Dr. Joe Novak
Mindfulness Tools for Adolescents and Adults
The other day, after finishing virtual sessions with clients, I reflected about how daily routine and life has changed over the last seven months. Sure, there are the obvious, radical changes in our lives but there are other, more subtle changes as well. Life as we know it is different. We look at things with a different lens. Our reactions are more rapid, perhaps, too sharp. We are on edge and struggle to tolerate any change or setback no matter how minor.
The poet, Charles Bukowski, in his poem, The Shoelace, wrote:
“....The dread of life is that swarm of trivialities that can kill quicker than cancer and which are always there - license plates or taxes or expired driver’s license, or hiring or firing....a shoelace that snaps with no time left…”
It is these “shoelace that snaps” moments in our lives that can spontaneously derail us. I believe we can gain control over these moments and not let them trigger a cascade of emotions. To successfully reground ourselves, we need to learn and use tools that are simple, quick and, with practice, effective. Below I have listed some tools I believe are helpful in guiding teens and adults during tough times. Some tools I personally discovered and others were found by my clients. My suggestions include tools for mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, and understanding the value of not taking meaningful moments for granted. I hope you and your adolescents will find these tools useful and helpful.
Kardia Deep Breathing App (deep breathing exercise for stress relief, relaxation, meditation and better sleep) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.labnasounds.kardiafree&hl=en_US&gl=US or https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kardia-deep-breathing/id998569123
What is Mindfulness? Featuring Jon Kabot Zinn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmEo6RI4Wvs
Mindfulness: What Do We Have All Wrong About Meditation? Featuring Dan Harris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM2CP7A3HKk&t=140s
Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6T02g5hnT4
The “Struggle Switch” for Anxiety, by Dr. Russ Harris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI
Phil Jackson on Mindfulness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqz7R-QalqY&t=46s
Leaves on a Stream Exercise (teaches us to defuse or simply observe our thoughts without latching on to them) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLlVV3dKl9w&t=17s
SOBER (a mindfulness breathing technique) https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/sober-breathing-technique