Updated: Sep 26, 2020
#Mindfulness meditation is gaining a foothold in disease prevention and treatment. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what is happening in the present moment without judgment. While the interest in mindfulness is expanding, finding evidence-based resources for pediatrics is frustrating. Parents and health care professionals will benefit from carefully selected, evidence-based resources on mindfulness for pediatrics.
Mindfulness is recommended for physicians to support their abilities to be committed, caring and empathetic. Mindfulness encourages physicians to be in the moment and experience that the patient encounter without bias.
Likewise, the practice of mindfulness is helpful for parents. A study of parents that have children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) found that both general and situational mindfulness are significantly reducing maternal anxiety, depression, and stress. The questionnaire that the study used measured abilities to observe and describe experiences, act with awareness, and accept without judgment. The results of this study suggest that mindful parents are less reactive to experiences, more accepting of distressing thoughts, and more able to positively embrace their circumstances.
In pediatric medicine, meditation has been used with children and teens to decrease symptoms associated with stuttering, cancer treatment, sleep disorders, diabetic care, affective disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and eating disorders.
In one case study of a pediatric gastrointestinal disorder, the addition of a non-pharmacological intervention (mindful-ness meditation) improved the children's experiences of their disease. More specifically, in this case study, the patient and her mother were instructed in mindfulness #meditation. They practiced together for 10 minutes twice a day. Mother and daughter were taught how to do mindful breathing, body scans, mindful eating, and walking meditation. Ultimately, formalized practices gave way to lifestyle changes. Mindfulness meditation remained useful for helping the patient cope with occasional discomfort.
School-based instruction is another method for reaching children with health and behavioural issues. Measuring stress reduction through self-report is challenging with children because of their levels of cognitive, emotional, and social development. The inclusion of parent or teacher feedback may add useful information about changes resulting from the practice of mindfulness.
Learning to Breathe (L2B) is a mindfulness program designed to be integrated into secondary educational settings. The concepts of mindfulness are arranged within the BREATHE acronym.
B, for body or body awareness;
R, for reflection, understanding and working with thoughts;
E, for emotions, understanding and working with feelings;
A, for attention, integrating awareness of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations;
T, for taking it as it is, reducing harmful self-judgments and increasing acceptance;
H, for healthy habits of mind, cultivating positive emotions and integrating mindfulness into daily life;
E, for the inner edge, cultivating emotional balance and inner empowerment through the practice of mindfulness.
The conceptual model of L2B is that adolescents routinely experience stress triggers and may disengage or over engage. Learn to breathe teaches an engagement option. Mindfulness practice teaches adolescents to develop hardiness in the face of uncomfortable feelings.
Source: Mindfulness for Pediatrics: Evidence-Based Resources