New Research: Mindfulness and Adolescent Boys
Another notch in the belt for mindfulness as an approach for stress reduction and well-being in a study recently touting the benefit for adolescent boys. Although the 4 week results was based on a short term study, the results were enough for it to be expanded to an 8 week program and picked up in public and private sector schools.
The adoption of mindfulness as an approach for healthy living continues to amaze me. While nothing should be touted as a panacea the widespread application of mindfulness work out there today for children, adolescents, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic pain, chronic illness, end-of-life and more has to be given some notice.
The time when boys are stepping into the pool of puberty is often considered to be the time when the middle prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that has to do with executive function and decision making, is not awake. That’s not entirely true, but just saying it to make an indirect point. In other words, to get 155 boys to engage in silent practice for even 8 minutes a day for 4 weeks is a positive finding in itself.
Now, clearly further research needs to be done to see if this can be maintained. A lot of research in the area of mindfulness programs shows that people often do not keep up with practice past the time of the study. What is found is that a seed has been planted and participants can continue to draw on the tools they learned more informally in everyday life.
While the results are exciting, I’d be interested to see this study do a 3 and 6 month short term follow up to see if the findings were maintained.
Nevertheless, the findings were enough to create longer term programs that will no doubt create awareness around being more present life to the adolescents who take it and to anyone in the school who hears about it. This in itself is a victory for humanity.
There are a growing number of resources to help kids cultivate mindfulness today. Susan Kaiser Greenland came out with the book The Mindful Child based on her many years of experience establishing the Innerkids program. Gina Biegel came out with The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens based on mindfulness programs she created for adolescents.
In my own practice I have found teens to often be very receptive to learning how to turn the noise down in their minds and find ways to regulate themselves in times of stress. They understand that they are their own harshest critic and to be able to practice the art of not identifying with that critic so often can be a huge load off their shoulders.
Do you work with mindfulness with teens? If so, please share what works for you.
As always, for the rest, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Mindfulness with Teens - CHM Therapy - Sep 9th 2010
I use mindfulness with most of my patients, if even to teach them to relax and unwind after school. I find it astounding - even after working with so many teens - to see how responsive they are to it. Teens with depression, anxiety, agression and even school refusal seem to enjoy the process and use it outside of the sessions to make smarter life choices!