Organizations that work with people experiencing difficult life events acknowledge that it is important to give them multiple tools for managing stress. Mindfulness may not be a new practice, but it has seen a boom in popularity in recent years as people turn to the techniques to improve their lives. Alpine Academy realizes that many people are unaware of why institutions have begun using more mindfulness-based approaches to see results. Here, Alpine Academy in Utah reviews the concept of mindfulness and its relationship to emotional development.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice where an individual slows down and pays attention to themself and their surroundings in the current moment. In our lives, especially the constantly changing lives of teens and young adults, it is rare that there are moments to devote to stress relief and relaxation. The techniques that encompass mindfulness encourage taking the time to process stimuli, using techniques like breathing and meditation to find calms and control emotions.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is seen as a powerful tool to help teens manage their emotions because it gives them the space to feel connected to their experiences. Slowing things down and appreciating situations for what they are worth helps to put thoughts and feelings into perspective, playing an important role in conflict resolution skills. Experts cite several benefits for teaching mindfulness as a technique for emotional development.
There are many studies that show that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety. In some studies, mindfulness was found to reduce the amount of cortisol levels in the blood, which may decrease the risk of conditions that can arise from stress. There are many proposed reasons that experts believe mindfulness can reduce stress levels in practitioners. One of the most frequently cited is that mindfulness empowers people to be aware of their response to situations. This may make them feel more in control and able to work towards less stressful methods of conflict resolution.
Helps Treat Depression
Professionals that deal with mental health know that there is a wide range of factors that can contribute to a negative emotional state. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been growing in popularity because of its combination of stress reduction and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. According to Alpine Academy in Utah, abuse and negative experiences that make teens feel vulnerable can fuel depression and feelings of hopelessness. Programs that encourage mindfulness exercises show people that it is possible to work towards healthy resolutions. One of the reasons mindfulness techniques are seen as a great way to help manage depression is because it can help compartmentalize negative thoughts and feelings a person may have regarding themselves. Recognizing what is happening and working to respond in a healthy way can help prevent situations spiraling.
Lowers Emotional Reactivity
Sometimes we know the right way to handle a situation, but rising tensions prevent us from being able to bring things to a fruitful conclusion. Experts that work with teens experiencing difficult situations know that providing them with tools to handle their emotions healthily is great for helping them make great choices. Mindfulness meditation techniques have been found to decrease emotional reactivity. This is because paying close attention to situations and are responses to them gives us the time and space to think before acting.
How Can We Encourage Teens to Practice Mindfulness?
As educators, councilors, and facilitators, the staff at Alpine Academy in Utah realize that, while theory is excellent, our ability to implement processes to help teens are equally important. A crucial question to ask ourselves is how we can encourage teens to practice mindfulness in their day to day lives.
Experts acknowledge that teens are perceptive- they are naturally paying attention to what works and what does not. To this point, we can help them utilize mindfulness and mediation techniques by showing them that they are valuable to helping protect our mental health. This can be done by creating a safe space to discuss our thoughts and feelings, being honest and authentic regarding our experiences, and putting situations into language relevant to their experience. When teens are shown the value of slowing things down and reflecting their reactions to situations, they will naturally pick up ways to apply these lessons to their day-to-day experiences.