What is an emerging adult? Most adult development experts agree that emerging adulthood is the life period between the late teen years and the early thirties. Undoubtedly, some of us reach the stage of “established adulthood” much sooner. But the current cohort of young adults- those brave souls on the frontier of the digital age – have many hurdles to jump, both social and financial, on their way to becoming established adults.
Are you an emerging adult, a mentor, or both? In some ways, we are all continuously emerging, or at least we have the potential for continuous development. In the twentieth century, the pioneering psychologist Erik Erikson outlined stages of psychosocial development that promoted the idea of continual social and emotional growth throughout life. In the twenty-first century, advances in neuroscience enable us to actually see physical changes in the brain brought on by changes in behavior.
What a relief it is to know that change is always possible!
Are you the best mentor for the job? Even if we are still in the process of refining our own adult experience, we can become mentors. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be a few steps ahead of the people we are trying to help. Mindfulness practices have certainly helped me keep perspective when I’m helping the young adults in my life, including my own offspring. By practicing and modeling mindfulness in my own imperfect way, I can encourage emerging adults to see contemplative practices as an important life skill, especially in an age of accelerated change and 24/7 distraction.
Here are just some of the skills that mindfulness can foster in both mentor and mentee:
- Self-efficacy – the belief in one’s competency and effectiveness ( “I got this, even though it’s stressful”)
- Open-mindedness – being curious about a situation as opposed to jumping to conclusions (“tell me more about why you feel this way, so I’m sure I understand.”)
- Non-attachment – staying unattached to an outcome (“This job doesn’t define me.”)
- Equanimity – evenness of mind, especially under pressure (“I can think before I react”)
- Right speech – using non-hurtful language (“I can wait until I feel more even-minded before I offer my thoughts”)
- Impermanence – fostering acceptance of change (“Friend groups and families are always changing”)
- Compassion – Concern for the struggles of others (“I can sit with your suffering without becoming overwhelmed.”)
Mentors plant seeds – learn about planting seeds in Mindfulness for Emerging Adults.
In Mindfulness for Emerging Adults, both mentors and young adults will find tools to help gain balance, belonging, focus, and meaning through practical contemplative exercises created for busy adults.
Sitting still, meditating, even practicing gentle yoga may not be priorities for energetic young adults. However, making and keeping social connections and feeling a sense of mastery in daily life tasks (as opposed to being overwhelmed and isolated) are indeed high priorities for emerging adults. Through contemplative practices specifically designed for modern-day emerging adults who are often trying to find a balance between the digital world and actual reality, Mindfulness for Emerging Adults will help young adults embark on the path of their own unique “good life” and create a holistic way of living.
Here’s an excerpt from Mindfulness for Emerging Adults
Thoughts for Mentors – When you think of your own young adulthood (when you were in your late teens and twenties, even your early thirties) remember the urgency of your needs: to connect or to disengage from a relationship, to figure out what kind of work you wanted to do, or to simply figure out how to pay your bills. If you could go back in time and be your own mentor, what three seeds of wisdom would you plant? What three pieces of advice and encouragement would you give to your younger self to think about?
Mentors plant seeds. Notice the examples above focus on shared, universal emerging adult experiences like wanting to belong or wanting to be independent. Planting seeds often involves:
- Listening and refraining from judgment
- Being more of a compassionate consultant, and less of a savior
- Dropping assumptions and keeping an open mind
- Practicing equanimity – staying calm and avoiding strong reactions
- Practicing compassion – managing your own distress in the presence of another’s distress
Planting seeds may sound like this:
“It’s okay to feel lonely sometimes. I remember feeling that way at your age. It is painful but it will pass.”
“Although loneliness can be uncomfortable, being in an unhealthy relationship can be even more uncomfortable. Be mindful of your craving for a relationship. Don’t let it take over your decision-making and put you in an unhealthy situation.”
“you could choose any career what would it be? Right now is a good time for you to try out a few different options.”
For more on mentoring emerging adults, Pre-order Mindfulness for Emerging Adults today!
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