Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center won’t just help you get your child back. Instead, we aim to return them even better than before: equipped with the tools, knowledge, and sense of purpose that they need to live a life full of meaning. Central to this approach is an emphasis on mindfulness techniques that will support them in their recovery from mental health challenges and co-occurring disorders.
What is Mindfulness for Teens?
Mindfulness techniques are used to promote self-awareness, emotional regulation, and healthy coping strategies. At Stonewater, our adolescent experts have developed a program of mindfulness that is accessible to adolescent boys, presenting it in a way that resonates with their particular needs and goals. While adolescent boys in crisis may not be able to meditate right from the start, we offer a variety of approaches to mindfulness that can engage even the most treatment-resistant client. Here’s how it works.
Mindfulness in Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Adolescents
Mindful Meditation Sessions
Our adolescent experts conduct regular meditation sessions, where adolescents are guided to focus their attention on their breath, bodily sensations, or a particular thought. These sessions help participants cultivate mindfulness, reduce anxiety, and increase their ability to stay present.
Mindful Breathing Exercises
Adolescents are taught various breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or the 4-7-8 technique. These exercises help them manage stress, reduce impulsivity, and improve emotional regulation.
Incorporating mindfulness into physical activities like yoga helps adolescents connect their body and mind. These practices enhance physical fitness, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.
Mindfulness in Group Therapy
Group therapy sessions incorporate mindfulness exercises and discussions. Adolescents can share their experiences, challenges, and successes related to mindfulness, fostering a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
Mindful Art and Creativity
Art therapy and creative expression activities like pumpkin decorating at Halloween are used to promote mindfulness as well. Adolescents can channel their emotions and thoughts into creative projects, enhancing their self-expression and emotional awareness.
Mindfulness-Based Coping Skills
Adolescents are taught mindfulness-based coping skills to deal with cravings, triggers, and stressors without resorting to substance use. This includes the "urge-surfing" technique, where they ride out cravings like waves without giving in to them.
Mindfulness in Daily Life
Mindfulness is integrated into daily activities, such as washing dishes, walking, or brushing teeth. This helps adolescents apply mindfulness techniques to real-life situations.
Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation
Adolescents learn to identify and label their emotions mindfully. This awareness allows them to choose more adaptive responses to emotional distress, reducing impulsive behavior and substance use.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Adolescents
The effects of mindfulness are far-reaching, and vary from client to client. However, the benefits may include a mix of the following.
Mindfulness encourages individuals to pay non-judgmental attention to their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. This heightened self-awareness helps individuals recognize triggers, cravings, and the underlying emotional states that may lead to substance abuse.
Adolescents with co-occurring disorders often use substances to cope with difficult emotions. Mindfulness teaches individuals to observe their emotions without reacting impulsively. This can lead to healthier ways of managing stress, anxiety, and depression, reducing the need for addictive substances.
Mindfulness techniques can help individuals tolerate cravings without acting on them. By observing cravings as temporary sensations that come and go, individuals can develop greater control over their impulse and substance use.
Improved Stress Management
Today’s teens are under incredible pressure, facing challenges and stresses that many adults never had to surmount. Mindfulness practices can reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and activate the body's relaxation response.
Self-compassion is crucial in any kind of recovery. Mindfulness encourages individuals to treat themselves with kindness and understanding, reducing self-criticism and guilt, which are common among those with mental health and substance use challenges.
In the recovery process, individuals often need to make important decisions related to their lifestyle, relationships, and daily routines. Mindfulness helps individuals make these decisions with greater clarity and awareness of their values and goals.
Prevention of Relapse
By cultivating mindfulness skills, individuals can recognize and prevent relapse triggers early on. They can also develop healthier coping strategies to replace substance use or other maladaptive behaviors.
Improved Overall Well-Being
Mindfulness practices — such as meditation and deep breathing — can promote relaxation, improve sleep quality, and boost overall well-being. This can reduce the appeal of addictive substances or maladaptive behaviors, which are often used to escape discomfort.
Mindfulness fosters greater impulse control, reducing the likelihood of impulsive, maladaptive behaviors.