by Catherine Robbins, Director of Fund Development, The Launch Pad Teen Center
Managing stress and fostering emotional well-being requires conscious effort. Learning how to remain in balance early in life gives one a powerful tool for adulthood.
The definition of balance is: (1) an even distribution of weight enabling someone/something to remain upright and steady, (2) a condition in which elements are equal or in the correct proportions. We often see balance as being unattainable because we think we lack the time, energy and/or money to achieve it.
Dealing with stress in effective, healthy ways can be difficult for everyone, especially youth.
However, there are things we can do to remain calm no matter how stressful life becomes. Breath work is a simple, powerful tool that can be used to slow a racing heart and calm oneself in times of stress.
There are many breathing exercises for children and adults. One fun technique for teaching children deep breathing is called Flower Breath; imagine smelling a flower. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Remember to “stop, breathe and be mindful and aware of the present moment.”
Most times, our commitments can make balance seem out of reach. Modeling balance in your own life can help your child learn to find balance in theirs.
Set aside time to play with your child, even as they get older. The “play” may change with age, but they don’t stop needing those meaningful connections with their parents. Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, board game, tossing a ball, or shooting hoops, find something to do with your teen. If you are met with resistance, keep trying to find an activity you can both agree on.
Get outside. Taking a walk or hike is a great way for teens to get out of their heads and into their bodies. Much like breath work, physical exercise forces one to be present in the moment. Exercise releases endorphins, a natural mood elevator and can create a sense of achievement that boosts self-confidence.
The Launch Pad Teen Center offers after school and weekend day-hikes and outings, as well as 5-day outdoor camps during school breaks for youth ages 12 to 18. Visit our website www.thelaunchpadteencenter.org for more information.
Keep in mind that balance can be achieved when we prioritize our commitments and pursue more of those things that bring us joy.