This technique works well for anyone who zeroes in on the small details and misses the forest for the trees. It is slightly more complex, so you may need to guide your teenager through it at first.
Here’s how it works: Ask your teen to sit up straight, with his eyes closed. Ring a bell, strum a guitar, or make another short, melodic sound. Ask your teen to listen closely and make an effort to hear the beginning, the middle, and the end of the sound. (You can repeat this step a couple times if it takes a moment for your teen to get the hang of it.)
Once the bell fades, ask your teen to identify the farthest sound he can hear — maybe it’s cars driving on a nearby street, or the wind blowing through your backyard. Next, ask your teen to identify a closer sound — his brother’s footsteps walking down the hall, perhaps, or a clock ticking in his bedroom. Next, ask him to focus on the sound of your voice for a few moments, then turn to the sound of his breath. With some practice, he can zoom in even further and meditate on the sound of his own heartbeat.
“Zooming in” like this helps your teen learn to focus his attention on something specific. If he is nervous before a test, for instance, he can take a few moments at the outset to run through these steps in his mind. Gradually narrowing his attention — first on the cars outside, then to the students in the hallway, then to the test in front of him — is a great way to address the present moment, calm his body and brain, and release unnecessary distractions.