Learn to live in the moment, relax, and be kinder to yourself (and others). Tap into strength you already have, but didn’t realize.

Being a teen isn’t easy. Many teens struggle to understand and express their emotions, fit in socially, build self-esteem, and perform at school. Issues with attention, procrastination, and impulsiveness are also challenges that many young people face in an era offering up constant stimulation and distraction. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens (MBSR-T) improves the quality of a teen’s life by teaching them how to pay attention to the present moment in a way that allows them to appreciate more of what is, rather than constantly wishing for life to be different. At the same time, cultivating a strong present moment awareness fosters emotional resilience that allows teens to “lean in” and face challenges when they arise. And, they will arise. Life is full of waves that occur despite our best efforts to sidestep them. We believe that the best strategy involves learning to surf!

MBSR-T is an adaptation of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program for adults developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Similar to the adult program, the teen version has been adapted with permission by Gina Biegel a licensed therapist in the San Francisco Bay area and the founder of Stressed Teens. MBSR-T is secular in its application of mindfulness meditation, and focuses on shorter, age-appropriate mindfulness practices aimed at fostering informal, moment-to-moment awareness.

This eight-week, evidence-based program teaches teens practical stress reduction techniques along with skills for relaxation in a fun and educational group setting. Specifically, teens learn how to respond rather than react to stressors by learning to direct their attention to the positive and toward better self-care. This is achieved through a greater awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and senses.

The weekly sessions are 90 minutes in length and begin with a mindful check-in of thoughts and feelings, followed by a review of home practices. The rest of the session introduces new concepts and practices, and allows for group discussions.

Some of the benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens include:

  • Improved emotional regulation and meta-cognition (the ability to think about your own thoughts)

  • Realistic shifts in perceptions and appraisals of stressors (not everything is as bad as it seems)

  • Decreased stress and suffering

  • Improved mental and physical well-being

  • Increased sense of control and power

  • Enlarged sense of inner strength

  • Decreased negative coping behaviors and increased positive coping behaviors (learning how to face stressors instead of avoid them)