Mindfulness is entering the lives of many new young people as it’s added to school curriculums around the world. This victory is even more relevant as studies show that mindfulness helps reduce teen depression. Now that’s a wonderful thing!
Mindfulness Programs In Schools Reduce Symptoms Of Depression Among Adolescents: Study
Mindfulness, the practice of cultivating focused awareness on the present moment, has been shown to have a number of benefits, including emotional stability and improved sleep. Now, some schools have started incorporating mindfulness programs into their curriculums, teaching kids as young as five years old how to use body scans, mindful breathing and attention to their thoughts and emotions to become more focused. According to a recent study, such programs could be successful in leading to reduced depression-related symptoms among adolescents.
Researchers at the University of Leuven study looked at the experiences of 408 students from five different schools in Flanders, Belgium, all between the ages of 13 and 20. At the beginning of the study, the students answered a questionnaire designed to reveal symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, and were then divided into a test group and a control group. The test group followed an in-class mindfulness training program which consisted of instruction in mindful breathing and body scan exercises, sharing experiences of these exercises, group reflection, inspiring stories, and education on stress, depression and self-care. The control group, meanwhile, received no training. All students filled out the questionnaire after the training, and again six months later.
The researchers found that students who adhered to the mindfulness program exhibited decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression both immediately after and six months after the program. Whereas before the training, 21 percent of the test group and 24 percent of the control group reported symptoms of depression, after the mindfulness training, 15 percent of the test group versus 27 percent of the control group had depression symptoms. Six months later, 16 percent of the test group and 31 percent of the control group showed signs of depression.
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