With the topic of mindfulness hitting such mainstream news sources such as Time magazine, 60 Minutes and CNN, you may be wondering “what exactly is mindfulness anyway?” This is a great question! Mindfulness is awareness of thoughts, feelings and body sensations, with non-judgmental acceptance of our experience. Unfortunately, much of our mental experience consists of automatic thoughts, irritations or other unproductive distractions. Developing mindfulness helps direct our attention and energy in more healthy and productive ways. Just a few moments of attending to and processing our internal experience results in growth when practiced regularly. If you would like to know more about the research supporting this, click these links to find a great article from UCBerkeley, and another from Harvard.
Research shows us that training in mindfulness results in…
- increased concentration (Jha et al., 2007)
- improved attention (Crehan & Ellefson, 2013)
- reduced anxiety (Zeidan et al., 2013)
- lasting improvements in emotional control (Desborders et al., 2012)
- higher GRE scores, increased working memory and attention skills (Mrazek, 2013)
- buffers against depression (Hofman et al., 2010)
Can children and teens benefit from mindfulness?
Absolutely! You may be familiar with mindfulness through DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy. The development of young persons’ awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations is a cornerstone of the coping skills necessary to address deeper clinical issues. There is a significant amount of research on this, and if you would like to explore on a deeper level, these links may be helpful: NIH and VA. After two decades of providing therapy, I am committed to making mindfulness tools and coping strategies more accessible to all children and adolescents. To meet this need, I am excited to offer a sound, research based mindfulness curriculum designed to develop self-awareness, emotional management, and skills for increasing overall well-being.
But what about my clinical referrals?
Many people have asked if I am no longer working with clients struggling with more “diagnosable” issues. Absolutely! I enjoy collaborating with clients and helping them work through deeper, more challenging issues. I do have individual clients here in Atlanta, and yes, I still love it!
However, I felt that we needed a low-cost, non-profit solution to connect with kids and families and build more self-awareness, stress resilience, and better overall physical and mental health.
My next six week series of mindfulness classes begins Saturday, January 26th.
Wishing you a satisfying, happy and healthy 2019!