My fellow men and my friends, pay attention. We need to confront the elephant in the room—our mental health. We’ve built fortresses around our emotions, impenetrable even to those who want to help us the most, each brick laid with cultural expectations and age-old myths about what a “real man” should be. It’s high time we had this conversation.
The Emotional Straitjacket
Men are often bound by what I call an “emotional straitjacket,” a restrictive social construct that silences emotional expression. Picture this—you’re at a pub, or at a golf course, surrounded by your friends, but would you dare bring up that you’re struggling with anxiety? I thought not. We keep it light, maybe even share some ‘locker room talk’; we’ll talk sports, technology, business, women, or politics, but emotions? Rarely do we dig deep into our emotions. Ask yourself: why does that feel awkward? Look, this emotional straitjacket does more than just keep us from seeking help when we need it most; In the long run, it also clips our wings, preventing us from soaring to new heights of success.
So, next time you’re with your friends, consider sharing one thing that has been bothering you recently. Test the waters of emotional openness.
The ‘Man-Up’ Syndrome
You’re likely familiar with the phrase ‘Man up.’ This well-intended but often harmful message suggests that showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. However, the reality is that asking for help when you’re struggling emotionally isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s an act of courage and maturity. If the idea of professional therapy seems daunting, remember that these are experts trained to help you navigate emotional complexities. While it’s true that there can be wait times in the healthcare system, you don’t have to navigate this period alone. Your circle of trusted friends, mentors, or support groups can offer interim emotional support. If you can find a ‘match’ 100 miles away by swiping right, surely you can find help when it comes to mental health. Seeking help is not an admission of defeat, but a step towards a fuller, healthier life.
Do this today, Identify a trusted person in your life, whether it’s a friend or family member, and practice showing vulnerability. You can start small—discuss a recent challenge and how it made you feel
Physical Strength vs. Emotional Resilience
I get it, the gym is the modern man’s sanctuary. And who wouldn’t want a ripped physique and washboard abs? Every time you see a bad breakup story on social media, the guy’s friend’s first comment is “See you in the gym in the morning, King”. But consider this—can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away? It’s a short-term relief and yes it has its value. Physical strength, though empowering, is only one facet of being a man. It doesn’t automatically bestow emotional resilience. Trust me; I’ve seen men who can deadlift twice their body weight but are paralyzed by the weight of their unspoken fears. The latest stats are startling:
- More than 4 times as many men as women die of suicide in the US
- 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health
- 20 to 25% of men develop substance abuse in their lifetime.
- At home in Canada, on average, approximately 3,000 men take their own lives each year.
I reject this delusion. Don’t let the societal molds inhibit you, my brothers —luxury cars, ripped abs, glorification of guns and violence, substance-fueled escapades, body count tally—are merely fake facades. True Kingship-true leadership strikes a balance between staying physically fit, emotionally strong, and spiritually fulfilled. Achieving this balance can positively impact all other dimensions of your life—financial stability, fulfilling relationships, career satisfaction, and a harmonious home life.
Mindfulness: A Route to Healing
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword, nor is it a new-age gimmick (although it may seem so because of the commercial wave of advertisements and apps), it’s a scientifically proven age-old way of living. In today’s day and age, it’s a lifesaver. Meditating every morning has turned my life around. In my journey, I have taught this to many and I’ve seen it do wonders for other men too. It teaches you to watch your thoughts without judgment and to face your emotions without letting them overwhelm you. And hey, if you’re unsure how to start, give me a shout. I offer a solid beginner’s guide to mindfulness that could be your gateway to a healthier mind and life.
Try dedicating just 10 minutes today to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Notice how it feels and consider making it a daily habit. If you want to start, you can read here.
Can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away?
The company you keep can make or break your mental health. In my life, I’ve realized that true strength often comes from meaningful relationships. The idea that men should be lone wolves is outdated. Honestly, if you read history deeply, you will know, right from the kings of the past and army generals of the last century, it never was really true. Engage with friends and family, and create a circle where it’s okay to talk about how you’re really doing. Maintain relationships that contribute positively to your mental well-being. There’s power in unity; remember that.
Build trust by caring for those in your circles—work, school, sports clubs, friends, and family. As you show care, others will gradually open up to you, making it easier for you to share as well
Break the Mold, Break the Silence
It’s time to tear down these paralyzing stereotypes that shackle us to outdated notions of masculinity. Let’s embrace a balanced, realistic form of masculinity that includes emotional openness, compassion, and the willingness to seek help. If you’re like me, struggling at times but willing to change, make that decision now. Reach out, break the silence, and let’s initiate change from within. Just as we are influenced by societal norms, we can be the influencers of new, healthier norms. By creating spaces where emotional openness is the rule, not the exception, we can inspire others in our community to join us on this important journey.
One last thing
Before I let you go, I will ask you to write down, what is the one thing that you will do from tomorrow onwards to improve your mental health. Just one thing. Write down in your notebook, phone reminder, or your bathroom mirror. And start doing it. if there is anything I can help with, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you all the best in this journey we call life, my friends.
There are approximately 2500 online meditation services available, each with its own unique features and benefits. At a high level, there are a number of ways one could categorize these services. Below is what makes sense to me to dissect this service industry:
- Western and Eastern services
- Religious inclined services
- Platform-based communities
- Personality based services
- Research-based services
The best online meditation service for you ultimately depends on your preferences, unique journey, and specific needs. Here are the categories in detail.
1. Western and Eastern:
Remember that purpose of most of the online services is very similar. The only difference between Platforms is the targeted customers and mediation techniques and practices.
a) Western Lens: Medito, Smiling Mind, the mindfulness app, Headspace, and Calm, are apps that capture most of the market in the West. Most of the apps have greatly simplified the UI, which is very pleasing to the eyes and easy to navigate. Calm and Headspace have been two of the most successful apps in the last 7 years. Depending on how you define the success; in this case the number of downloads, ratings, online reviews, and awards.
b) Eastern Lens: Satva, Art of Living, Patanjali and Dhyana. These services have elements of Eastern philosophies. Remember the concept of meditation rooted in the Eastern philosophies of Yoga, Vedic Culture, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. These apps also include mystic elements, festivals, and rites and rituals as a comprehensive offering. Another important point to consider is that Eastern philosophies, such as Raja yoga or the practice of Dhyana in Buddhism, outline a path from an ordinary human to divine realization. It involves not only dedicating one or two hours of daily meditation but adopting a complete lifestyle aimed at uncovering the inherent divinity within oneself. It’s worth noting that sometimes online resources may offer a simplified or diluted version of these teachings.
2. Religious based:
a). Amen is an excellent example of a religious-based app. The app roots in Christian philosophy. It has a variety of meditations, daily worship, and scripture readings. It also has a community element called groups. Perfect who wants to meditate and believes meditation is not a foreign idea or philosophy. Abide, Pray.com, and Soultime are other options that offer a range of guided meditations, stories, and Bible-based reflections.
b). Muslim Pro is another app that roots in Islamic tradition. It offers features such as prayer times and Qibla direction. Muslim Pro also includes a meditation feature called “Tasbih Counter.” This feature allows users to engage in a form of Islamic meditation by reciting specific phrases or names of Allah while keeping count using a digital tasbih. Ruqyah are a few other options for you if you are interested. Dhikr and Dua as the name suggest it is focused on prayers and remembering god, this again is another meditative path. Quranic is mostly a Quran app, which is beautiful in its own way, but also has a section called Reflection that encourages mindfulness and meditation.
c). Jewish Meditation: Jewish Meditation is an app developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. It offers a variety of guided meditations and contemplative practices inspired by Jewish teachings and traditions. The app includes meditations for different purposes, such as mindfulness, gratitude, and inner peace. A few others are, the Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis and Sefaira
3. Personality-based meditation services
There are some meditation teachers who either started the journey of the digital world early on and/or introduced meditation to a certain geography. Then there are other teachers who developed certain meditation practices either by learning from a guru, a Spiritual awakening, or research. They all have their unique value proposition, and depending on where you are in your journey and what your beliefs are you will find yourself gravitating towards one or the other. Below is the list in no particular order. Deepak Chopra, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sadhguru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Transcendental Meditation (Mahesh Yogi), Kriya Yoga (Yogananda Paramhansa), Ekhart-Tolle are a few names with concrete and credible footprint.
There are also a variety of local & regional meditation practitioners each with their own unique message. If your preference is to have someone guide you in a personalized, one on one manner, this may be what you are looking for to open you up to the world of meditation. Also, I have been teaching holistic lifestyle for about 16 years with documented benefits of RHR going down, increased VO2 max, better sleep, and less anxiety and stress, impacting thousands of lives both professionally and professionally. Meditation and mindfulness is a very important part of it. I will be happy to help should you need any guidance.
4. Platform-based communities
There are many platforms where community leaders, meditation teachers and influencers run meditation services. You can find many rooms on Clubhouse, and many servers on Discord that focus on meditation and mindfulness. On the other hand, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are other places where people have groups and channels where meditation is provided. Sometimes, these services are free and sometimes at a cost. Insight Timer is an app that brings teachers from all backgrounds and walks of life to its platforms. You can pick and choose what fits your taste, style and where you are in the journey of mindfulness. In my experience, I have seen some genuine people/communities sincerely trying to share and learn.
5. Research-based meditation services
Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, and Aura are a few examples where meditation sessions are research-backed. Sri Sri’s Sudharshan Kriya and Sadhguru’s meditation is also has been extensively studied by the likes of Harvard with proven physiological and mental benefits. Generally, these companies have tie-ups with universities (or in-house) where different meditation techniques are studied and scientifically researched. Last, when I checked I remember Headspace had about 25 different research studies going on with various universities. And when the positive outcome is concluded they are launched for the general population.
In the end, I would like to add, there is a gap in the ecosystem for people who would like to go deeper in the journey. These apps are designed (or overtime they got developed this way) for the broad interest in meditation. But unfortunately they leave people, who want to advance in their journey, hanging. In my last one year of research I haven’t found a many people who started using the apps, and continue to use it. Over 4 to 6 months on an average, customers fall off. On the other hand, if you are starting your journey or want to try various different paths, I will highly recommend exploring the features and trial versions of these apps to see which one resonates with you the most. Almost all the services provide you with a free trial to try one or two sounds, chantings, stories, journeys, or meditations. Keep in mind that personal preferences and compatibility with the teaching style, interface, and available content are essential factors in choosing the best online meditation service for you. If you are confused, and still need help, please reach out email@example.com. I will be happy to help. I wish you all the very best in your journey.
Image: Apple.com (screenshot)
It was in Edinburgh, just after university, where I had my first internship at a company called SFX. During the lunch break, I was telling everyone about how cool my new iPod Nano is. Being a product person from the heart, I have always admired how Apple products have a sense of ‘knowing you’. At the time, I didn’t even know much about product management or user design, experience, etc. But I was very impressed by the simplicity of use, and its intuitiveness. It got the work done and had a sense of privilege using it. As a student, that was the only Apple product I could afford and I surely was enjoying/bragging about it.
Years down the line, spending time in the hi-tech industry, and more importantly observing society change, I have come to understand many of these innovations have not done justice to the holistic ‘customer journey’. A typical customer journey is, for example, the customer gets to a website or an app, browsing to purchase a product/service, selects one to put in the cart, and then goes through the checkout and purchases it. From a holistic perspective, we should question how the customer was feeling prior to arriving at the app, during the in-app journey, after signing out, and then the implication of that service or product that the customer purchased? Maybe 20 years ago, it didn’t matter so much, but today when these innovations are unintentional enablers, in the guise of convenience, independence, and individuality, in creating physical distance among friends and families, a good product manager will think of it.
Of course, a healthy argument can be made that it is none of my business or that it’s up to the users. Any product company might say that, and this will not be invalid. If someone harms themselves after seeing their team lose a football match on TSN, it is not the fault of TSN. I submit to this argument. But there is something bigger at play here. Since the arrival of various handheld technologies, social media, and the plethora of apps, mental health issues are on the rise at an unprecedented rate. Loneliness is huge in today’s day and age. Some Anecdotes:
- South Korea is offering isolated young people $500 a month to get them to leave their homes and reconnect with society.
- Britain has had a loneliness minister in the Government from pre-pandemic times.
- NYTimes reported at any moment, about one out of every two Americans is experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. This includes introverts and extroverts, rich and poor, and younger and older Americans.
- Eye coordination with hand gestures, topped with Siri integration, will lead to a very smooth user experience. This is one thing that other players in the industry never are able to take advantage of – the ecosystem.
- The see-through headsets, where you can still talk to someone while you have them on.
- Digital Avatars. Yes, it looks very realistic. If you remember Animojis World. Clearly, they were working on this for quite some time.
- A good AR implementation with real-world awareness.
- 4k resolution for each eye. and 3D will look proper 3D with surround sound for your ears. Amazing.
What I don’t know yet.
- How heavy is the headset?
- How much fatigue will it cause? Physical head and neck fatigue and also eye strain. When I used AR Glasses from North, a company purchased by Google later on, had a huge eye fatigue. Similarly, when I used Oculus a few years ago, it was clunky, not comfortable to use, and pixelated.
Look, having said all this, as I said above, Apple is good at product execution. I am sure, purely from the product innovation and implementation, they have done a great job and are leading the way.
But in what direction?
A direction that has caused serious damage to people. Now Apple created a portal (Vision Pro) through which all the apps and services, with functions and features that are well-researched on addiction, gamification, performative magic, social engineering, persuasive design, and behavioral economics will start coming through.
It starts to become dark/questioning when the goal of these features is to keep you in the app for as long as possible. And now, with Vision Pro, the persuasion will be exponentially high because of the Convenience and Pleasure factor.
I see two ways forward. Maybe three, let’s see.
- Apple Leadership starts coming out with products and features that ‘actually’ does something for loneliness.
- All the apps and functionalities that are designed for Vision Pro, pass through some sort of ‘Mindfulness by Design’ framework. So it’s not an afterthought but from the get-go.
- Users themselves get smart and are able to minimize the time and usage of these products. So they are the masters of it and not the other way around. We know this hasn’t worked so far.
I would love to know your thoughts. What do you think will be the impact of a device like this in society? And what can be done to mitigate that?
In one of my previous companies, one day, all the employees received an email from HR. This was regarding the Journey of one of the Senior Executives, who has just been promoted to C-Suite. In the email, the other executives’ verbatims were mentioned. One clear theme that emerged was how this person is able to work almost 24 hours a day. I very vividly remember someone had said, “he was out with us till 4 in the morning; I barely made it to the 8 am meeting but he was already ready with the presentation ready and good to go”. Although at the time Sleep hadn’t become such a big issue as it is now, I felt there was something off with the example and pitch, and tone. I grew up learning your body is a temple, a balanced diet, and a well-rested mind is much more productive.
We live in a world that glamorizes the “hustle” culture, the value of quality sleep is often undervalued, if not entirely overlooked. However, sleep’s undeniable influence on leadership abilities has begun to break through research papers and practical examples. Sleep, as it turns out, is not just a biological necessity but a significant ingredient in the recipe for successful leadership.
When we think of successful leaders, we often picture individuals with relentless energy, boundless creativity, and unshakeable resilience. While these qualities are indeed cornerstones of effective leadership, they are intrinsically linked to one often underestimated, yet crucial, factor— Good Quality Sleep. Sleep has the power to shape successful leaders, from the bedroom to the boardroom.
The Sleep-Leadership Connection
The first step towards understanding the connection between sleep and leadership is recognizing that sleep isn’t merely a passive state of rest. It’s an active period of rejuvenation for our bodies and minds. to A good night’s sleep is integral to Cognitive functioning, Memory consolidation, Emotional Regulation, and Creativity—elements that are crucial to leadership.
In a 2017 McKinsey survey, 43% of leaders reported not getting enough sleep at least four nights a week. McKinsey also concluded that leaders who get adequate sleep tend to be significantly more effective in their roles, meaning taking the right decisions, progressing in their careers, and setting leadership examples for the team and organization. This isn’t surprising when you consider that sleep deprivation negatively impacts cognitive functions such as decision-making, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving, key competencies in leadership.
Sleep and Decision Making
One of the biggest elements in Leadership is making the decision. The higher up you go, the more complex the situations get. And more often than not, these are not technical problems; these require probability, logic, people skills, navigating uncertainty, and time crunch. Numerous studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation significantly slows the area of the brain that helps in the above dimensions. It impairs our ability to assess situations accurately, calculate risks, consider the long-term implications of our actions, and deal with uncertainty.
On the other hand, a good night’s sleep not only helps replenish our mental stamina but also provides a clearer perspective on the challenges at hand. It gives us the mental clarity to weigh our options, foresee the consequences of our actions, and make decisions that drive our teams and organizations forward.
Sleep and Creativity
Creativity is another important quality that leaders need to navigate the complexities of the modern business world. It’s what drives innovation, helps solve complex problems, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Research suggests that REM sleep—the deep, dream-filled phase of our sleep cycle—plays a significant role in boosting creativity.
During REM sleep, our brains are highly active, processing information from the day, making sense, forming neural connections, and consolidating memories. This period of rest allows our minds to make unusual and abstract connections that might not be possible in our waking hours, thereby nurturing our creative capacities.
Sleep and Emotional Intelligence
Effective leadership isn’t just about making good decisions and coming up with creative solutions. If you are the top leader in your company, community, or what have you, people management is 80% of the task. People management means understanding their emotions, priorities, skill sets, and dynamics among them and navigating appropriately. Studies show that lack of sleep can make us more susceptible to negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and frustration, hindering our ability to connect with others on an emotional level.
Conversely, quality sleep equips us with greater emotional resilience. Well-rested leaders are more likely to exhibit empathy, maintain composure in stressful situations, and build stronger relationships—traits that inspire trust and respect among their teams.
In conclusion, one certain path to successful leadership starts in the unlikeliest of places—your bedroom. A good night’s sleep is more than a biological necessity; it’s a strategic tool for becoming a better leader. So, the question arises how to sleep better? If you are a student or a young professional I will highly recommend you read “How to sleep better”, an article I wrote some time back. If you are a leader, I have developed a set of unique techniques, which I will be happy to share. In the end, remember, every moment of Good Sleep is a step toward becoming a more effective leader, from the Bedroom to the Boardroom.
Children, you tell them something to do, pretty much guaranteed, they will do the opposite. And even if they do as you ask, it’s only a matter of seconds, they will move on to the next stuff. Honestly, this is okay. actually, you want this; this is what really means to be children. But meditation is a gift that you want them to learn. It is more important than giving them a holiday ticket to Paris, a Mustang, or anything like that. Meditation will stay and guide them entire their life. So what to do? Below are a few things that are proven to help:
- Don’t tell them the moon is shining; show them the glint of light on broken glass: Don’t tell them to do meditation. Do it WITH them. It takes 10 minutes. Start there. Do it with them.
- Kids are outward-focused, so make a small ritual out of it: Fix a place in the house. Fix a time. burn some candles or light some incense sticks, and get some plants or meditation pillows. And do it together.
- Keep it short: Children have shorter attention spans than adults, so it’s best to keep meditation sessions short and simple. Start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable with the practice.
- Start with Stories: Maybe engage them first with the stories. Give them 5 to 7 minutes of stories, with meditation music in the background, and then do meditation with them for 10 minutes. Stories transport the soul, they have the power of narration. Do that and then start the meditation.
- Use props: Children may be more engaged in meditation if they have a special object or prop to focus on. For example, you could have them hold a small stuffed animal or a special rock while they meditate. If they are older (12 years or older), they can focus on the flame of the candle. Breathe in, hold, breathe out. Keep the candle at chest height at about 3 feet of distance.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to meditation. Try to establish a regular meditation routine with your child, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. This will help them develop the habit and see the benefits of meditation over time
I wish you all the very best in giving your children the best gift of their life.
Meditation is when you sit quietly, in the stillness, and disconnect from the ever-changing craziness of the world. And when you come back you are more centered, have clarity of thoughts, able to see thru what is important to focus your energies on and what is not. It is a practice that is around for thousands of years. However, many people wonder if meditation is suitable for teenagers. The answer is yes; a big Yes. It is not only suitable but also needed for today’s teens. Meditation brings along a plethora of benefits.
Never before in history Parents and teenagers have been so disconnected. Call it technology, busy schedules, overburden on individuality, choice overload, or a cut-throat capitalistic environment, Meditation is that silver bullet that connects teenagers with their deeper Selves and not futile comparisons to tik-tok models or peer groups.
The teenage years are a time of immense change and growth, both physically and mentally. If instilled, the habit of meditation at this age, it will help them entire their lives. Teenagers often face a lot of pressure, whether it is from academic expectations, social pressure, or simply figuring out who they are as individuals. Meditation can help teenagers cope with these pressures and navigate the challenges that come with this phase of life. Research has shown that meditation can improve attention, focus, and concentration, which are essential skills for academic success. Additionally, it can help teenagers manage stress and anxiety, which can have a significant impact on their mental health. Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve overall well-being.
Meditation can also improve emotional regulation, which is particularly important during the teenage years when emotions can be intense and unpredictable. By practicing meditation, teenagers can learn to identify and manage their emotions in a healthy way, reducing the risk of impulsive behaviors or other negative outcomes.
If you are above 12 start meditating; and parents, teachers, and caregivers should encourage teenagers to give it a try. Esp for parents, do it with them. 10 minutes a day and you will see you are connecting with your child on a much deeper level. By helping to incorporate meditation into their daily routine, parents and teachers will lay the foundation for a healthier, more balanced life
When you are on a retreat, you get away from the hustle and bustle of the world, follow a certain routine, and be with nature. Depending on what kind of retreat you go to, you will have different experiences; you will learn self-reflection, meditation, spiritual advancement, yogic techniques, or physical relaxation approaches. One common theme all the retreats have is they bring a pause in busy life and give a perspective on your life, work, and journey. When you really get in the weeds of life, getting a pause, a mindfulness retreat is uniquely valuable. Think of it this way: you stop rowing for some time, come up to the deck of the ship and decide the direction where you want to go before you go down to row. Mindfulness retreats are valuable for everyone but more so for teenagers.
Teens are the future of our civilization. Full of energy, hope, and strength. They think differently, big, and limitless. With them, they bring the power to change, the courage to do things, and the determination that it can be done. I for one see the Sunrise of a better future in our teens. However, teens are also under a lot of pressure to succeed in academics, extracurricular activities, and social relationships. They are constantly bombarded with information from their smartphones, social media, and other digital devices, making it difficult to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness retreats for teens offer a way for young people to take a break from their hectic lives, connect with themselves and others, and learn valuable life skills.
Mindfulness and its benefits
Mindfulness is a way to bring the mind, awareness, and sense of engagement to the present moment. One of the great Yogis of the past said, whatever happened has happened, and what hasn’t happened yet, why worry about it? Life only exists in the present moment; Mindfulness takes you there.
Regular practice of mindfulness helps in the overall development of teens’ personalities. From the lens of academics, Mindfulness designed for teens helps in better memory, problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and time management. There is another article I wrote explaining the benefits of Mindfulness for teens in detail.
What do Mindfulness Retreats for Teens include?
Every mindfulness retreat is different based on the size, location, focus, duration, theme, and staff it has at the venue. Some retreats are set in nature such as the ocean, rivers, mountains, forests, etc., some retreats are silent retreats and some are more adventurous. Retreats can vary from a 1-day retreat to all the way 10 days (or even longer). You have to pick the ones that align best with your current stage and goals.
Mindfulness retreats for teens can include immersive experiences, group activities, meditation, breathing, self-reflection, activity with nature, manifestation, etc. Love, empathy, and compassion are other important elements that are included in the retreats for teens.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Retreats for Teens:
- Reducing Stress, and Anxiety: Teens today are under a lot of social and academic pressure, which can lead to stress and anxiety. Mindfulness retreats offer an opportunity to disconnect from the heaviness of daily life and bring clarity to life and purpose, which can reduce stress and anxiety levels. If there is an accomplished teacher, teens will learn a lot about ancient yogic stories and lifestyle that brings abundant meaning to life.
- Promoting self-reflection: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop self-awareness and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, without any judgment. The ability to reflect on themselves without any judgment brings about creative and problem-solving skillset. This is very valuable for personal growth and development.
- Improving attention and concentration: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, have been shown to improve attention and concentration. These skills can be valuable for teens as they navigate their academic and personal lives.
- Developing emotional regulation skills: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop skills to regulate their emotions, such as identifying and labeling emotions, accepting emotions without judgment, and responding in a constructive way. As teens grow up in the real world, working with others in collaboration is an extremely critical skill set. Ability to not only understand your own thoughts but also of others will set future leaders apart.
- Building connections with others: Mindfulness retreats for teens offer an opportunity to connect with other young people who share similar interests and values. These connections can be valuable for building a sense of community and support.
- Promoting self-reflection: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop self-awareness and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can be valuable for personal growth and development.
How to choose the right mindfulness retreat?
If you are interested in attending a mindfulness retreat for teens, there are a few important elements to consider while choosing a program:
- Length: Consider how long the program is and whether it fits with your schedule and needs.
- Location: Think about where the retreat is located and whether it is accessible to you.
- Content: Look into the retreat’s content and whether it aligns with your interests and goals.
- Instructors: Research the instructors who will be leading the program and their qualifications and experience.
- Language: It’s always good to make sure that language aligns with what you are comfortable with. If the instructor speaks your first language, it’s always a plus. The concepts when understood in the native language, really sink in.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the program and whether it fits within your budget. Most expensive does not necessarily mean the best.
- Reviews: Look for reviews from past participants to get an idea of their experience and whether they would recommend the program. Depending on how important is this for you, have a chat with previous attendees.
Mindfulness retreats for teens offer a valuable opportunity to take a break from the stresses of daily life, connect with oneself and others, and develop valuable life skills. I will highly suggest schools, NGOs and community centres shoulder some responsibility to arrange and organize Mindfulness Retreats for teens in their area. These retreats can be a powerful tool for promoting mental health and well-being and can help teens develop skills to navigate the challenges of adolescence and beyond. If you are interested in attending a mindfulness retreat, be sure to research different programs and choose one that aligns with your interests and goals.
Mindfulness is a way to bring the mind, awareness, and sense of engagement to the present moment. One of the great Yogis of the past said, whatever happened has happened, and what hasn’t happened yet, why worry about it? Life only exists in the present moment; Mindfulness takes you there.
Teens are at that stage where they are growing in all facets of life: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They are learning to navigate relationships, academics, parental and family expectations, and cultural norms. The rise in Social media, the overwhelming news, and choice overload are other challenges that they are going through which the generation prior did not.
When faced with all these growing difficulties, focusing and excelling in academics becomes challenging. Mindfulness is proven to help teens to perform better in many different dimensions of academics. In this article, I will bring forward the benefits of mindfulness on various aspects related to academics and I will touch upon a couple of simple yet effective mindfulness practices for teens.
Memory is an essential aspect of academic success for teenagers. The ability to remember and retain information is crucial for learning, and comprehension. However, many teenagers struggle with memory issues, which can be caused by stress, anxiety, or lack of focus. When teens practice mindfulness, they learn to focus their attention on the task at hand, which improves their ability to remember and retain information. The mind can only do one thing at a time, and when done with full attention the information is comprehended. Once any topic is properly digested, it stays with you.
Mindfulness brings the ability to look at things as they are. It enables a holistic view of the problems. When the mind learns to be a witness, it sheds the prejudices and judgments. This in turn brings about a state where teens break free from any limiting beliefs or preconceptions that may be blocking their ability to generate new ideas or perspectives. Many a time in the real world, problem-solving, happens in collaboration with others and not in a silo. More on it in the next section.
Mindfulness practices help teens develop empathy by encouraging them to be more aware of their own thoughts and emotions, as well as the thoughts and emotions of others. When teens practice mindfulness, they learn to be more present and attentive to their surroundings, which can help them better understand the perspectives and needs of their peers. This helps them become more empathetic and supportive collaborators, which leads to more effective teamwork.
Regularly practicing Mindfulness develops the ability to go deeper into the topics. Ability to stay engaged with the topic for a longer duration. Mindfulness gives teens the ability to focus their minds. This opens up all the facets of the topic, understanding the first and second derivates that arrive from the topic and comprehending the pros-cons related to it. And As a great yogi once said, “The power of minds is like the rays of the Sun, the more focused they are more they illumine. This Universe is ready to give its secrets if only you know how to knock. The power of knock comes through focus and ability to stay engaged”.
Mindfulness is a very powerful tool to increase communication skills. Teens are always on the go, sometimes it is the assignments, classwork, sports, friends, or family functions. And when life is in this mode, the communication aspect of life can not remain untouched by this. Mindfulness brings that pause, it makes you more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, which helps you communicate more effectively. It brings the pause before the conversation, the engagement during the conversation, and reflection post-conversation. It also helps tremendously to become a great listener and generate genuine empathy. All of the above results in effective communication with classmates, friends, teachers, parents, and career coaches. Another aspect of communication is to express; it may be through presentations, seminars, talks, articulating an argument in class or just talking with friends. Because mindfulness helps to deeply understand the topic the art articulation starts springing up on its own.
For time management, there are a plethora of tools and techniques out there. Teens can pick and choose what works for an individual. But Mindfulness addresses more fundamental psychological and behavioral aspects of managing time. When the mind gives undivided attention to one task, it gets done efficiently. When the mind has the clarity of the task/s, the time it will take, and the expected outcome of it, the task is accomplished in a more holistic way. Mindfulness also brings a sense of respecting oneself. This element of self-respect brings about routine and discipline in life. It is this discipline that makes adhered to any sort of time management technique that you follow.
Among all the benefits of mindfulness, creativity has its own mystic place. Creativity is a process that involves imagination, innovation, and generating novel ideas. Mindfulness practices such as visualization and guided imagery can help teenagers develop their imagination and creativity. By imagining new possibilities and exploring different perspectives, teenagers can expand their creative horizons and generate fresh ideas. It also helps develop a more experimental mindset that is open to trying new things and taking risks. By embracing the uncertainty and ambiguity of the creative process, teenagers can explore new ideas and approaches without fear of failure.
Overall, there are many types of research that suggest that mindfulness practice can be a powerful tool for improving academic performance in teenagers. One study conducted by the University of British Columbia found that mindfulness practice led to significant improvements in academic performance among high school students. The study involved a group of 95 students who were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness-based stress reduction program or a control group. After eight weeks, the students in the mindfulness group showed significant improvements in their grades, compared to the control group.
Two Mindfulness Activities for Teens
Every morning sit down for 10 minutes for deep breathing. Each breath should take you 30 seconds. Inhale, hold, and exhale. Be as Gentle, as slow, and as deep as possible. so in total 20 breaths. 20 breaths a day will do miracles in life. Within two to three weeks, you will start seeing above mentioned benefits trickling in.
Spend time in nature. All of the existence came from the stillness and will merge back into the stillness. Nature reminds us of the stillness. Spend an hour a week or an afternoon every weekend in nature. With the sky, forests/trees, rivers, lakes, ocean, or mountains. They have been there for thousands of years and will stay there for many more to come. This experience connects with the deeper self.
Daily Mindfulness practice improves attention, memory, and cognitive abilities; it reduces stress and anxiety and develops important life skills. Mindfulness can help students achieve their full potential in and out of the classroom. I wish you all the very best.
3 steps to get back on feet after a mass Layoff
Step back and Examine
- Answering this question will make this journey a little straight or a little curvy. And both are good.
- If you are happy in your industry or job function and you see yourself like that in long term, great. Go to section
- If not let us carry on below.
2. Your Passion
- What are you passionate about?
- What exactly can you do in the function or industry?
- Is this industry or function growing, stagnant, or shrinking?
These questions will narrow down your next steps. Below are two examples to assist you:
I am passionate about the music industry, I would like to be a financial analyst, and this industry is growing at 4% every year.
I am passionate about Journalism, I would like to be a Data visualization manager, and this industry is growing at 2% every year.
You will see that sincerely being able to write this might take time. And that is okay. Actually, that is better. Each fill-in-the-blank will need a lot of self-reflection and conversation with your coach or a good friend. And If I tell you the truth, the model is much deeper and that is beyond this article. But this is an excellent start in the right direction. Things that influence the blanks are geography, the stage of your career, family, personal situation (health, financial, social, etc.), and kids. If you need the complete model, do not hesitate to reach out. We can share the generic model or create one exclusively designed for you. Okay moving on.
3. Now when have clearer picture what do you want, below are some tactical ways:
- Sharpen the pencil
- 30, 60, 90 Days
- Be a flute among the violins
- No excuses, Just Reach out
- Daily Goals
- Sharpen the pencil
- Understand what is required of the job and if you need to learn any new skills or revisit some of the current ones.
- Think of two things: what does the competition have and what does the job require?
- For someone who is seasoned, this might be a bit daunting or frustrating, but hey, what is life if not for these twists and turn? From Womb to Tomb life is a series of battles, we just need to keep rolling with the punches.
- Distinguish between if you need a paid certificate or a good online course will do. Outside Youtube, Coursera and Unacademy are some places to look at.
- 30, 60, 90 Days
- Plan your next 30, 60, and 90 days. Be ambitious and realistic.
- WRITE down where you see yourself in 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Be as detailed as possible.
- Think of your usual day in the life for all three time periods.
- Be a flute among the violins
- In mass layoffs, this becomes very critical.
- Because you are surrounded by lots of people of similar cadre who are targetting similar positions.
- Find a way to stand out; skillset, certification, experience, and networking are a few of the ways to think about it.
- I am a big believer that companies hire smart people to solve complex problems. This could be your flute among the violins.
- For every job description, read between the lines, what problem they could be battling with. And in the interview, networking coffee chats, covering letter, address that.
- No excuses, Just Reach out
- One important skill that I have acquired in my career is reaching-out. The probability of your success increases exponentially when you let your vine know what are you looking for.
- Second is, to be more specific: when you know what industry, and what position you are going for, connect with people who are the decision makers for that position; your future team.
- Remember, it’s also to their benefit to meet with you.
- These meetings, reaching out, and attempting to solve their problems reflect perseverance and hustle, which goes a long way to get approvals from Directors, VPs, etc.
- Daily Goals
- Daily discipline helps to get this difficult time pass. Have a list of things for each day that you want to strike off.
- Make sure you have a buddy, who is playing a gardener and flower role with you. The expectation is not to be your therapist but more like a workout buddy but for some time you need a little more tender, love and care.
- And once you land your dream role, thank your buddy.
I wish you very good luck my friends.