Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction has become one of the most popular mindfulness-based treatment options available for teens with anxiety disorders. This program has been adapted from traditional mindfulness practices to make them more accessible to people seeking anxiety treatment. Although anxiety can affect one’s comfort with practicing mindfulness, it also offers a variety of direct benefits for teens with anxiety disorders.
How Can Anxiety Get in the Way of Practicing Mindfulness?
Many of the teens that we work with are new to mindfulness practices when they come to Red Mountain Colorado. Anxious teenagers often struggle with sitting still when they first try mindfulness and become increasingly anxious trying to control their experience. They have expectations going into a mindfulness practice about doing it “right” and noticing immediate benefits. While there are subtle shifts after their first practice, it takes time to build mindfulness skills that effectively reduce anxiety long-term.
When teens who struggle with anxiety first sit down and are told to remain quiet for the next few minutes, it may feel like their thoughts are starting to spiral. However, it is more likely that they are just noticing how much their thoughts race when they are not engaging in something. When cued to listen to their breath or count each inhale and exhale, they may worry they are breathing abnormally or struggle to keep a pace. The intention behind this cue is to become more aware, rather than to control what is happening. Mindfulness is about noticing one’s experience before making judgments, which can be hard to tolerate for anxious teens.
How Does Mindfulness Work for Anxious Teens?
Despite all of these obstacles that teens with anxiety face in giving mindfulness practices a try, it has been proven to drastically reduce one’s level of generalized anxiety and serves as an effective coping mechanism when they are experiencing moments of panic.
- Mindfulness helps regulate the nervous system by activating the release of stress hormones.
- Mindfulness helps people became more grounded by tuning into their sensory experience, including sensations in their body, things they see around them, and sounds they hear.
- Mindfulness allows people to create space between their thoughts and the present moment by identifying a thought, whether it is relevant in the moment, and visualizing it floating away.
- Mindfulness encourages accepting emotions, rather than resisting one’s experience, which reinforces anxiety.
- Mindfulness is an accessible stress-reduction technique that can be applied in a variety of settings when feeling anxious, often without other people noticing! This means, it can be used easily during stressful social interactions as well as when sitting alone in one’s room.
Mindfulness Practices in Anxiety Treatment Centers
Our teen meditation therapy grogram allows teachers to meet students where they are and do not force the practice on anyone. Our trained teachers offer daily group mindfulness sessions for both beginners and experienced mindfulness practitioners. For some students, meditation is “one tool in the tool belt,” and for others, it becomes a lifelong practice.
At Red Mountain Colorado, we believe that mindfulness can not only help teens manage symptoms of anxiety and depression but that it can help them adopt a more positive and accepting outlook on life.
Red Mountain Colorado Can Help
Red Mountain Colorado is a residential treatment center for young people ages 13-17. The program focuses on influencing a positive change in the lives of students. Healthy, sustainable activities are also incorporated so that students will be able to apply the things they learn to their everyday lives. Students leave Red Mountain Colorado feeling empowered and in control of their lives.
For more information, call (877) 302-5022. We can help your family today!