Mindfulness Exercises for Mental Health
Today’s youth are faced with the burden of stress, anxiety and overwhelm at increasingly younger ages. Mindfulness meditation techniques can assist young people in developing daily routines for cultivating mental and emotional health that will help them to succeed in school and in life.
Anxiety Within Children
Anxiety is an extremely common mental health concern among children. In some, anxiety is not always visible. Some children display their anxiety through nervousness and acting out. However, for many children, anxiety is suffered in silence.
Many children do not have the vocabulary to express their emotions. If a child is feeling chronically stressed or anxious, it can lead to future social-emotional challenges such as depression, social and academic challenges, and even substance abuse.
Mindfulness Meditation is for all Children
Whether or not a child is experiencing anxiety, it is beneficial for all children to practice mindfulness meditation. By gaining social-emotional competency through breathing, stretching, focusing and relaxation techniques, children who struggle with anxiety can learn to cope with their feelings in a healthy way. Those who do not experience feelings of anxiety can still experience benefits and apply these skills to future stress.
Mindfulness Exercises to Target Anxiety
When children experience a stressful event, it is difficult for them to self-regulate and reset. Mindfulness exercises provide children with the skills to stop and reset when facing a difficult situation.
There are quick and easy mindfulness exercises that can help children during challenging situations. For example:
- Examining the environment. Asking children to point out 5 things that they notice in the environment and describe them can deactivate the stress response and engage their parasympathetic nervous system, or ‘rest and digest’ state of being. They can then gain insight into what is causing their emotions.
- Drawing emotions. By assisting a child in understanding the physical appearance of certain emotions, it may help them to better understand how they are feeling inside. This type of exercise raises emotional awareness in children and helps them to better express themselves.
- Quiet time. This involves inviting children to sit quietly for a minute or two while gently focusing on sounds in their environment or the feeling of their breath. When quiet time is complete, they may be asked about what they were thinking about or how they felt during quiet time.
Mindfulness Meditation is a Tool for Success
Mindfulness meditation is beneficial for children of all ages, regardless of whether or not they have underlying mental health challenges. Mindfulness meditation can provide children with the tools to manage their emotions when facing stressful situations. These are tools that they can carry with them throughout life and allow them to thrive in the present and future.
To learn about how Calm Classroom's mindfulness curriculum, visit our homepage.