A teenager meditate? Are you kidding?

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“Meditation is boring.”

“I don’t have time to meditate.”

“Meditation is too weird and awkward.”

Dr. Dzung Vo[1] has heard it all. Excuses, hesitations and myths about meditation, especially from teenagers. In this video, Dr. Vo talks about mindfulness - a more accessible activity for teenagers with all kinds of stress reducing, self-awareness raising benefits.

Mindfulness[2] requires you to pay attention, observe, describe, participate and focus on the present.  Learn how to use mindfulness while washing the dishes, walking to class, brushing your teeth or other everyday activities.

The How To’s of Meditation

“Keep your full attention on what you are doing. Continue to breathe mindfully. Every time your mind wanders, simply notice: Where did my mind just go? Whenever stress arises—for example, when you start to think about all the things that you need to do or wish you had done—just come back to your breath. Don’t judge yourself if your mind is wandering; you’re not doing anything wrong. Remember, noticing that your mind wandered marks a moment of mindfulness. Stop, taking three more breaths. Return to the present moment, over and over again.” (Vo, 2015)[3]

For a selection of Dr. Vo's guided meditations, listen here.

 

Dzung X. Vo, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. His medical practice, teaching, and research emphasize promoting resilience in young people to help them thrive in the face of stress and adversity.

Follow the link to watch Dr. Vo lead a mindful moment at the Heart-Mind 2013 Conference.

Published in the American Pediatric Society's Adolescent Medicine State of the Art Reviews (2014), Dr. Vo and colleagues summarize studies on mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions in children and adolscents between 2008 and 2013. They conclude that "Mindfulness with adolescents shows promise in a variety of settings and populations. Positive reports have been published describing improvements in mental health, executive functioning, and emotional regulation, in clinical as well as in school and community settings. Mindfulness practice also seems to be beneficial for adults who work and care for adolescents, including health care professionals, educators, and parents."

Excerpt from the book The Mindful Teen, by Dr. Dzung Vo. 

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.