Can Mindfulness Help Ease Aggression in Youth?

The nuances of improving attention, the possibility of unwanted side effects from meditating, and more highlights from current mindfulness research.

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Seeking Attention

Researchers at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, analyzed data from 87 published studies with healthy adults to better understand which attentional behaviors are impacted by meditation. They focused on general attention, as well as specific aspects of executive function such as orienting toward an object, shifting focus, or inhibiting a response. Meditation practices were categorized as either open monitoring or focused attention practices. Open monitoring emphasizes the ability to stay in the present moment while paying attention to one’s experience without getting lost in thought. Focused attention meditation involves being able to sustain attention on a particular object. Overall, results showed that both types of practices were associated with improvements in attention and executive function. Meditators were better able to maintain their focus, pay attention to many objects, and became less distracted than non-meditators. There were no significant differences for orienting or shifting attention between those who do or do not meditate. More studies are needed to better understand these effects.

Teen Angst

Parents can often find aggressive behavior of their children and teens to be challenging. Although there are a number of studies examining whether