Mindfulness for TeenagersServices
Three quarters of all mental health problems are established by the age of 18.
75% of young people experiencing mental health problems are not receiving treatment.
Mindfulness can help in many, but, sadly not all cases. Some teenagers have issues for which medical intervention is the appropriate course of action.
I regularly see teenagers who exhibit the early signs of anxiety, self-harm, depression and other disorders that can adversely affect attendance at school. Support services such as CAMHS are often overwhelmed and have long waiting lists.
Mindfulness is a universal approach that individuals tailor to their personal circumstances. This may prevent many smaller experiences gaining the initial foothold that can lead to more serious issues. It gives young people both an understanding of their feelings and behaviours and the tools to cope with them.
What does Mindfulness for Teenagers offer?
Becoming aware of pressures experienced, naming hopes and fears. Knowing that you are not alone.
An awareness that others too have a fear of missing out or anxiety of not being ‘liked’. To know it is natural to be anxious about high expectations in exams or finding a career path when you don’t know what you want to do. Noting the tendency to compare yourself against the images social media portray as trending. Realise that others feel this way too which can be both reassuring and liberating.
An 8 week course that provides a tool kit to better cope with life's challenges.
The dot.be programme that I lead from the Mindfulness in Schools Project provides a tool kit of short and long awareness practices that you can deploy as needed. From a 15 minute body scan to help you sleep better to a 15 second grounding practice whilst sitting an exam to help calm the nerves and focus the mind.
Accesible in schools, youth settings and 1 to 1
The programme is easily adaptable to meet the needs of participants whether they are a sports team, a drama group, or a class in school, including Sixth Form. The underlying principles remain the same. For some this will be best accessed in a 1 to 1 setting.
Living life in 3D technicolor!
The world can become a richer place if we attune our minds to our chosen focus. Imagine a sports, music or drama performance with 10% more awareness in the moment. When distracting self-talk is ignored, the mind is freed to be creative in writing, designing or innovating. A range of top performers from Katie Perry to LeBron James regularly practise Mindfulness.
In this 7 minute clip teenagers talk about the pressures they face in day to day life and how surprised they are that Mindfulness was a real help.
It also reveals many famous performers and celebrities who also talk about how Mindfulness helps them to deal with the challenges they face.
Thank you to 2bpresent.com for sharing this on YouTube so we can all watch it.
Frequently asked questions about Mindfulness for Teenagers?
The brain undergoes it’s third and final growth period during teenage years. When puberty is triggered rapid physical growth, hormone inbalances, temporary loss of physical coordination and mental agility all occur at the same time!
Chuck into the mix the need to be ‘liked’ 24/7 on social media, partly based upon a FOMO (fear of missing out) as well as trying to forge an independent identity in order to one day fly the nest. Not forgetting the added pressure of meeting expectations: self, teachers and parents to do well in exams. Also being constantly asked, what are you going to do when you leave education? This can lead to life being pretty stressful. How can Mindfulness help with this?
Is this just for school children?
This is a very popular and accessible course that I do use in schools, it is also equally accessible by those not at school. At the age where independence from traditional support is changing – the world can seem a busy and confusing place. Mindfulness allows you to drop anchor when seas are rough and ride out the storm. It grows the confidence to make key decisions calmly and with an open mind.
My tennager son / daughter won't listen to a word I say - so why will they listen to you?
Non judgement is a cornerstone of Mindfulness, as is non fixing. My role is not to judge or fix what somebody does or doesn’t do. Everything in Mindfulness is an offering … ‘if you want to’… and it is perfectly okay if you chose not to. Most young people find this approach different and liberating. Many surprise themselves about how much they get out of the course.
How would I go about seeing if my school / organisation can host a course?
The best ideas arise from those that will be impacted by them. If you would like me to host a course at your school, college, club or organisation, get in touch and we will explore the possibilities. 1 to 1 opportunities are also available.
Is this licenced? I am concerned that my son / daughter may be simply being brain-washed!
I am trained by the charitable organisation Mindfulness in Schools Project. They have been running Mindfulness Courses for teenagers since 2008 and their programme is being used in a £5.5 million Oxford University project into resilience in adolescence. This is the most highly recognised and rigorously tested course used with teenagers in the UK. I have also just completed 2 years of post-graduate study with the Clinical Pyschology Department at Exeter University to teach Mindfulness.
My son / daughter has been diagnosed with a Mental Health Disorder - can Mindfulness help?
We always begin with a conversation. A necessary and sensitive touching into where they are right now and what challenges they face. A Mindfulness course might be indicated, but sometimes other intervention is more appropriate where a young person is already under Medical supervision. An individual’s welfare is always the priority.
I am very aware that the only person who really knows what it is like is the person living it. My role is not to fix, not to offer advice; my role is listen and guide.
I will guide the 8-week .b programme devised by the Mindfulness in Schools Programme or adapted versions for older teenagers. I will listen to what comes up in young people’s direct experience. What happened in the practice? What happened when you tried this out at home? Sharing thoughts and outcomes is always optional. Whether it is a school based class you want me to run, for a youth organisation or even 1 to 1 – we always start with a conversation. It would be lovely to hear from you.
How It Works
Schedule a free 1 to 1
The best way to start is with a conversation. Together we can look at what it is that you hope Mindfulness can help with. I will be candid and honest, if I feel Mindfulness can help, great! If I feel it cannot, we will try and look at other more appropriate methods of support.
Choose a Coaching Plan
I utilise the 8 week programme from the Mindfulness in Schools Programme, written by teachers specifically for 8 -19 year olds. I ensure that I present the material in an age specific way based upon my 20 years experience of working with this age group.
Reach Your Goals
Setting an intention for what you wish to gain from Mindfulness for some is easy and for others the opposite – often a recognition that a new way is needed is a start. Intentions will often evolve as the weeks unfold as young people see their day-to-day lives from a new vantage point.
8 week .b Programme
Designed by the Mindfulness in Schools Programme and used in a £5.5 million study of resilience in adolescence led by Oxford University, this course is specifically attuned to the needs of teenagers. A school / organisation rate starts from £1000 a course. Individuals can access 1 to 1 sessions from £40 an hour based upon location. I can give you a specific quote once we have been able to chat through your requirements.
.b for teenagers in a school or other group setting e.g. Scouts, St. John’s, Youth Centre, Sports Clubs
• 8 weeks
• 60 minute sessions
• 15 minute daily home practice
• Course prices on application. No two schools / organisations are the same and to meet the unique needs of your school / organisation costs are worked out on a bespoke basis.
8 Week Course Themes:
1. Playing with Attention
2. Taming the Animal Mind
3. Recognising Worry
4. Be Here Now
5. Moving Mindfully
6. Stepping Back
7. Befriending the Difficult
8. Taking in the Good
Teenagers lives have never been more challenging. They have all the expectations of doing well at school from themselves, their parents and their teachers. The peer pressure ‘to be liked’ seems to be relentless, not only in their time in school, but also through 24/7 access to social media. It seems that no part of life goes unscrutinised. There are headlines after headlines about mental well-being and the word resilience is the one that I hear most often. Mindfulness can be the centre piece regarding mental well-being.
The course begins by looking at how our minds are scattered, it is natural, it is normal, we all experience this. Teenagers also recognise that we have days of ‘hippo mind’, slow and lumbering and days of ‘monkey mind’, flitting and mischievous. Recognising how our mind is in the here and now, can help us take a step back from the situation so we don’t habitually react to it.
We develop together a number of practices from 15 seconds to 15 minutes that form a toolbox that allow us to break this cycle of mood and reactivity. A lot of teenagers have commented that it is the short hands-on practices that they use at times of stress such as friendship problems or exams that allow them to ground themselves and make smarter decisions moving forward.