REAL PEACE IN TIMES OF STRESS / TEENS
Chilling Out, Naturally
Forget drinking or drugs—JESSICA MOREY offers teens a straightforward stress buster.
worrying about tomorrow’s math test, the upcoming prom, or getting into
college. You’re ruminating about yesterday’s fight with a friend or
missing a goal in the big game.
is your mind creating stress by dwelling on the future and the past.
But your body is always in the present moment. So when it comes to
working with stress, the body can be your best friend. Through it, you
may discover that most things are manageable in this moment, and now in
this moment, and now in this one. You simply have to “come to your
senses,” and to do that you can use the five-senses drill. It can be
done in less than three minutes. Try it and see how it works for you.
by focusing your attention on things you can see in the room around
you. Choose an object in your visual field to focus on. Look at the
object and describe it silently in your mind by noticing the color,
size, shape, and texture. Repeat this with four more objects you can
see. Now focus your attention on things that you can hear. Silently
describe to yourself each sound, according to what kind of noise it is,
how far away it is, and whether it is steady or changing. Continue
listening until you have noticed at least three sounds in or near the
room where you are. Next, move on to the sense of smell, and again
describe silently in your mind any smells that you become aware of. This
can include the fragrance of the shampoo that you last used or the
laundry detergent on your clothes. Moving on to taste, see if there are
any flavors lingering in your mouth, perhaps food, toothpaste, or gum.
check in with your physical body. Feel your feet on the floor. How hard
or soft is the cushion or chair under your bottom? Notice the
temperature of the air on any of your skin that is exposed. Take three
deep breaths and notice that the focus of your attention is in the
present moment. You can now return your relaxed attention back to the
task in front of you.
Morey is executive director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, a
non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of teens.