Combating Stress with Mindfulness

4-H leads mindfulness training in stress management skills for ages 10 and up

ISSUE

Stress affects adolescents in their daily lives and can reduce memory and emotion processing as well mental connections. Early life persistent stress can increase incidence of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and cardiovascular disease later in life. Mindfulness therapeutic interventions prove effective in managing stress and stress related symptoms. Mindfulness has been shown to decrease perceived stress levels, medical and anxiety symptoms, and blood pressure, and increase awareness, acceptance, emotion processing and coping skills in students.

RESPONSE

The program is a five-hour series of lessons on mindfulness-based stress management designed for ages 10 and up. The program is interactive, teaches stress coping and relaxation techniques, and was administered in middle schools (Shue Medill Middle School, Talley Middle School), community locations (Hockessin Recreation Center, Appoquinimink Community Center, Seaford Library, Smyrna Boys & Girls Club) as well at other Cooperative Extension events (4-H Leaders Forum, 4-H National Healthy Living Summit, Delaware Youth-Adult Partnership Conference).

IMPACT

This program reached a total of 974 individuals, including youth and adults, throughout the state. Extension professionals developed an evaluation tool and administered the survey to a total of 332 youth who received five hours of mindfulness training in stress management skills. Results showed that 72% of program participants increased their knowledge of positive stress techniques specific to learning how to identify personal stressors and ways to reduce them. After the program, 75% of participants know how to set personal wellness goals and determine steps to reach them. More than 90% of participants adopted at least one new positive stress technique as a result of the program.

Infographic Download
Impact Download