Mindfulness might be more popular among the middle-aged population, but scientific evidence shows that it’s extremely beneficial for teens and young adults too.
Regular practice of meditation can significantly increase levels of empathy, focus, impulse-control, and non-judgmental awareness – all of which are crucial for a young adult to navigate through college successfully.
As parents, we have the privilege and the duty to teach mindfulness to our college kids!
Consider these strategies:
1. Take them for a retreat abroad.
Take your college-age child for a meditation retreat to an exotic country. This will definitely increase their interest in mindfulness practice.
When we receive positive emotions and store them in the body, they are automatically associated with our memories of what we were doing at the moment. If your child is encouraged and excited by travelling, a meditation retreat is likely to do well for them.
You can choose a 10-day silent vipassana retreat or a more playful and fun yoga retreat which includes mindfulness practices.
2. Tell them about famous people who meditate.
Back in the 1960s, the Beatles went to Rishikesh in India where they studied transcendental meditation from Maharishi.
The place has been long abandoned after Maharishi’s death, but many curious people still come to what is known as Beatles ashram to honor their favorite band.
Since then, the David Lynch Foundation made TM meditation popular among celebrities and all over the world. Other methods and apps are catching up too.
Madonna, Oprah, Arianna Huffington, Steve Jobs, Kobe Bryant – choose the celebrity that inspires your child the most and share it in a matter-of-fact conversation.
Many young people look up to music and movie stars. Their role model behaviors may be much more convincing than the behavior of their parents.
3. Invite them to join a yoga class.
You can invite your child to come along for a yoga class with you or offer them a gift certificate.
These days, there are many kinds of yoga from Bikram, Kundalini, and Hatha to Yoga Fly. One of them will surely interest your kid. The good thing about typical yoga classes from the gym is that they concentrate more on the physical aspect than spiritual.
By changing our bodies, we also change our consciousness. If you want your child to become more mindful, stretching their body is the easiest first step to take. Once the body stretches, their perceptions change, many emotions are released, and many insights may arise.
4. Organize mindful mornings at home.
Be an example. If you live together and your child sees you meditate each day, they are very likely to follow your example.
Organize a mindful morning with your family each week. You can meditate together or eat a family breakfast mindfully without TV or other distractions.
You can even connect with your local community for mindful mornings. For example, cleaning the area together, planting trees, or practicing yoga in the garden would all work.
5. Do creative activities together. When you’re meditating, old connections between neurons become weaker and neuroplasticity of the brain develops. This allows you to come up with more creative solutions and play with new ideas.
Creative state of flow is close to a meditative state and is in itself a mindful activity. If your child paints, writes, makes sculptures, draws, or writes poems and movie scripts, support and encourage these activities.
Tell them that learning how to concentrate and relax our minds and being in the present moment helps in studying efficiently. When one controls the mind, it is easy to concentrate on the subject of study or research.
If we know how to let go of thoughts easily, we can open up lots of space for learning.
Whatever you do to help your child become more interested in meditation, remember to avoid pushing your opinion. Experience is the strongest incentive. What we learn through experience and out of desire stays with us. What we learn out of fear and obligation goes away.
Be patient, love your child, and your state of mind will have a positive influence on the whole family.