Kids and teens can easily be bombarded with negative images from the news, movies and computer games, as well as the constant distraction of technology from tv, mobile phones, tablets and other devices. Being silent and still can make them feel bored and uncomfortable or anxious and disconnected, so then they distract themselves with more activity to the point their nervous systems can become overloaded.
Meditation cultivates the resting response our bodies need for optimal heath and healing, as well as improves attention to cognitive abilities such as learning, memory and problem solving. In addition, teaching children to be mindful and live with a greater level of consciousness, helps them to be more present and accepting of their current state of being, as well as less reactive to stressful situations as they become more self aware.
Meditation can help kids & teens
- Recognise their own inner strengths and resources.
- Allow the flow of creativity.
- Understand and manage stress and emotions (and be more open about them).
- Develop an awareness of the importance of mental self care.
- Calm the mind chatter and relax the body to assist with restful sleep.
- Aid focus, concentration and productivity.
Similar to telling your child a bedtime story, meditation helps children use their imagination to switch off and enter into an Alpha state – relaxed but alert.
See our Benefits of Meditation page for a full list of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of teaching Mindfulness and Meditation to kids and teens.
About the Teenage Brain
From around the age of 12 onwards there are significant changes in the adolescent brain that can sometimes be confusing, frightening and isolating, as well as have both beneficial and negative effects:
- Higher motivation to engage more out of life – trying new things, taking greater risks, looking for excitement, focusing on the pros rather than the risks.
- Lower dopamine levels but more of it released at once – feelings of boredom, thrill seeking, need for stimulation.
- Drive for social connection – making new friends, spending more time with them.
- Heightened emotions – impulsive, moody, intense, reactive.
- Expanded sense of consciousness – questioning, exploring.
- Reduction of brain cells and connections (neurons/synapses) – keeping what you think you need from all the information and skills you have learnt since birth and discarding the rest.
- Development of myelin sheath over linked neurons – enables faster, more synchronized and efficient flow of information in remaining neural connections.
Teens are now growing up in a hyperkinetic environment – overloaded by external stimulation and constantly bombarded with the distraction of technology from tv, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, gaming and other devices. No wonder being silent and still can make you feel bored and uncomfortable or anxious!
In addition, with the expectation and pressure to multitask, learn high volumes of information and perform at the mind and body’s maximum capacity for long periods of time (e.g. school then sport), the brain’s neural pathways can become scrambled, making it difficult to focus and concentrate on a single task.
Just being constantly busy can cause excessive stress on our minds and bodies and excessive thinking about the past and the future can cause anxiety and depression. Recent studies have shown that one in seven kids aged between 4 and 17 now has a diagnosed mental illness, 8 adolescents a week are committing suicide (an increase of more than 30% over the last 10 years making it the leading cause of death in kids aged between 5 and 17) and they are three times as likely to be injured or killed in an accident during the ages of 12-24.
The good news is – how they choose to focus their attention throughout this period plays an important part in the growth of the brain and overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing…
“This Meditation has a really safe feeling, it takes you to a whole other world of control and calm. She really helps a lot with my anxiety and worries. For some reason no other Meditations work well for me. But THIS Meditation is the best!”
“Michelle has provided an amazing meditation experience for txeens! When exams and school life is getting a bit hectic, this is a really great way of winding down and focusing on yourself. She has taught me incredible amounts of knowledge that I still use to this day.”
“Teaching children the life skills of mindfulness cultivates a level of self awareness and self discovery. Living moment to moment with a greater level of consciousness enables them to make thoughtful choices and decisions, with kindness and compassion, to themselves, their friends, families, the greater community and the environment.” (Michelle Eckles)