Nowadays, teens are always connected. Connected to their phones, to social media, to their friends and followers. They are growing up in a vastly different environment then the one in which we did. The world is just one click away. It may only have been a few decades but in the realm of the technological evolution – we may as well be prehistoric dinosaurs. Even so, we’re just as guilty. The urge to connect is real. It’s real and it’s powerful and it’s a big ol’ bag of mixed emotions. We are constantly looking outward for connection but the difference between us and teens is that we had the time to grow up without all the static. We had time where there was no place to be, no one to see. At 9pm there was no one left to call. Only our parents knew what we had for breakfast – not our Instagram followers. We had silence… boredom. We were able to spend those crucial brain changing blocks of time contemplating ourselves and the space we took up in the world. We took chances with no one watching and failed without embarrassment. We spent a lot of time just becoming ourselves. Now, we expect teens to evolve on display in a world where there is constant noise, incessant bleeps, beeps & perpetual overstimulation. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. It’s the cause of the high and fast rise in teen depression, anxiety and in some cases suicide. So, how do we help? How do introduce our teens to the essential ability to connect inward not outward? Help them to connect to the most important open platform they will ever know – themselves. One way is to suggest a class like Pilates and here are some reasons why…
Defined Sense of Self
What teens do during this brain development time has a direct effect on the types of adults they will become. Actions, influences and activities during teenage years influence the path to professions, adulthood abilities and the way we approach relationships. If teens are exposed to a strong mind-body connection at a young age they may have an easier time navigating through adulthood.
Brain Changes and Forming Identity
New classes or new activities will force new connections in the brain. From the brain’s perspective – the more you do, the more you grow. Taking a class like Pilates will invigorate new pathways in the brain which may inspire your teen in a positive way off the mat.
Control and the Underdeveloped PFC
During teenage years the prefrontal cortex is still developing and wont fully develop until the mid twenties. This is why teens seem so out of control and unpredictable – because they basically are. They are existing in an emotional based brain. Participating in PFC based workouts like the Pilates method will boost their brain power, help to destress & gain a greater sense of self-control.
Combating Social Anxiety & Improving Self-Efficacy
Teens experience peer pressure daily on top of the pressures they already place on themselves. Pilates is a great way to ditch the competitive anxiety and focus on small goals within. It is a system built on mastering each exercise without the pressure to do so in any specific time or with any perfect outcome. Teens can take this time to focus solely on themselves without comparing themselves to others. This will better allow for teens to set goals off the mat and feel confident they will be able to achieve them.
Risk Taking in a Safe Environment
Teens love risky behavior. It’s just basic brain wiring. Pilates is challenging enough to push physical limits without the all the risk. Plus, there’s no way to fail in Pilates. Every exercise can be modified to fit everyone no matter the fitness level – so teens can take their (safe & controlled) chances.
We’re stating the obvious here but a Pilates class is a 50 minute device free block of time. A chance for teens to put the phones away and connect to their own physical and mental existence.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a either a parent trying to maintain your sanity while trying to climb life’s proverbial mountain or a teen trying to make it through a time that is equally both magic and tragic. As the hectic holiday season approaches we hope you can take some time (even if it’s just in a Pilates session) to focus on the inner silence vs. the outer noise. To all who are reading – it’s nice to connect!
“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” Harriet Goldhor Lerner
The Pilates Project offers Teen/Preteen Pilates classes Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays. Sign up HERE!
By Brielle Brown, Blogger for The Pilates Project