Teens Have a Lot Going On in Their Minds and Bodies

Adolescents are still growing and learning how to manage their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. They also experience high levels of stress and anxiety. If teens are not equipped with tools to deal with stress or upset feelings or thoughts, they may make unsafe or unhealthy choices. This is of concern for many parents, teachers, and other adults in the lives of adolescents. Mindfulness training can help.

What are the Aware Programs?

The Aware Programs are research- and evidence-based mindfulness education programs that are designed to enhance adolescents’ abilities to be aware of and manage their feelings and thoughts, cope with stress, make healthier decisions, and avoid risky behaviors such as using alcohol or other drugs.

There are three Aware Programs:

1. School-based, instructor-led delivered in high school classrooms and other positive youth development settings.

2. Online, self-paced version for teens with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

3. Online, self-paced version for teens with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS).

Why Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment. We adapted mindfulness practices for use by adolescents and young adults with FASD. Mindfulness practice can:

  • improve attention, emotion regulation, self-control, cognitive functioning, coping with stress, and compassion for others
  • help teens regulate their feelings, make healthier choices, and avoid risky behaviors such as using alcohol or other drugs.

Example of a Mindfulness Activity