Find Your Inner Teddy

Turn off the Negative Self Talk - With Mindfulness

Turn off the Negative Self Talk - With Mindfulness

Meddy Teddy in LotusTurn off the negative self talk with Mindfulness. Practicing Mindfulness allows us to press a pause button and examine the thought and emotion as they present themselves.  We come to understand that our thoughts are just thoughts and not 100% reliable and accurate.  Begin by taking 3 deep breaths and close your eyes.  As thoughts come in, acknowledge them and let them float away. Continue focusing on your breathing, the inhale and the exhale.  Feel your stomach rise and fall.  In this space you feel calm and relaxed.

Mindfulness meditation a ‘pause button’ for teens

Everyone, especially teens, wants to feel connected to others. The proliferation of social media, however, has exposed the insidious side of too much connectivity. As teens spend more and more time online – as much as nine hours a day, according to a recent CNN article – they often fall victim to FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. Comparing their own Facebook status and Instagram photos with others can lead to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. In fact, a 2015 Australian National Stress and Well-being Survey of teenagers found a strong correlation between hours spent online and higher levels of stress and depression.

If you find your teen caught in the throes of an emotionally charged FOMO attack, suggest she ask herself a simple question: “What am I making this mean?” In her reaction to a friend’s Snapchat or post on Facebook, your teen may be telling herself a story: “Everyone else is having fun. I’m a loser.” Posing this question can help her step back for a moment and begin to understand that she’s feeling inundated by negative self-talk. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, she can begin to “talk back” to the self-talk, finding examples of activities she enjoys and bringing some balance into the moment.


You may also suggest a time-out from online surfing. Turn off the cell and the tablet. Teens will balk at being unplugged, but it’s an important step in conquering FOMO. It provides the time and space to take a few breaths and explore a valuable coping mechanism: Mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness is simply being present in the moment in a gentle, nonjudgmental way. When we are able to truly “be” right here, right now, and let go of concerns from the past or fears about the future, the effects are immediately helpful. Mindfulness is a pause button that allows them to consider how they want to respond to a situation before they actually do.

Research has shown that mindfulness can help students perform better on tests, with increased focus and concentration. It can also help turn off the negative self-talk that can get young adults feeling down on themselves. It can enable them to understand that thoughts are just thoughts, and not 100 percent accurate or reliable.

How often does your teen (or any of us) worry about things that never end up happening? Like when your son creates a story about why his girlfriend hasn’t responded immediately to a text: “She’s angry at me …what did I say wrong … I’m such a jerk.” After all this self-imposed turmoil, your teen finds out that the girlfriend was in a place where she had no reception and couldn’t respond. Needless stress!

Learning how to clear the mind and let go of stress can be done by focusing on the breath – a simple mindfulness practice. Here’s how to do it:

Begin by taking three full breaths – slowly and gently. Feel the inflow and exhale of air as your belly rises and falls. Repeat this over and over. As you breathe, feel the spaciousness of simply being present with yourself – without thoughts, without judgment.

As an important role model in your teen’s life, you can help your son or daughter understand how mindfulness and other types of meditation can lead to more skillful living. Let them know that celebrities like Katy Perry, Jaden Smith and Emma Watson – as well as world leaders and professional athletes – have discovered the awesome power of being present!

Nina Smiley, Ph.D., is a member of the family that has owned and operated Mohonk Mountain House since its inception in 1869. In addition to leading private meditation workshops and sessions at the Victorian castle resort, Smiley co-authored “The Three Minute Meditator” and the accompanying CD “Mini-Meditations That Will Enhance Your Life.” Contact her at or 845-256-2024.

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Turn off the Negative Self Talk - With Mindfulness