How the academic performance of teenagers improves with mindfulness practice?
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.