Johnny was upset.
He asked his parents why they had adopted a stupid boy like him.
He thought he was stupid because he didn’t learn as fast as the other kids at school.
Johnny’s not stupid, of course.
We’re all different and learn in different ways and at different paces.
Some are more visual, others auditory; some prefer reading/writing, and others are more kinesthetic.
Still, he felt that way.
He felt enormous stress at school … it’s was so hard to focus … especially when his teacher urged him to pick up speed … even when he felt he couldn’t go any faster.
It was really frustrating, and Johnny had all these angry thoughts in his head.
Most of all, he was angry at himself for not being like the other kids in his class.
When my wife Hanna and my now four-year-old son Anton heard about it, they wanted to help Johnny.
Anton said he’d do a bracelet to help Johnny.
So they visioned the Ultimate Mindfulness Bracelet together.
MINDFULNESS FOR KIDS & TEENS — THE ULTIMATE MINDFULNESS BRACELET
The task of designing the bracelet was fun.
You might want to do one yourself … it’s actually very meditative to string the beads too.
The most fun part, in my opinion, is choosing the beads and getting them strung.
And it’s super easy when you have beads and some string at your disposal.
You can make the process mindful if you want to … like with any art you create.
The secret to mindful art is simple.
You simply pay attention to what you’re doing … you pay attention to your senses.
You feel the different beads with your fingers … the difference in the textures … how do the wooden ones compare to the plastic beads … how about the stone beads?
Can you feel a difference in temperature, size, and texture?
You look at the different colors and shapes.
You might even smell them.
This immersion in your art is mindfulness.
Focusing on your senses is being mindful.
You know … way back … when I did oil paintings, I loved the immersion.
It felt awesome to move my body and to feel the thick paint … and to simply look at the beautiful colors. When I did that, my mind calmed down and I forgot about my worries.
Okay … so …
Anton thought long on the design and chose plenty of colorful beads and two special beads made of juniper bush so that Johnny could smell the bracelet, too.
HOW TO USE THE ULTIMATE MINDFULNESS BRACELET
When the ultimate mindfulness bracelet was ready … Anton and Hanna wrote these instructions for Johnny:
You can use this feel-good bracelet whenever you’re in a difficult situation.
It can help you focus, calm down, and feel better.
When you feel better, you’ll be better able to deal with whatever it is that is upsetting you.
You can try it when you’re nervous, angry or really wanting to focus.
It works like this:
a) Touch and feel the beads one at a time. What do they feel like? Are they different somehow? Can you feel different shapes and textures?
b) Smell the beads. Do the beads smell like anything?
c) Look at the different beads. How many different colors can you find? What do they look like in this particular light?
d) Breathe. Feel the beads with your fingers one at a time, and take a deep breath with each bead. Slowly in and out. In and out.
e) With each bead, figure out something you are grateful for. Something that makes you happy. When you notice the bracelet, spend some time thinking of the things you are grateful for.
You can do all of the above or just one … try it out and see if it works for you. Just remember that it takes some practice.
This is the bracelet Anton designed :-)
And that’s the ultimate mindfulness bracelet … it works, too.
WHY IT WORKS
When you focus on your senses … your mind gets a chance to calm down. This happens because you pay attention to your senses instead of thoughts and worries.
My four-year-old son knows this, and he sometimes guides me to pay attention to a flower or to listen to sounds of water to help me calm down and feel better :-)
Oh, and when you spend some time thinking of what you’re grateful for, you often times end up feeling calmer and happier.
Mindfulness often happens on its own—it’s a normal part of life. And we can train ourselves to be mindful more often.
I hope you enjoyed this article about mindfulness for kids & teens.
May you be happy & healthy,
If you are new to mindfulness with children, or you want to boost your practice, we recommend our online courses: Get notified here!
Chris Bergstrom is the co-founder of BlissfulKids.com and a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is a certified mindfulness facilitator, and trained to teach mindfulness to students in K-12. He’s also an executive consultant, and has taught meditation for more than 10 years.