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02-02 Meditation helps youths maximize health and relax the mind

Meditation helps youths maximize health and relax the mind

Have you or your teen been stressing out lately? Maybe an official diagnosis of anxiety disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has even catapulted into your life. Regardless of the worrisome circumstances, meditation has proved to alleviate a range of health-related symptoms, from behavioral overactivity to psychological distress.

Start speaking your mantra early

One recent study demonstrated that meditative benefits can begin as young as preadolescence. By collaborating with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Pennsylvania State University in 2011, Baltimore yoga instructors noticed various improvements in stress measurements for inner-city elementary students who took part in 45-minute yoga sessions over the course of 12 weeks. Each class also incorporated guided mindfulness meditation.

Results consisted of decreases in rumination and intrusive thoughts in addition to increases in emotional arousal. When 73.5 percent of one school’s population completed at least 75 percent of yoga classes, both students and teachers reported having a generally positive and educational experience in the program.

“It helps you relieve stress when you really feel stressed out or you’re really mad and focus on what’s inside of you and just make sure that you stay calm,” reflected one fifth-grade student after the program ended.

Symptoms affected by meditation

Two studies in 2009 supported this line of research. David S. Black, Joel Milam, Ph.D., and Steve Sussman, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California observed that seven of nine meditative interventions improved infractions, self-esteem, externalizing issues, attention problems and consequences of behavioral problems. Adolescents with pre-existing conditions like ADHD experienced particularly positive effects, including:

  • Heightened attention
  • Reduced impulsivity
  • Diminished distractibility

Furthermore, Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., led a team of Maharishi University and American University researchers to document the results of a transcendental meditation (TM) program on young adults in college. In contrast to those who did not participate, the meditation group experienced significant enhancements in:

  • Psychological distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hostility
  • The ability to cope

(Maharishi University of Management Research Institute, 2009)

Given that youths with elevated blood pressure have three times higher the risk of hypertension in the future, the stress-relieving potential of practicing meditation is extremely noteworthy for future generations.

Specialized treatment providers such as Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego are leading the way when it comes to caring for adolescents, utilizing everything from yoga to equine therapy. If you or your teen needs all-inclusive behavioral health care, contact a Sovereign representative online or through our 24/7 helpline for long-lasting support.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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