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Easing the Angst of Adolescence

Practicing mindfulness can help teens cope with the pressures of growing up—and even ward off symptoms of depression.

While every generation faces a unique set of stressors, today’s teens can feel pulled in all directions, juggling school, work, activities, friends, social media—and those roller-coaster hormones.One simple, highly effective way to alleviate adolescent angst? Practicing mindfulness in the classroom and at home. A recent study conducted in Belgium followed 400 students aged 13 to 20 over a six-month period. Meditation devotees won’t be surprised to learn that teens receiving mindfulness instruction were significantly less likely to report symptoms of depression. Moreover, the students were still seeing benefits months after the initial training.Think your teen could benefit from a mindful meditation and attentiveness practice? Start with these basic guidelines—no formal training required.Just BreatheThe simplest way to be more mindful is to monitor your breath, says Ellen McCarty, a mindfulness instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She suggests that teens begin with a slowed-breathing practice rather than diving right in to a formal meditation program. “In the same way that yoga is a spiritual or phy …

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