Teen suicide. Substance abuse. Bullying and fights. Although seemingly unrelated, these all too frequent epidemics are plaguing today’s schools; and, frequently, they seem to spring from a single common source.

Kids are finding it tough to cope these days; the challenging, sometimes stifling demands of peer pressure and academic performance placing undue stress on their sensitive psyche.

In order to combat these issues—and, for that matter, the feelings of anger, frustration, and sometimes out and out hopelessness that accompany them—many school districts are offering mindfulness sessions in school.

Mindfulness involves the teaching of techniques like breathing and meditation to help people calm themselves and control their emotions.

Here is how you and your teen’s teacher can put mindfulness to work for them:

  1. Guide the teen in the commission of deliberate deep breathing exercises. The phrase “Stop and take a good deep breath,” never has been more applicable. The simple act of stopping, falling silent, and taking a good, deep breath can do much to center and calm a frenetic teen; especially if they happen to be in the throes of an anxiety attack, when the simple process of breathing becomes strained and difficult.
  2. Learn more about yoga and meditation. These sacred, time-honored arts have been utilized for centuries to bring peace, balance and happiness to people of all ages. Through instructional classes, books and videos, you can learn the principles and practices of yoga and meditation; passing this information on to your troubled teen. Teachers can lead meditative sessions in the classroom, and physical education teachers might integrate yoga into daily fitness regimens. Parents can morph a good yoga or meditation session into an enjoyable family activity.
  3. Encourage self-reflection. Train your teen to reflect on and contemplate their problems and stressors; also to discuss these issues with parents and teachers, so that you can work together to find healthy and workable solutions.
  4. Teach and encourage your teen to express themselves. When teens are empowered to release their tensions and frustrations in constructive and highly creative manners, then they no doubt will feel calmer, more centered, and more in control of their emotions. If they can sing a song instead of scream, draw a picture instead of take a drug, write instead of cut, etc., then they will develop a positive and intensely constructive outlet for their emotions.

Form a mindfulness team with your teen. When you meditate, breathe or draw/write/sing with the troubled teen, then you will bring the divine circle of mindfulness to its completion—to the benefit of both of you