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Teen Talk. Photo of teens laughing together.
Hey teens, let’s talk! 

I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library.  
Cartoon Taylor  
Each month at the Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog on mindfulness.  
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources, and activities related to the monthly topic. 

Artwork of person meditating in center with colorful surroundings

Mindfulness and meditation have become buzzwords over the last few years and for good reason—it works, it’s free, it’s simple, and anyone can do it. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and altered the way we do life. Slowing down and remaining present is now more essential than ever to our overall well-being.  

Let’s dive in  what is mindfulness? 

“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.  

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.  

When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.” 
 (Source: Greater Good Magazine)

Quote on yellow background. Text: We have a finite amount of energy to spend every day before becoming exhausted. Mindfulness helps you use your energy wisely, spending it on situations, people, and causes that bring you the most joy, meaning and peace. By Thich Nhat Hanh
Read these articles about the power of mindfulness in daily life:
- How I Became a Mindfulness Convert
- Benefits of Mindfulness
- How to Practice Mindfulness: 11 Practical Steps and Tips

Graphic showing impact of mindfulness

I only recently got into meditation and mindfulness. I had heard a lot about the practice. I had heard about the benefits, but I still was resistant. It felt too easy or like it wouldn’t make much of a difference. About eight months ago I started incorporating deep breathing meditation before bed to help with my insomnia. I would play some ocean sounds or thunderstorms on my phone and practice deep breathing for twenty minutes while lying in bed. The results were instant and long-lasting. 

Since then, whenever I have started to feel overwhelmed or anxious I’ll try to remember to step aside and take a couple of deep breathes to re-center myself. I can feel my body relaxing and the tension leaving after a few breathes. It’s amazing! 

Three months ago I started reading up on mindfulness. I was surprised to find how simple and transformative the practice was. It sounds so simple—pay attention to the present moment, pay attention to how you feel, your surroundings, etc. 

The area of my life where I was able to see immediate changes was with eating. When practicing mindful eating you have no distractions, savor each bite, and fully engage with the act of eating and the food in front of you. 

What is most important about mindfulness is that you don’t have to be perfect and it is something that you continue to practice and grow with. I hope that you will consider incorporating mindfulness into your daily life and giving meditation a try. I have found it to be more beneficial than I thought. 

Quote on yellow background. Text: You need to wake up from your autopilot mode. You have to live deeply and with more awareness so that you can be attentive to each moment. By Thich Nhat Hanh 

Explore these free apps for guided meditations and mindfulness practices:
Smiling Mind – FREE app 
- Insight Timer – FREE app (pay for more access) 

Check out these books related to mindfulness and meditation:


Check back in April for our next Teen Talk! 

Join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library (14949 E. Alameda Pkwy.). I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured.   

Taylor written in cursive
Posted by [email protected]  On Mar 01, 2022 at 12:29 PM
Teen Talk

Hey teens, let’s talk!
I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library. 

Cartoon of woman with short hair, surrounded by rainbow border on corners

Each month at Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about studying. 
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources, and/or activities related to the monthly topic.

Studying... Ugh! If you are anything like me, studying can be a chore. 
When I was in school, I really struggled. I didn't do well on tests, had a hard time retaining information, and dreaded learning. Now, I work at the library where I eat books full of knowledge for breakfast! 😊

Image of Buddy the Elf from "Elf" with meme font that says "I like learning. Learning is my favorite"

It can feel like if you do not do well in school that you are not smart. I am here to tell you, that is not the case! The pressure to memorize facts and make straight A’s can leave you feeling inadequate when you do not perform well. I am living proof that you can do very poorly in school and still be intelligent. It can be challenging, but it isn't impossible. You can learn how to cultivate good study habits and discover what works for you.
Hopefully this blog will give you some advice that will help you feel more confident at school. 

These 3 articles go into depth on best studying practices:
5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques
The Complete Study Guide for Every Type of Learner
- Top 10 Tips on How to Study Smarter, Not Longer

After reading the above articles, here’s a few tips I would add:
1. Reframe Studying in Your Mind
Once I reframed the way I viewed school, studying and learning from a place of dread and like something I HAD to do, to something I wanted to do/had the opportunity to do—it really did help. Our brains have miraculous powers and we can trick ourselves with our thoughts. It can be helpful to think about school and learning as a way to acquire new knowledge and discover some cool stuff about life, rather than thinking about it as collecting boring facts or useless information that you need to know for a test and then toss. Maybe you will use what you learn in school in the future, maybe you won’t... but either way, it’s rad to know things. So why not spend the time to actually learn and maintain that knowledge in your mind. 

Cartoon showing steps of Cognitive Reframing

2. Take Some Deep Breaths
Simply breathing is your best friend! Anxious, overwhelming thoughts can consume our minds. Whenever your feel stressed, nervous, like things are too much or you are not good enough—just deeply inhale for several seconds and exhale for several seconds a few times in a row. This has been a helpful practice for me while I am studying, before taking a test or giving a presentation. 

Deep breaths infographic
3. Communicate with Friends, Parents, and Teachers
This is an unconventional tip, but one that I think can help. When we communicate our needs, challenges, intentions and so forth to those in our life it can help alleviate some pressure. When I was in school there would be times when I studied nonstop, but still failed the test. My parents would be upset with me. They didn’t think I studied at all. Rather than helping support me and try to find ways to improve my studying, they blamed my bad grades on a lack of commitment. I was left filled with guilt and shame for not being smart enough. Once I started communicating more, the people in my life knew where I was coming from, which allowed for more empathy and understanding. 

Drawn images of people talking to each other

4. Explore a Variety of Tactics
What works for one person, isn’t going to necessarily work for the other. It’s important to remember that we all learn differently. Even with yourself, what might help you with math may not work as effectively with history. Trying out different studying methods to see what fits is vital. 
Study Methods infographic

Study Methods infographic
Explore books & eContent regarding studying:

Check back next month for our next Teen Talk! 

Join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library (14949 E. Alameda Pkwy.). I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured. 
Taylor written in cursive

Posted by [email protected]  On Jan 04, 2022 at 4:03 PM