6 Mindfulness Activities for TeensAdam Brinkman
Parents of teens won’t be shocked to learn that teens deal with both literal and hyperbolic mountains of stress every single day. From social pressures to learning and processing new information to randomly fluctuating emotions, it can be a lot to manage for young adults. They’re in a unique position of having recently been given less supervision and more responsibility, without any of the experience needed to always make the right choices.
One good strategy that can help teens both reduce stress and also learn to think about things in a more considered way is incorporating simple mindfulness practices into everyday life.
Mindfulness practices include any activities that are intended to help a person become more aware (or “mindful”) of their thoughts and feelings and how they physically feel interacting with the world.
Mindfulness activities can help teens gain a deeper understanding of themselves. This means they will know who they are, how they feel, what they want, and what they don’t want. Having this knowledge will help guide them to make the decisions that are most in line with who they are and who they want to be.
1. Body Scan
Your teen might have learned about how to do a body scan in school. A body scan involves finding a comfortable place, closing your eyes, and slowly focusing on one part of your body and then the next until you’ve “scanned” your entire body.
This mindfulness activity is perfect for teens because it’s easy to spend a lot of time focused on your thoughts and a lot of time focused on things about your body without spending much time on how these things interact with each other. This is also a good opportunity to imagine stress evaporating from the body to get to a more relaxed state.
2. Keep a Journal
Journaling is debatably the earliest form of writing, and its benefits can’t be understated. Keeping a journal has been demonstrated to help people reduce stress, manage anxiety, cope with depression, and think through past events and future plans.
Getting started is easy: get your teen a journal app or a paper journal and a nice pen. You can introduce the idea with a video about journaling or a conversation, depending on your teen.
The main idea with journaling for mindfulness is freewriting: write whatever comes into their mind without filtering it or editing as you go. They can read it later at the end of the day, the end of the week, or never read it at all and just use the writing process as a way to process thoughts and emotions!
3. Coloring Is Cool
We heard a rumor that your teen’s favorite actor, musician, or content creator loves spending time with coloring books! Okay, we made that up, and honestly, we’re not sure why anyone would need an excuse to color—especially with all the super fun coloring books available that aren’t for preschoolers and have topics to fit any interest!
Choose a coloring book that fits your teen’s interests or aesthetic preferences and something to color with—colored pencils, markers, crayons, watercolor pens, the options are endless! Rather than letting your mind wander, mindful coloring is about being fully present in the moment and focused on the coloring.
4. Making Mantras
Every few years, a book will come out about the Law of Attraction of the Power of Positive Thinking. This is a great starting point, and it’s where mantras start, too! The difference is that mantras are a mindfulness activity your teen can use to define their intentions and focus their energy on pursuing positive changes.
Mantras can be read, written, thought, spoken, chanted, or sung. The most benefit comes from saying the words out loud so that they are both said and heard. Repetition is the key to an effective mantra: feel and understand the vibrations of every syllable.
To get started, have your teen find a mantra they like or write their own. Next, they should consider their intentions and why the mantra is important to them. Now, they should get into a comfortable position, sitting, standing, or laying down. Finally, they should say their mantra out loud repeatedly. Feel how the words sound. Feel the meaning of the words. Focus their energy into the mantra.
5. Drink Tea
Any drink, snack, or meal is an opportunity for mindfulness practice, but a cup of tea or coffee is ideal because of the ritual involved in making the perfect cup.
No matter how they make it, they should start their mindfulness practice as soon as they get out the kettle and start boiling the water. They should pay attention to the entire process of making and enjoying the tea, feeling the heat of the mug, tasting all the flavors in the tea, and focusing on the quiet joy of sipping tea and allowing the warmth to fill their body.
6. Play Cornhole!
When you started reading this article, we both knew it would come to this, but we’re not kidding: cornhole is a great sport to modify into a mindfulness activity! Your teen can play Cornhole solo, with a partner, or with a group—or make up their own new rules!
To play cornhole mindfully, your teen should move without rushing and fully feel the sensation of choosing a cornhole bag, the sensation of each foot stepping on the ground up to position to throw, the sensation of tossing the bag, the sensation of inhaling or holding your breath as you wait for the bag to land. Repeat until they’ve found your inner zen.
Take your new mindful cornhole practice to the next level by designing your own custom cornhole board from Cornhole Worldwide! All you have to do is submit a request, and one of our digital artists will bring your design to life. We also have hundreds of themed sets if you aren’t interested in designing your own.
Whether your teen’s mindfulness vibe is more about focused physical activities or introspective creative pursuits, there’s no better time than now to introduce them to these effective strategies that will help them manage their daily stress and regulate difficult emotions.