Practicing mindfulness can help relieve anxiety among children, youth and adults

Resources are available to help you and your children learn to experience and navigate anxiety more effectively.

Many mental health professionals are concerned about the increasing number of young people and adults who experience overwhelming feelings of anxiety. In addition to seeking professional help when needed, you can learn to navigate anxiety through the formal and informal practice of mindfulness. Research shows that the practice of mindfulness can relieve stress and anxiety related to fearful, anxious thoughts, chronic worrying and feelings of dread. Whether your feelings of anxiety are mild or overwhelming, practicing mindfulness can help you learn the regulation and relaxation skills you need to tolerate and navigate these feelings.

Many resources are available to help children, youth and adults learn the skills and practices of mindfulness that, in addition to fostering overall health and wellbeing, can help to address anxiety and other uncomfortable and strong emotions. Here are some examples:

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Courses
You can enroll in an 8-week course if it’s offered in your local area or consider taking the class online through the University of Massachusetts Medical School – Center for Mindfulness offered through Sounds True.

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl, Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
This helpful and practical workbook and CD can support you in learning the skills and tools associated with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety by Christopher Willard, Psy.D.
This workbook is written for teens to help them learn to navigate anxiety at home, in school, in social situations and in other areas of their lives.

Learning to Breathe by Patricia C. Broderick, Ph.D.
Focused on mindfulness in adolescence, this curriculum is for adults who work with teens and focuses on helping young people cultivate emotion regulation, attention and improve their performance in the classroom and beyond.

Mind Up
These research-based mindfulness curriculum materials are designed for adults who work with kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. They include brain-focused strategies to help students focus their attention, improve self-regulation skills and build resilience to stress.  

Still Quiet Place
This website by Amy Saltzman, M.D. provides resources for children, teens and adults to practice mindfulness including audio recordings, videos, online training, articles, children’s books and other tools.

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety by Bob Stahl, Ph.D. and Florence Meleo-Meyer, M.S., M.A.
This workbook includes easy-to-follow practices and downloadable guided meditations for easing anxiety and the suffering that it causes.

Mindful Self-Compassion
Based on the research and work of Kristen Neff, Ph.D. this resource links mindfulness and self-compassion and includes guided meditations, books, exercises, research, a self-compassion scale and other tools.

Calming Your Anxious Mind by Jeffrey Brantley, M.D.
This book is focused on how mindfulness and compassion can free you from anxiety, fear and panic and includes current information and resources about mind-body health, meditation and applications to conditions such as worry, fear, anxiety and panic.

Nine Attitudes of Mindfulness
These videos feature the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. speaking about the essential attitudes of mindfulness practice that are also featured in his book, “Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness.”

Stress Less with Mindfulness
Michigan State University Extension offers programs in several locations across the state of Michigan focused on learning about the experience and practice of mindfulness.

For children, youth and adults, research suggests that the practice of mindfulness improves the immune system—as well as increases gray matter in the brain involved with memory processes, emotional regulation, empathy and perspective taking. When we practice formal and informal mindfulness in our daily lives, we’re more likely to be able access these skills and have the tools we need at our fingertips when we really need them. Practicing mindfulness when the stakes are low helps us to be able to remind our minds and bodies that we know how to relax and calm ourselves during intense times of anxiety, worry and stress. 

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