Adolescence is a time of change, growth and all too often, struggle. This course is designed to help teens cope more effectively with the ongoing challenges of their day-to-day life. It brings together the benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion: Mindfulness teaches us to be present with difficult emotions, and self-compassion helps us to respond to these emotions with greater kindness and self-care. Through developmentally appropriate activities and meditations, teens learn specific tools which help them navigate the emotional ups and downs of this life stage with greater ease. A preliminary research study on this program has demonstrated significant decreases in depression, anxiety, perceived stress and negative mood from before to after taking this course. Making Friends With Yourself has been adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion program (created by Kristin Neff, PhD and Christopher Germer, PhD) by Karen Bluth, PhD, Associate Director, Mindfulness-Based Stress and Pain Management Program at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Lorraine Hobbs, M.A., Director, Youth and Family Programs, University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness. For more information about self-compassion please see www.self-compassion.org. For information about the adult mindful self-compassion program: www.centerformsc.org.
One of the teens in our first pilot study summed up the emotional trials of adolescence in her statement “I feel like everyone is crying in high school!” The overarching goal of Making Friends With Yourself is to help teens turn toward the emotional ups and downs of this life stage with greater ease, to offer them specific tools for recognizing and managing their struggles, and to help them learn how to meet these struggles with kindness and compassion. This understanding was clearly expressed by another teen in a statement she made after the compassionate friend meditation: “You know … I’m thinking that it’s ok if other kids don’t like me… because I like me!”