How to Help Your Teen Develop a Mindfulness and Gratitude Habit
In this Expert Guest episode of the Teenage Kicks podcast Helen Wills talks to Wendy Lund about how mindfulness and gratitude can help to change a teen's mindset and their outcomes.
Most importantly, Wendy gives parents easy tips on helping teenagers to develop a gratitude habit that doesn't involve meditating, journalling or spending time talking about their feelings!
Helen says "This episode was like therapy to record. Honestly, even if you take none of the advice to recreate with your teen, it's worth a listen for your own wellbeing!"
Teenagers don't have time to listen to adults insisting that they need to spend time on their mental health. But as parents we can encourage them into daily practices that help them see what's good about their lives.
What are the benefits of gratitude?
Wendy says "practicing any positive emotion... builds neuronal pathways in the brain... and if you're busy doing those you cannot be busy with thoughts of anxiety and depression... Thoughts produce our emotions, which drive our behaviour." So it's incremental.
- It improves your mental health
- Promotes proactive and prosocial behaviour
- Decreases materialism
- Decreases narcissism
- Decreases depression and anxiety
- Improves academic scores
- Improves life satisfaction scores
- Improves compassion
Mindfulness resources from Wendy:
- Make Stress Your Friend - a brilliant TED talk by Kelly McGonigal
- Video: An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness. (Get ready for tears - happy ones!)
- Gratitude: a short film by Louie Schwartzberg
- Gratitude questionnaires and scales that scientists use
- You might also like this episode with Ryan Gallagher on recovering from PTSD after the death of his father.
- This episode with digital parenting expert Elizabeth Milovidov on bonding with your teens is also useful.
Who is Wendy Lund?
Wendy is the founder of Wellth Management, an organisation committed to helping people redefine wealth through wellness.
With an MSc in Mindfulness Studies, and following a career as a Professor of Health Sciences, Wendy helps individuals and organisations using evidence-based theory and strategies to create wellness and build stress tolerance.
More teenage parenting tips from Helen Wills:
Helen wills is a teen mental health podcaster and blogger at Actually Mummy a resource for midlife parents of teens.
There are already stories from fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
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Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.
Podcast produced by James Ede at Be Heard production.