Teenagers are sensitive and malleable. What is experienced during the teenage years leaves a lasting impact. According to Colorado State University, “teens exposed to frequent and hostile interactions between their parents often experience anxiety, depression and difficulties with managing other stresses in their lives.” Anxiety, depression, and poor coping mechanisms is what leads many teens to recreationally experiment with drugs and alcohol in their youth. Seeking an escape and way to make sense of and control and nonsensical and uncontrollable world, teens find refuge in abusing substances and participating in other harmful behaviors.
Habits that are built during the teenage years can last into adulthood. Experimentation with substances during teenagehood can develop into addiction or alcoholism before the twenties. For decades, professionals have struggled to find an answer to teens’ suffering. Counseling, programs, and behavioral modification have been relied upon methods. Rarely do these practices last into adulthood. The Colorado State University is seeking to prove that the practice of mindfulness helps. Outside of the scope of the university’s study, research has found that mindfulness is a long lasting practice with long term effects.
Mindfulness is a practice rooted in being aware, paying attention, and practicing presentness in order to notice oneself and one’s world around them. One of the researchers on the project described mindfulness as, “paying attention to what is happening right now, in a purposeful and non-judgmental way.” Mindfulness has been shown to reduce symptoms of mental health disorders which are influenced by stress, such as anxiety and depression. Practicing mindfulness can be a simple lifestyle change or it can be a series of activities. Typically mindfulness based practices focus on the breathe and breathing as a way to create a sense of calm, understanding and safety. That stasis is established by focusing on being present and aware of oneself. Rather than living in the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness strives to bring attention to the here and now by focusing on the breath.
Avalon By The Sea is a dual diagnosis treatment center for adults offering primary treatment for both mental health and substance use disorders. For a confidential assessment or more information on our various programs of treatment, call 1 888-958-7511.