Taking up the daily practice of meditation may be just what your teen needs to get through high school – deadlines, homework, peer pressure, and standardized testing, etc. – so what I will be sharing may be a lifesaver for your teen.
It was no surprise when I stumbled across this fascinating study done with college students. For two weeks prior to taking the GRE – a more sophisticated SAT used for admissions to graduate school – 48 students elected to be participants in a study to evaluate their working memory capabilities, performance and focus on the reading comprehension passages of the exam. They met four days a week for two weeks and practiced breathing and meditation techniques.
The results from the study revealed that not only did these students diminish their tendency for “mind-wandering”, they ultimately increased their scores on the reading comprehension. The average score on a practice GRE verbal section jumped from 460 to 520. Compound that with quality test preparation, students can’t help but radically improve their test scores.
Remember, there are many other benefits gleaned from meditation such as sleeping better, reducing overall body tension, developing your intuition, connecting to your Higher Self, and of course creating a sense of physical and emotional calmness and well-being.
Scientists believe that the first 5 years of life create the foundation for the rest of life. Similarly, the first minutes of your day are the ‘formative’ minutes of your entire day, setting the ‘tone’ for your day – all the more reason start it with meditation.
You now have a choice: begin with meditation – getting centered and connecting with your higher self, or dive into the chaos of life and all the tasks that ‘must’ be done ‘yesterday’. Which option gives you more peace, even as you read these words?
I’ve heard so many people say “I can’t meditate. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t know how.” I get it. I had to learn how myself. Now that I know how to breathe diaphragmatically – from the abdomen – the quality of my life has improved ten-fold. It is stress reducing and relaxing. (The recommended apps will teach you!)
For those of you who are athletes, it will increase your lung capacity as well as your lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood. Perhaps more importantly, such breathing improves the restorative ability of the body.
My suggestion is to first create an intention to aid in maximizing the personal benefit for you, such as:
“By creating this daily 10 minute space for myself, I will improve my focus and concentration to ensure I get the scores I want!”
Begin by finding 5-10 minutes each morning. Before going to sleep could be another option or better still, an additional option.
Try using one of these apps:
- Stop, Breathe, & Think has a setting to tell you how to meditate as well as time settings varying from 3-20 minutes. It asks you to check in with your emotions and then recommends short guided meditations, yoga and acupressure videos which are tuned to how you feel.
- Calm focuses on mediation and mindfulness using guided meditations.
- Digipil is interesting as it provides meditations that are known as ‘pills’. It helps you change your mood and perception to feel calmer so you sleep better.
- Smiling Mind was developed by a group of adolescent psychologists, so it is expressly focused on aiding the teenage mind.
BONUS EXERCISE: JOURNAL
Journaling after meditation has proven to help reinforce your intention for the day. It’s also a wonderful time to a ‘brain dump’ – getting out on paper whatever is on your mind and/ or asking the universe to guide you during your day. I recommend getting a small spiral notebook and create the habit of journaling for a few minutes each day.