Across the globe, mindfulness meditation is a powerful practice bringing greater peace, compassion and concentration to our teenagers. Mindfulness meditation has been the subject of much scientific research over the past decades. The results of studies by scientists at Harvard, the Mayo Clinic and many other prestigious institutions all indicate the same thing: mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool.
Five of the many benefits of mindfulness meditation for teenagers are:
Lowering stress levels
Teenagers spend many hours a day in a classroom, and often, all their pent-up energy can result in stress and tension which can be expressed in hyperactivity, inattentiveness, etc. Stress can be very harmful to teenagers, whose stress response systems are not fully developed. Mindfulness meditation has been proven to significantly lower stress hormone levels, owing to the degree of mental concentration required, and powerful controlled breathing techniques learned in sessions.
Improving learning abilities
Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation changes the brain structure in regions associated with memory, sense of self, stress, and empathy. One study, carried out by scientists at the University of Massachusetts, used MR images of the brain to show how eight weeks of mindfulness meditation sessions, produced increased grey matter density in the hippocampus, which is vital for learning and memory.
Mindfulness helps teenagers be more in tune with their bodies – to understand and respond to sensations such as hunger or tiredness, as well as feelings such as anger and frustration. Techniques they learn in mindfulness training enable them to manage these sensations and feelings productively, through breathing, self-calming and compassion towards oneself and others. By being more in tune with their biological clock and their emotions, they can take necessary measures before pent up tiredness and emotions result in tantrums and other behavioural problems.
In the United States, various schools have already included mindfulness as part of their daily schedules. Teachers have universally reported positive results, not only on an individual level, but also in relationships between students, and between students and parents. Relaxation and a stronger sense of grounding mean that teenagers ‘snap’ less and can resort to practices such as breathing to calm down a tense situation.
Teenagers get a real buzz when they start improving at meditation and realising they have discovered a skill that will come in handy the rest of their lives. Feeling good about themselves, they are less likely to indulge in behaviours which are harmful to others, including bullying.
Stress has serious consequences for the health of children and adults alike so the earlier we learn to keep it under control, the better.
The seven-day intensive Special Yoga for Special Children course will give you the tools to support children in regulating their emotions, relaxing and growing into strong, compassionate and kind adults. Click here for more information.
Writer: Sally James