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Promoting Adolescent Mental Health Wellness Through Mindfulness and Positive Psychology Strategies

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Laura L. Truesdale, LISW-CPS, MAC
Susan Yelverton, LMSW
Palmetto Health Adolescent Recovery Center

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Promoting Adolescent Mental Health Wellness Through Mindfulness and Positive Psychology Strategies

  1. 1. Promoting Adolescent Mental Health Wellness Through Mindfulness and Positive Psychology Strategies Laura L. Truesdale, LISW-CPS, MAC Susan Yelverton, LMSW Palmetto Health Adolescent Recovery Center
  2. 2. General Teen Depression Statistics  Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens and adults.  2.8 million youth age 12-17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2014.  Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time.  About 5 percent of teens are suffering from major depression at any one time  As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer depression for at least a year at a time, compared to about 5.3 percent of the general population.  Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20 to 40 percent will have more than one episode within two years and 70 percent will have more than one episode before adulthood. Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months.
  3. 3. General Teen Anxiety Statistics  Anxiety Disorder affect 25 percent of all teens and 30 percent of all teen girls anxiety disorder at some point in their lives  Lifetime Prevalence: 25.1% of 13 to 18 year olds  Lifetime Prevalence of “Severe” Disorder: 5.9% of 13 to 18 year olds have “severe” anxiety disorder
  4. 4. What is Positive Psychology ?  “There are two complementary strategies for improving the human condition. One is to relieve what is negative in life; the other is to strengthen what is positive. Mainstream psychology focuses largely on the first strategy; Positive Psychology emphasizes the second" - Martin Seligman  "Positive psychology is the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive" - International Positive Psychology Association What’s going wrong versus What’s going right
  5. 5. Why? What are the benefits?  Reduce Stress and Boosts Well-Being  Aids Coping and Develops Resilience  Increase Performance and Engagement  Make Healthy Choices  Improvement of Relationships
  6. 6. How to flourish… daily, intentional activities for happiness “Central to the field of positive psychology is the paradox that the human brain has a negative default position.” MacConville and Rae (2012) We flourish by reducing the impact of negative emotions, increasing positive emotions and changing the focus from ourselves to other people.
  7. 7. Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck developed the ABC Model, which is a useful strategy to understand how our thoughts work and how we can manage them. A: Adversity, Activating Event B: Beliefs or interpretation of A C: Consequences- emotional or behavioral D: Disputation- argument to counter B E: Energization or Effective New Belief
  8. 8. Decatastrophizing Disaster Movie Romantic Comedy Reality Show
  9. 9. Increasing positive emotions Positive Psychology has many tools that can be used. The following are key concepts and skills: Mindfulness- Mind in a jar Three good things exercise Mantras Active gratitude Random acts of kindness
  10. 10. What is mindfulness?  It is the awareness of the present moment.  It is the noticing of thoughts, feelings and sensations as they rise and fall.  It can be observed through the five senses.  It can be practiced formally (through meditation) or informally (while waiting in line, talking to a family member, cooking dinner).  It is the process of bringing your attention back to the present moment, when you have noticed it has wandered.  It is meeting whatever arises in your brain with a non-judgmental attitude.
  11. 11. What mindfulness is not.  It is not a religion or doctrine. Anyone of any faith (or non-faith) can do it!  It is not the act of thinking very hard about one particular thing.  It is not the absence of thought.  It is not just for monks, priests, and spiritual leaders.  It can never be done perfectly.
  12. 12. Why should we practice mindfulness with adolescents and teens?  It helps them create distance between themselves and their thoughts and opinions.  It helps them “pause” in a moment .  It teaches them psychological flexibility.  It can build healthier relationships.  It can help them regain interest and motivation in their present circumstances. Catastrophe! I’m noticing that I’m having the thought that this is a catastrophe.
  13. 13. How do I practice mindfulness? You can do any activity mindfully by committing and recommitting your attention to the task at hand. Here are some activities that are effective practices:  Driving  Sweeping  Walking  Doing the dishes  Folding laundry  Picking up your room  Packing your backpack or purse.  Coloring Why did I say that earlier? I’m sweeping.
  14. 14. Breathing/grounding practice  Use five senses to connect to your surroundings.  What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch?  Focus on the act of breathing.  What does it feel like to breathe in?  Where do you feel the breathe once you have inhaled it? Your lungs, stomach, or chest?  What does it feel like to exhale?  Where in your body do you notice your exhalation?
  15. 15. Dot-to-dot Activity  Use your five senses to connect to the activity.  What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch as you connect the dots? As you go from one dot to the next, notice how many time your mind wanders. As you move from one dot to the next, does your brain get to the next dot before your hand does?
  16. 16. Questions to ask yourself:  How often did my mind wander?  When it wandered, did it go to the past, the present, or make judgments or commentary on the present  Was I able to bring my mind back to the present?  What helped me refocus my attention?  When I noticed my mind wandering, was I kind to myself or did I get frustrated and judge myself?  How did it feel to be really present with what is happening?
  17. 17. Resources  https://positivepsychologyprogram.com  https://www.teenhelp.com/teen-depression/teen-depression-statistics/  https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/featured/teenagers-are-feeling-more-anxious- than-ever/  Seligman, Martin E. (1995). The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience. London: Jessica Kingsley  MacConville, R. and Rae, T. (2012). Building Happiness, Resilience and Motivation in Adolescents: A Positive Psychology Curriculum for Well-Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/  https://www.mindful.org/  http://www.drdansiegel.com/blog/category/mindfulness/  Siegel, D. J. (2013). Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.