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First, the bad news: your teenage years are some of the most stressful of your life. Up to 70 percent of teens say they're stressed out, and with pressure about grades at school, parents who just don't seem to get it, and friends who drive you crazy, it's no wonder. Here's the good news! If you learn a few strategies for getting stress under control now, you'll have the skills you need to deal with problems and difficult feelings that life sends your way in high school and beyond.
The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens is a collection of thirty-seven simple workbook activities that will teach you to reduce your worries using a technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way to be aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. You can use mindfulness when you start to feel as though things are spinning out of control, so you can stop worrying about what might happen and focus instead on what's happening now. Ready to get started? Open this workbook and try out the first activity. Soon, you'll be well on your way to developing resilience and a new kind of strength.
If you’re like many people, you find it easy to look at your negative qualities or feel there is no way to fix your problems or stress. This book is about building on the resources, skills, and positive qualities that you might not even realize you have. It is a way to move from “I'm powerless” thinking to “I can do it!” thinking.
Hundreds of teens in mindfulness-based stress reduction classes have used activities like the ones in this book, and here is what some of them have said:
"I have learned to let things go and move on from bad experiences."
"I felt that the coping skills learned are easy enough and effective enough to be used when I need. I now feel at the very least that I have the ability to reduce my stress."
"I learned new and different ways to stay relaxed and how to deal with stress and now I don’t worry much."
If they can do it, so can you!
About the Author
Gina M. Biegel, MA, LMFT, is a psychotherapist in San Jose, CA, who works with adolescents, children, and families, both independently and for a large HMO. She adapted the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for use with adolescents, creating mindfulness-based stress reduction for teens (MBSR-T). A randomized control trial assessing the efficacy of this program showed significant results. Biegel is director of research for Mindful Schools and conducts workshops and conferences teaching MBSR to a variety of populations. Her audio CD, Mindfulness for Teens, is available online at www.stressedteens.com.
Table of Contents
Letter to Teens vii
Letter to Parents and Professionals ix
Activity 1 Letting Go of Your Problems 1
Activity 2 Defining and Understanding Stress 5
Activity 3 Life Stressors: What Is Stressing You Out? 9
Activity 4 The Physical Effects of Stress: Paying Attention to Red Flags 15
Activity 5 The Emotional Effects of Stress 20
Activity 6 When Stress Can Be Helpful 24
Activity 7 Stress the Problem, Mindfulness a Solution 27
Activity 8 Living in the Now 31
Activity 9 Mindfulness and the Five Senses 33
Activity 10 Bringing Mindfulness to Routine Tasks and interests 37
Activity 11 Dropping-In Mindfulness Practice 45
Activity 12 Mindful Eating Practice 52
Activity 13 The Body Scan Mindfulness Practice 56
Activity 14 Bringing Mindfulness to Walking and Movement 63
Activity 15 Doing Homework or Taking a Test Mindfully 67
Activity 16 Accepting Your Emotions: "The Guest House" 69
Activity 17 Don't Believe Everything You Think 74
Activity 18 Don't Jump on the Train of Thoughts: the Railroad Activity 79
Activity 19 Stress Waves: Riding the Waves of Life 82
Activity 20 Paying Attention to Your Breath 85
Activity 21 Paying Attention to Your Mind: Sitting Mindfulness Practice 89
Activity 22 Taking in the Good: Doing What You Enjoy 93
Activity 23 Focusing on the Positive: the Pleasant Moments Calendar 96
Activity 24 Focusing on the Negative: the Unpleasant Moments Calendar 100
Activity 25 Things You Can and Can't Control 105
Activity 26 Mindful Stopping: Responding instead of Reacting 108
Activity 27 Being Mindful of Harmful Judgments 111
Activity 28 Mindful Messaging and Posting 117
Activity 29 Playing Out the End of the Movie 121
Activity 30 Life Events Can Cause Stress 123
Activity 31 Coping With Painful Events 127
Activity 32 Unhelpful and Harmful Coping Behaviors 131
Activity 33 Using Self-Care to Manage Problems 138
Activity 34 Tracking Harmful Behaviors: the Self-Awareness Calendar 143
Activity 35 Next Steps 148
Biegel resides in Campbell, CA.