Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation. This course, Making Friends with Yourself, is designed to facilitate awareness, self-kindness and an understanding of our common humanity in response to these growing challenges. Through developmentally appropriate activities and carefully crafted practices and meditations, teens have an opportunity to learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease. This course creates an opportunity for adolescents to construct a healthier world-view and gives rise to greater compassion and empathy toward self and others. In a preliminary research study, this program demonstrated a significant decrease in depression, anxiety, perceived stress and negative mood. This curriculum was adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion created by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and has been endorsed by Neff and Germer.
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!”