Is mindfulness relevant for youngsters?

Mindfulness is increasingly popular, with a growing number of people worldwide who are using them in their personal lives to produce a variety of beneficial outcomes. A multi study report (1) concludes that “Mindfulness […] is especially effective for reducing anxiety, depression, and stress”. Regarding youngsters in particular, another study concludes that “mindfulness may be beneficial for enhancing responses to stress among youngsters” (2).

As Sam Himelstein, mindfulness expert, from the Center for Adolescent Studies puts it:

“The ability to respond rather than react is a critical skill for youth to learn. Responding rather than reacting is also an especially important skill for teens given that their brains are still developing—some research (3) suggests that the frontal lobe (that guides function and our ability to self-regulate) isn’t fully developed in people until their late 20! This is why mindfulness is so important to teens; it can help them self-regulate their emotions and respond instead of impulsively reacting. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.

This suggests its usefulness in controlling the impulses associated to screen-devices, that often are so difficult to manage, particularly among teens and young adults.

Moreover, we believe this approach has a strong inclusive dimension, proving effective in working with youngsters with special needs, such as those experiencing psychological issues as stress, emotional pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Mindfulness can be particularly convenient when dealing with young people from a refugee or disadvantaged background as it doesn’t require the command of local language or any previous skill or knowledge.

This suggests its usefulness in controlling the impulses associated to screen-devices, that often are so difficult to manage, particularly among teens and young adults.

Moreover, we believe this approach has a strong inclusive dimension, proving effective in working with youngsters with special needs, such as those experiencing psychological issues as stress, emotional pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Mindfulness can be particularly convenient when dealing with young people from a refugee or disadvantaged background as it doesn’t require the command of local language or any previous skill or knowledge. (4)

Bibliography

(1) Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., … Hofmann, S. G. (2013, August). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005

(2) Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M. T., Dariotis, J. K., Gould, L. F., Rhoades, B. L., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38(7), 985–994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9418-x

(3) Giedd, J. N., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N. O., Castellanos, F. X., Liu, H., Zijdenbos, A., … Rapoport, J. L. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study. Nature Neuroscience, 2(10), 861–863. https://doi.org/10.1038/13158

(4) Himelstein, S. (2013). A mindfulness-based approach to working with high-risk adolescents. A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Working with High-Risk Adolescents (pp. 1–195). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203080856