Yoga Helps Teens Reduce Anxiety

emotional girl holding her head

This article from reports that mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation can help reduce anxiety.

The two best-studied methods in the last 10 years or so have been mindfulness and yoga. Mindfulness training, which includes elements of meditation, body scanning, mindful breathing, and developing a less attached attitude toward one’s thoughts, was found to be effective both generally and in three subgroups.  These subgroups include minority children, inner-city youths, and teens with social anxiety. A number of studies have reported this in recent years.  It’s even been integrated into classrooms across the country, based on the research which shows its benefit on mental health, behavior, and grades and attendance.

Yoga, which the authors point out includes asana (physical poses), pranayama (breath training), and mindful meditation, also had an effect. Yoga has the added benefit of including physical movement.  This can be especially helpful for kids who have extreme stress in their lives. Sometimes straight meditation can be too difficult, and counteractive, for people who are dealing with trauma or chronic high levels of stress.

So the new research suggests that there may be methods worth trying before medication.  Although, meds may be necessary in some cases, of course. These mind-body methods generally have few or no side effects.  They can help a person change their relationship to their body, mind, and even to their own anxiety. If you’re a parent of a child or teen with anxiety, it may be worth looking into one or more of these strategies first.

See the rest of the article here.