Personal challenges show up early in our lives, much sooner than we often expect them to. When we hit our teen years, and our hormones kick into full gear, so do our feelings of angst. I remember being a teenage boy and feeling almost paralyzed by anxiousness; like I was incompatible with the rest of humanity. This created a tremendous amount of emotional discomfort and frustration.
One day, I stumbled upon an immensely transformative tool: meditation. As a teen, I started meditating every day, quietly in my bedroom. Little by little, I was able to create the space I needed to breathe, gaining awareness of how I was operating in the world. I’m forever grateful that I chanced upon the tools of mindfulness and yoga, because without them, I wouldn’t have been able to work through my pain and point my life in a new direction.
Almost anyone you ask will have a few good stories about how traumatic their teen years were. It’s a pretty universal human experience: Both teen boys and teen girls obsess over their position in the pecking order, trying to discover each other’s vulnerabilities through relentless verbal jabs, and using sports and the occasional schoolyard scuffle to test each other’s physical strength. It’s tough no matter your gender, but teen boys in particular can find it hard to talk through this emotionally turbulent phase with their peers, due to the pressure society puts on them to act tough and keep their feelings in check.
It’s not possible to avoid the stress entirely — it’s a formative part of life. But wellness practices like meditation and yoga can go a long way in soothing and centering teens through these difficult years.
If you’re a teenager, wondering how mindfulness could help you process some of what you’re feeling, there’s no need to sign up for a yoga class right away (or even tell anyone you’re practicing mindfulness). You can start by finding a few minutes of alone time every day to engage in a basic breathing exercise. I’ve included an easy one below that anyone can begin with. Remember, consistency is the key, so, it’s good to get into a habit of doing this every morning…