate, popcorn, crackers, grapes, hummus, chips, pomegranate seeds, etc.
Pick up each small snack individually and (out loud or in your head) describe the texture of the food in your hands. Then, take a bite and describe the sensation of chewing it, describe how it tastes. Move on to each different snack food and do the same. Be as descriptive as possible.
- Heartbeat Exercise
Put your fingers on your neck or wrist and try to feel your pulse. Count how many times your heart beats in a minute. Or, if you have someone you are close enough with, lie your head on their chest and listen to their heartbeat for a few minutes. This can also be done with your furry friend.
- Find the Color
Pick a color, ex: green, and scan the area or room around you and make a mental note of everything you see that is green.
- Do Something that Relieves Stress
- Watch a lava lamp
- Use a weighted blanket
- Use an essential oil diffuser
- Tap Tap Tap
Tapping is believed to help reduce anxiety and stress. You can tap your thighs or arms (lightly) in a methodic motion using one hand at a time. When you feel overwhelmed or want to check in with your emotional state, start this tapping exercise to center yourself and feel calm.
Focus on your breathing. Specifically taking deep breaths in and out.
Breathing slower and more deeply from your stomach signals your nervous system to calm down, helping reduce stress and anxiety.
You can find a guided breathing exercise online, like this one.
Or you can simply do a 4-2-4 breathing count. Breathe in for a 4-count. Hold for a 2 count. Breathe out for a 4-count.
- Set One Achievable Intention
Setting an intention can help you feel focused and accomplished. You can set an intention at any time of day, as many times as you need.
When you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed or needing a check-in, this is the time to consider setting an intention.
Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to accomplish at this moment?’
The answer might be as simple as getting something to eat.
This helps you to focus on a singular task and feel the positive benefits of accomplishment when you achieve that task.
Why Mindfulness Matters
Mindfulness is an easy and approachable way to start building a healthy relationship with yourself. Mindfulness is choosing to be open about how you feel and being present with those feelings without judgment.
Mindfulness is practicing being present in the moment instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. This practice helps increase feelings of calm, peace, optimism, and relaxation.
Positive Presence Mentor-Coaches can help you find the best mindfulness practices that fit your life and work with you to set and reach your goals for your mental health. Learn to work towards feeling optimistic, joyful, and motivated with a Positive Presence Mentor-Coach.