Teens have a lot to manage with school, activities, social media, changing bodies and pressure from many directions. Like the rest of us, teens can benefit from more calm in their lives. But because of where they are developmentally, they may not see the need for it. They probably also lack the ability to reduce their own stress. Follow these A to Z tips to help your teen find a “Zen” state of mind.
ACNE is a fact of life for many teens. Try not to comment on the latest crop of pimples. Offer to get them some cleansers and creams. If their complexion is a considerable issue, take them to a doctor.
Take a deep BREATH. Teach your teen to take a deep breath before responding to an emotional comment. Practice this yourself, at home and at work.
CASH is something teens usually want, and many start part-time jobs to obtain it. The responsibility is good, but ensure that the hours your teen is working are not adding too much stress.
Let the bedroom DOOR be the boundary to their private space and ask before you enter. Close the door if their mess bothers you. Note if this decreases conflict between you.
Stop all ELECTRONICS 30-60 minutes before bed. Light from screens impacts sleep and teens need sleep more than late night texts.
Try a social media FAST. Encourage your teen to take a break from all social media, even if only for a day. Talk to them about how it made them feel.
Teach GRATITUDE. Give your teen a gratitude journal so that he can focus on something positive daily. If he is not a writer, do a daily "what I'm grateful for" with everyone at the dinner table.
HUGS are important for teens even if they claim not to want or need them. Try to squeeze them in when you greet your teen in the morning, after work and at bedtime. Just maybe not in front of friends.
INSPIRATIONAL reading can offer teens comfort from daily stressors. Share material that has inspired you and perhaps your teen will reciprocate.
JUMPING on a trampoline is all the rage these days and there are several places in San Diego County to do it. Jumping relieves stress, boosts coordination, and is good for your heart rate. Join in the fun, if your teen will let you.
Model KINDNESS. Show teens how to treat others and themselves as they would treat their best friend. Praise them when you see them practicing random acts of kindness.
LISTEN to your teen without interrupting or offering advice.
MUSIC is a wonderful way for your teen to unwind. Be receptive to their music choices. If it is too much for you, suggest earphones.
Say NO. Help your teen say no so that they learn how to set boundaries and do not overcommit.
Get them OUTSIDE. Interacting with nature is good for the body, mind and spirit. It is becoming rare, creating a phenomenon called nature-deficit disorder, coined by Richard Louv in his book "No Child Left Inside."
PETS help relieve stress, so encourage your teen to interact with any pets you have. If you do not have pets, can your teen interact or help with someone else's pet? How about volunteering at the local animal shelter?
Is there any QUIET time in your teen's life? Help your teen schedule down time. Think reading, a nap or a serene space that provides respite for the senses in a teen's otherwise stimulating world.
REDUCE caffeine and sugar consumption and teens will likely notice a more consistent level of energy and less agitation in their day.
Make sure your teen SWEATS regularly for her physical and mental health.
TRUST your teen with a new responsibility. What is the next logical step she is ready for? A later curfew?
Help teens manage UNREALISTIC expectations so their lives do not become overloaded or their self-esteem deflated.
Encourage VOLUNTEERING. It will look good on their college applications and it is a wonderful way to step outside this naturally, narcissistic phase. It is also good for the immune system.
Increase WATER consumption. A hydrated body has more energy and simply works better, so encourage teens to up their intake of water instead of other beverages.
What makes your teen EXTRA special? Celebrate and praise her talents often so that she recognizes her uniqueness.
Find a teen YOGA class. There is a style to suit every personality and the mind/body connection is invaluable to teens when they are in such a transitional phase between child and adult.
Lack of ZZZZs is an ongoing issue for teens because biologically their sleep cycles have changed but the world of school has not adapted to it. So cut them some slack if they sleep in on the weekends. Celebrate that they are listening to their bodies.
Sue LeBreton is a freelance writer and mom of two teens. A trained yoga teacher, she is always looking for ways to bring more Zen into her family.