Resources for Professionals

Note: There are many downloadable activities and resources specific for Teens on the Resources for Teens page.

The Mindful Instructor

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Effective instructors, regardless of their professional discipline (e.g., psychotherapy or education) have several important characteristics, including extensive experience with the personal practice of mindfulness. Learning MBSR-T and MBSR will assist instructors in being more mindful people who are aware, in their own unique ways, of what it is like to learn mindfulness practices and to cultivate mindfulness in daily life. Effective instructors are also deeply empathic with teens and are able to create a safe environment for discussion of sensitive issues. Following are some instructor qualities that can increase the success of MBSR-T:

·      Having genuine concern for teens

·      Learning and embodying mindfulness on a personal level

·      Being an authentic presence through appropriate self-disclosure and taking part in sharing of experiences

·      Presenting the skills flexibly

·      Creating a safe and supportive environment by listening with attention and respect and communicating the nature of confidentiality and its limits

·      Providing boundaries and group rules as needed


Being a Culturally Relevant Instructor

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Cultural relevance is defined as an intentional awareness of, healthy curiosity about, and respect for the cultural markers that are important to the population you are working with. Instructors don’t have to adopt teens’ interests but can demonstrate an interest in their lives by learning about topics that are important to them; asking about unfamiliar issues, words, or slang (e.g., chosen gender identity pronouns, Snapchat, Minecraft, or fleek); and incorporating examples from teens’ lives (e.g., lyrics from a song or a clip from a popular movie). Linking teen-relevant examples to the material being taught will improve rapport and understanding.


Working with Silence

Teens can be uncomfortable with silence. Adults must remember that teens’ experiences of silence can be quite varied, especially for those who are frequently engaged in the use of multiple electronic devices and surrounded by constant stimuli. Even partial silence (e.g., the ambient noise from a fan or people rustling in the background) can be quite difficult and possibly painful for a teen. Keeping this in mind when introducing a new practice, or determining the length of time for any given practice, is important. Teens who have difficulties with complete or partial silence can be helped by using a variety of grounding focal points. 


Grounding Focal Points: During Mindfulness Practice and in Everyday Life

Grounding focal points are physical or functional parts of the body that can be tuned into and noticed at any time. These points are grounding because they can literally ground someone to the present moment and often help shift a teen out of or away from a difficult emotional state. It can be helpful for a teen to pay attention to these points as a calming function. In addition, they can literally ground someone who is in an acute or chronic traumatic state back to the here and now. These points are also focal because they are key points of the body that are a constant either physically or physiologically. Listed here, they can be used any time teens want.

·      Fingers and/or hands

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·      Toes and/or feet

·      Breath and breathing

·      Heartbeat

·      Heart-rate variability

 

Grounding Focal Points During Mindfulness Practice

In or out of session, grounding focal points assist teens during mindfulness practice when they are having difficulties either with (1) the practice itself, and/or (2) thoughts that are difficult, overwhelming, and unmanageable at that particular point in time.

Grounding Focal Points During Everyday Life

Grounding focal points can also assist a teen in everyday life, during a difficult or heightened emotional state or when thoughts are running rampant. Often teens learn to use these points before a test; during homework, or athletic or competitive performance; in a difficult conflict; or to reduce reactivity or impulsivity.

Points to Focus On Particularly During Difficult or Stressful Practice or Life Moments

·      Fingers and/or hands

·      Toes and/or feet

Points to Avoid Focusing On During Stressful Situations

·      Breath and breathing

·      Heartbeat

·      Heart-rate variability

Note: These points are good for beginning use in everyday practice situations, but focusing on them during stressful situations could elicit more stress. Once they have developed over time during practices, they can be used skillfully during more stressful situations.

Download extended reading on Grounding Anchors


The 5Ws: Developing and Maintaining a Mindfulness Practice

Teens learn to develop and maintain a mindfulness practice by frequently considering and asking themselves the questions from the lists below. It is not a requirement that a teen who is engaging in mindful practice needs to answer these questions each time; rather, these questions are used to minimize difficulties and distractions that arise in mindfulness practice. Educating a teen on these questions can provide a structure that will contribute to successfully developing and maintaining mindfulness practice during and after sessions.

Download Resource on the 5Ws


Mindful Solutions Charting: Change Problems into Mindful Solutions

Using mindfulness in your work download the mindful solutions charting document click on the image to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rightsize Moments in Your Life both Pleasant and Unpleasant

Track your pleasant moments for one week and your unpleasant moments the next. You can see how even in unpleasant days there are pleasant things you can notice and attend to.

Click on the images to your right to download them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Help a teen cope with painful life events

 

Use the equation S=P x B Stress=Pain x Blocking. Pain in your life is inevitable both physical and emotional. It is they ways someone blocks their pain that impacts how stressed or not they are. Click on the image to the left to download an activity to work on  decreasing stress and suffering.

 

 


Your Self-Care

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We can’t be a service to anyone else if we can’t be a service to ourselves. As professionals/parents, we have the ability to model for teens that caring for yourself is NOT being selfish. Not only is it important for professionals to each teens the importance of self-care, but it is equally important for professionals to actively engage in self-care practices.

Research demonstrates that the stress inherent in the helping professions may have deleterious consequences including:

  • Depression
  • Interpersonal Difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Vicarious Traumatization

Take Time for Yourself

Download a Chapter from the new book Be Mindful & Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your Crazy Life to learn ways you can give the gift of presence to others and yourself.

In between class, clients, or any time during the day, take a break for yourself. Take a coffee or tea break. Remain mindful as you make and drink your beverage. 

Another way you can practice mindfulness throughout the day is to do mindful stretching or walking for 5 minutes. If not stretching, try any mindful movement you want or are potentially skilled in doing. After your mindful movement, consider:

How do you feel now?

What are you thinking?

Download a free Mindfulness at Work Audio Practice


Promotional Pieces FOR YOU USE


I NEED IMMEDIATE HELP WITH A TEEN

If you are working with someone who is in danger--being harmed by another person, harming themselves, or at risk for harming someone else please contact 911. Below is a list of resources you can call for additional information:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Both toll-free, 24-hour, confidential hotlines which connect you to a trained counselor at the nearest suicide crisis center.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Web site for this 24-hour, confidential hotline offers details about how to call if you need help, how to identify suicide warning signs, and information for veterans experiencing mental distress.

Additional Hotlines and Websites for Teens from PBS

Download a Resource List