Dr. Amy’s Research
Do children and teens benefit when they learn the life skills of mindfulness and remain familiar with the “Still Quiet Place” within?
If young people learn to observe their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, are they less vulnerable to the unhealthy effects of stress?
If children and teens are able to access their natural sense of peace and to trust their own inner wisdom, are they less susceptible to harmful peer influences and less likely to look for relief in potentially risky behaviors?
When young people practice mindfulness does it enhance their natural capacities for emotional intelligence, increase respectful communication and compassionate action? Do to pracices support them in developing healthy relationships, and contributing their gifts to the world?
My initial research was conducted in collaboration with Philippe Goldin Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University , with the support of Dr. Amishi Jha, Ph. D., from the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania . Our first study evaluated the effects of offering the Still Quiet Place- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction curriculum to school-age children and their parents. Subsequently I began offering this same curriculum to 4th -12th graders in socioeconomically diverse schools and community settings in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the first study the Still Quiet Place curriculum was offered to 18 children and 18 parents in various child/parent combinations (1 child/1 parent, 2 children/1 parent, 1 child/2 parents, 2 children/2 parents). The results compared the participants to controls (N=30 children and 30 parents).
The children who participated in the study showed
* Significant improvements in orienting their attention.
* Significant reductions in state anxiety.
In written narrative the children also reported that they were
* Less emotionally reactive.
* More compassionate with themselves and others.
These increases in focus, calmness, and kindness transformed how the children felt about themselves and produced meaningful differences in the children’s behavior at home and at school.
These research results support teaching children these beneficial life skills now, well before they are troubled teens or stressed adults.
Parents who participated in the Still Quiet Place course also benefited.
The parents experienced
* Decreased anxiety.
* Increased ability to orient their attention.
* Increased mindful observation of their experience.
* Increased compassion with themselves and their children.
* Increased ability to interact effectively with their children.