Learning to manage stress with mindfulness
The later years of high school can be stressful for your teen as they manage study, exams and extra-curricular activities. You can support your teen through this time by helping them to manage their stress with ‘mindfulness’ techniques. Here’s how:
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps people to bring their attention to the “here and now” – it is about being aware of your body and its sensations, your emotions and your environment. Everyone has moments when they feel fully awake and present, like when they are watching a sunset or playing sport, but most people are operating on automatic pilot a lot of the time – letting their thoughts and feelings wander without really paying attention to the present moment.
Practising mindfulness can relax your teen’s mind, lower their stress levels and enhance their concentration, cognitive flexibility, attention, empathy and self-awareness. As little as 5 minutes of mindfulness practice first thing in the morning, or after school, can help to improve your teen’s concentration.
Here is how you can encourage your teen to build some mindfulness practice into their day.
First, encourage your teen to take a moment to sit down, take some deep breaths, and consider the following questions:
- How am I feeling?
- Is anything troubling me?
- Do I feel stressed?
- What sensations am I feeling in my body?
- Am I in the present moment or am I thinking about other things?
There are lots of apps and guidance materials available online that your teen can use to help them practise mindfulness.
More stress relief
Other important things you can encourage your teen to do to relieve stress while studying include:
- Taking regular study breaks
- Eating properly
- Getting a good night’s sleep