Practical Advice: Deborah Schussler

Practicing mindfulness can help teens cope, says Deborah Schussler.

Deborah Schussler photo

Mindfulness 101
Tell your teens that this pandemic is a moment to be lived and accepted, a moment that can’t be changed, but it isn’t permanent; all moments pass.

Let it out
Let your teens express their emotions—let them label their anger, sadness, frustration. Tell them you hear them; tell them you have those feelings, too.

Take a Breath
Mindful breathing helps regulate emotions, creates clarity and perspective. There are many ways to breathe mindfully—go to YouTube and find one that works for you and your teen.

Conversation shift
At the dinner table, get everyone to share one thing they’re grateful for. This can have a physiological effect, releasing a boost of dopamine that creates a healthy perspective.

Eyes on the Future
Ask them to describe one thing they’re looking forward to doing when the pandemic ends. Ask them what they’d tell their own kids about this pandemic 30 years from now. —SI


Deborah Schussler is an associate professor of education who studies the impact of mindfulness-based programs on students and educators.