A brand new study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that teens rate Anxiety and Depression as the top problem amongst their peers. And this plays right into what we offer and talk about all the time – meditation, whose core and gateway benefits are indeed stress, anxiety and depression relief.
But in our view, the solutions for teens are a bit more nuanced. Can we get teens to meditate? Even before that, how do we establish credibility and a positive rapport with them as a member of the family so we’re talking at the same wavelength that they can understand? How do we show them that we care and can help them out?
Something as profound as Sahaja meditation has many answers in achieving a holistic and workable solution to their problems.
The Results of the Study
The study that was conducted and published in February 2019 showed that 70% of teens in America see Anxiety and Depression as a significant problem among peers, ahead of drug addiction, bullying, alcohol consumption and other issues.
61% of teens say that the pressure to get good grades is overwhelming.
Another finding relevant for us is that 63% of teens say that having a job or career they enjoy is extremely important to them. A great positive statistic is also that nearly 80% of teens say that helping others in need is extremely or very important to them.
Meditation Can Hit a Home Run in Solving Problems that Teenagers are Facing
Stress, anxiety and depression relief are some of the direct and easily achievable benefits of meditation. There tons of studies that prove this and it should be hardly difficult to convince anyone about this. So it is not as if the biggest problem that the teens face or undergo does not have a solution – it’s right there and we only need to get them to use it.
Moving past the basic benefits, meditation can undoubtedly help with increased emotional intelligence, greater attentional control, better clarity and perception, creativity and a better sense of self-esteem. All of this directly influences the lives of teenagers and can definitely pave the way for helping them get better grades, thus solving one of their major pressure points.
Still further, meditation can help with addiction problems too thus making a dent in the alcohol addiction fears or issues.
As we go higher up the pyramid of meditation benefits, we find that meditation instills a sense of Higher purpose in life and can help nurture the innate desire in them to help people in need. Meditation can help them achieve Self-Transcendence in life, especially if they’re oriented towards this type of thinking and a lifestyle early in their lives.
Meditation helps greatly with a positive attitude and can help avoid negative thinking. Combined with superior emotional intelligence, chances are much higher that teens will enjoy their jobs and careers a lot more by becoming meditators than otherwise. Once again, precisely what they’re looking for if the recent study is to be believed.
The Challenge – How to Get Teens to Meditate
As a parent or elder, it’s probably a challenge to get teenagers to do anything. In fact, the phrase “get them to do…” is a non-starter. The millennial generation seems to be born with minds and brains of their own, operating at a completely different wavelength of thinking. They almost live in an entirely different universe. Even a sensible account of the benefits of doing something may not motivate them directly to do it. They have their own priorities. “Do it because I’m telling you to” hardly works with them.
It has to be cool. They have to fit in. And then there are those that are smarter for their age and in general, by virtue of being the millennial generation. They’ll question and rationalize everything. The “Just do it, it’s good for you” directive is dead on arrival, literally.
Ten Ways to Get Teenagers to Benefit from Meditation
1. Establish a Lifestyle and Culture of Meditation at Home.
Meditation is not a class or technique or routine. It is a lifestyle change that makes a home rich by improving the quality of each family member’s life and personality. Keeping meditation at the center of the household can make a big difference even if the extent of involvement by each family member is different, their meditation times and routines are different. And even if some members aren’t as regular. Those are easier issues to solve. What’s important, however, is to establish meditation and spirituality as the basis for guiding the family and each person’s life. It instills values in our lives.
2. Lead by Example.
It’s a hard sell to teenagers if their parents aren’t exhibiting the traits of a meditator. The easiest way to get teens to pay attention and look up to parents is by showing patience, understanding, calmness and wisdom. If parents can make themselves the go-to person when their teenage children face problems or need help, it’s much easier to get them to follow suit and adopt meditation in their lives.
3. Talk about the Benefits of Meditation.
But stop short of telling or coaxing them to meditate. That’s something they need to convince themselves and try on their own. If they seek meditation on their own, their practice is likely to be more long-lasting. It may take a lot of patience, but is likely the only way they’ll stick to it on their own.
4. Collective Meditation at Home.
Collective meditation has many advantages over individual meditation and can easily be tapped into by creating a meditation time each day where everyone can get together to meditate collectively. It builds a nice routine, is a lot more powerful and creates a stronger sense of bonding between family members.
5. Give Them the Experience.
For meditation not to become another boring chore or task, it’s important for them to experience what it feels like to meditate. You could also ask them to observe how they feel at school or college on days they meditate and get them to experiment with the benefits and the extent of those benefits.
6. Appeal to Them with the Aspects and Outcomes They Care the Most.
The study we reported above clearly shows us what their problems are. It’s important to appeal to teenagers on issues they care about and make them feel that we care about them too. It’s much easier for meditation to resonate with them if it can directly address their problems, which it apparently can.
7. Meditation Makes Them Their Own Master and Develops Independence. Let Them Decide.
This notion appeals to Generation Z a lot, they like to be in control a lot more and make their own decisions. That meditation can make them their own masters should be appealing to them. It’s an incentive for them to explore taking control of their lives and making their own decisions rather than have their parents nag them constantly. It’s responsible freedom they can acquire and in a way their parents approve entirely.
8. True Spirituality is Modern, Flexible, Relevant and Powerful….Not Dull, Rigid, Ancient and Intangible.
This one is the hardest to convey because it is subtle and complex. The general notion and view of spirituality are that it is ancient and old fashioned and not something cool. However, explaining what true spirituality really is and the power and independence it grants to people can be appealing to them. Do-it-Yourself is another powerful incentive. Moving away from dogmas and rigid practices will appeal to them, especially if it can double up with a set of relevant and immediate benefits to them. Spiritual powers that can help them get better grades in a real way is a lot more relevant to them than some faith-based paradigm like just prayer.
9. The Power of Love and Compassion from Their Family Should be Felt by Them.
The most crucial aspect that supersedes everything is the love and compassion we relay to them – the unseen force and the heart to heart interaction. This does make them felt wanted and cared and they’re more likely to respect what we value a lot and try to follow our guidance, even when they don’t really feel like it. So they’re likely to give meditation a chance because their parents are deeply into it and want their children to experience it.
10. The Benefits of Self-Transcendence and Establishing it Early in Their lives.
Meditation can build stronger and better personalities, so leading a life of Self-Transcendence ourselves and getting them into that life can make a big difference. A sense of Higher purpose will raise their awareness and maturity towards problems in this world and make them want to be good citizens of this Earth – to have a desire to create a legacy that makes an impact on future generations.
They will likely grow up giving more to the world than they take from it.