Last Tuesday, the Transition Year students at Killarney Community College participated in a Mindful Teens workshop with Psychotherapist Harriet McGuigan. She worked with the TY students showing them new ways that they could support themselves to help keep some balance in their lives.  Teenagers nowadays need support – sometimes they are distracting themselves through substance misuse, cyber bullying, online pornography, online gambling or self-harm to name but a few. Oftentimes they are doing this because they are trying to cope in their world and manage their lives.

Inspired by the Maya Angelou quote, “When we know better, we can do better,” Harriet created and runs the Mindful Teens Programme to inspire and plant a seed in the teenagers she comes into contact with. During the day they listened and often related to Harriet’s story, they worked in small groups and they got to practice and try out the art of different meditations. The group then chatted together about the challenges and what they enjoyed about taking some time out in a more supportive way. According to Harriet: “A lot of the teens opened up pretty quickly, sharing their concerns and challenges as teenagers growing up in Kerry. Hot topics discussed were: support in relation to safe use of social media, maintaining relationships and how to manage anxiety.”

“It was a great start to our TY school term,” said TY co-ordinator Kerri McCarth. “By introducing mindfulness to our students it equips them with strategies to deal with stressful situations. Nowadays students lead such busy lives and sometimes they nearly forget to breathe so by taking the time to meditate proved very worthwhile for them.”

Some of the teens had never meditated before Tuesday and were shocked to have successfully done so for 25 minutes. Some begged Harriet for more… One girl reported that the things she had been anxious about previously had completely disappeared.

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