What would happen if teens were able to go inside themselves and find peacefulness and calm?
According to the neuroscience done by Harvard University, many very positive results would come about. There are many reasons for this including the developmental stage of the adolescent’s brain. Adolescents live in a world where they are living very much in the present and where they are experiencing much emotional upheaval from the hormonal changes they are undergoing. Add to that the current world of technology where instantaneous interruptions are everywhere, their attention spans are getting shorter. All of this quick interaction has taken away our teens ability to understand how to develop meaningful relationships, staying focused and the ability to be calm, Instead, their brains are developing in a manner that is increasing their stress, raising anxiety and increasing violence.
The researchers from Harvard University found that after eight weeks of meditation, the gray cell matter of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion grew, while the area of the brain associated with stress shrank. This study was published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.
By learning how to meditate teens can more effectively regulate emotions, boost their grades all the while reducing their stress and the violence that sometimes accompanies it. Teens can learn how to meditate easily because their minds naturally work in this state of being anyway. Cellular biologist, Bruce Lipton speaks to this great talent teens have for meditation because they are operating from this part of the mind already, also known as the hypnotic state where their brain is operating on the level of alpha and theta brain waves.
Meditation can take on many forms. Dr. Herbert Benson, of Harvard University has developed the Relaxation Response which is one of the easiest methods to use. Turn off any devise that would disrupt you before beginning.
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position
- Close your eyes
- Deeply relax all your muscles starting with your feet, progressing all the way up to your face. An easy way to do this is to tense each muscle group for a second and then relax moving from the feet to the head
- Breathe through your nose. As you breathe out say the word “one’ silently to yourself.
- Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
- If distracting thoughts occur, ignore them and go to your breathing and saying the word “one”.
- Practice will get you to this very relaxed state with little effort. A passive attitude of allowing it to just occur at its own pace will bring you success.
Refrain from eating for 2 hours before meditating because the digestive process seems to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
Even though Dr. Benson suggest 10 – 20 minutes to start, my suggestion is to start at 5 minutes and build up as you get more comfortable with the process.
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