Teaching Teens Mindfulness

Teenagers today face stressors and anxiety-inducing challenges that did not exist a few decades ago, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of school looking different in the fall. Although schools do their best to provide children and adolescents with coping skills, sometimes the important skill of mindfulness cannot fit in the digital, test-centered school curriculums.

The importance of mindfulness

According to Jenn McCullough, a certified mindfulness educator with Toledo Mindfulness Institute (TMI), “Mindfulness as a practice is about noticing, not only what’s around you, but yourself…and being present.” Being mindful helps create a sense of peace, which in turn allows one to better cope with difficult emotions and stress. Additionally, mindfulness helps plant the seeds of compassion and empathy.

Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of ways: mindful breathing, which focuses on various breathing techniques and reflection; mindful movement, such as yoga; mindful walking; and mindful eating. Another practice McCullough teaches is “kindfulness,” which is the offering of kind sentiments to yourself, people you know well, people you don’t know so well, and people who are difficult.

Workshops and camps to practice mindfulness

The Toledo Mindfulness Institute offered its first Mindfulness Camp for Teens at the Buddhist Temple of Toledo last summer and plans to host another this coming summer, which may end up being virtual. The camp taught mindfulness techniques to improve focus and deal with difficult emotions while allowing teens to develop a sense of community with other participants.

Local Toledo schools are also using mindfulness classes and/or yoga as an alternative to detention, such as Sylvania Northview High School, Perrysburg High School and Bowsher High School. This allows students the chance to develop coping skills that in turn allows them to better handle stressful situations.

Those interested in learning more about mindfulness workshops for teens can contact Info@toledomindfulnessinstitute.com or visit ToledoMindfulnessInstitute.com.

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