Can we just turn back the clocks and go back to the preschool days with our children? All play, no stress. Gymboree and Kindermusik classes. Kids happy, parents happy. All good. Today, we're seeing patterns of anger, anxiety, and depression in children and adolescents, and sadly, it's starting at earlier ages. Anxiety, which is a normal reaction to stress, can actually become so extreme to the point where anxiety issues and disorders can turn into a variety of other illnesses. What ever happened to kids being kids, and coming home after school, doing some homework and then riding bikes to the park? Now our kids are coming home with endless hours of projects, and excessive amounts of homework, not to mention Common Core homework!. It's no surprise then that 1 out of 8 children have anxiety issues and over 5% of adolescents 13-18 years old have severe anxiety disorders.
It seems to me that a high school in Portland, Oregon is definitely on to something, and doing something right. For ninety minutes a day, several days a week, at Wilson High School in Oregon, students are de-stressing with a "Mindfulness" training class. Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga combined with other relaxing techniques, are all a part of their three day a week routine. Better yet, the students get full credit for this class!
With students feeling the need to overload on AP and Honors classes in high school, and to have the perfect record for colleges, it's a vicious cycle that never ceases. Is this what's really happening with our generation of teenagers? Their workload is unbearable, and yet we wonder why teens are experiencing more stress than adults? According to the American Psychological Association's (APA) Stress in America Survey, teenagers are experiencing more stress involving school, work, family and friends. More stress than adults? Illnesses and suicides amongst teens are running rampant. In order for us to break this cycle of teens experiencing exorbitant amounts of stress as a nation, isn't it time to try additional means of support for them? Even the pure words "Mindfulness" training have a calmness effect on me.