on Teen Life
Meet Your New Study Buddy: Mindfulness
Homework. Exams. Exhale! Gina Biegel on how teens can de-stress with mindfulness.
Put simply, mindfulness is about bringing attention to your senses (smell, touch, taste, sound and sight) no matter what you're doing. It applies to brushing your teeth, or walking to class, or engaging in some after school activity. Literally everything provides a new opportunity to be “mindful.”
When you pay close attention to everything you do, without judgment, you open yourself up to seeing everything in life as it is happening in that moment. You begin to wake up to the unfolding of your life. For example, instead of getting somewhere and wondering how you got there, you are actually present to what is occurring while it is taking place.
Doing schoolwork or taking tests mindfully
If you can bring mindful awareness to anything you do, then schoolwork is no exception. Follow these steps to help you center yourself before you begin your homework or take a test. If you find yourself getting tense or stressed while in the middle of your work, you can repeat this process at any time.
You are now ready to begin your test or homework assignment. If you feel stuck, remember that you can take another breath at any time or even repeat the whole process.
- Get into a comfortable sitting position.
- Place your hands in your lap or on your desk.
- Open your ears to the sounds you notice and allow yourself to be in the room right here, right now.
- Place one or both of your hands on your stomach. Without changing your breath, notice how your stomach gently rises on the in-breath and falls on the out-breath.
- Take five breaths, just as they already are, not trying to change your breaths in any way.
- Notice how your body feels.
- If you feel anxious (or have any other feelings that aren’t helpful), take one deep breath. As you release this breath, imagine that you are gently breathing out these feelings.
- Take your next breath and picture ease and peace coming in.
- See yourself taking your entire test or doing all of your homework assignment with ease.
- Imagine yourself gently putting down your pen or pencil when you are done and congratulating yourself on putting forth the effort and doing your best. If you like, you can actually congratulate yourself and even say to yourself that you are intelligent.
You are now ready to being your test or homework assignment. If you feel stuck, remember that you can take another breath any time or even repeat the whole process.
[image via flickr.com/visual.dichotomy]
This blog has been adapted from The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness Skills to Help You Deal with Stress by the blog author.