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sqp-coverA STILL QUIET PLACE: A MINDFULNESS PROGRAM FOR TEACHING CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS TO EASE STRESS AND DIFFICULT EMOTIONS

With wisdom, kindness, and inspiring clarity, born from years of mindful living and teaching mindfulness, Amy Saltzman, M.D. guides us through the research proven practical steps of how to help young people learn the fundamentals of resilience, focus, and compassion. Science supported, clinically sound, and educationally brilliant, this book will provide essential tools for all who wish to learn from a master about how children and adolescents can discover their “still quiet place,” the source of their emotional and social intelligence and a lifelong center of inner peace.”

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Author, Brainstorm:  The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain; and Mindsight:  The New Science of Personal Transformation.
Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Co-director, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.

practice P.E.A.C.E.

If we remember to use it, mindfulness can help us deal with difficult situations- from ordinary every day difficulties like losing your cell phone, to more extreme difficulties like failing a class, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, having a friend go jail, or maybe even going to jail yourself, getting pregnant, or grieving a death in your family or community.

Mindfulness is much more than just watching the breath. For me, part of the power and beauty of mindfulness is that using it helps me when things are most difficult.

PEACE is an acronym for a practice that can be used in any difficult situation. Perhaps you can begin by practicing with small daily irritations. If you are dealing with more extreme circumstances you may need to repeat the practice many times a day, and you may also want to get additional help from a friend, a parent, a counselor, or a doctor.

The practice goes like this.

P- P is for pause. When you realize that things are difficult, pause.

E- E is for exhale. When you exhale you may want to let out a sigh, or a groan, or even weep.  And after you exhale you want to?… Inhale. Just keep breathing….

A- A is for acknowledge, accept, allow. As you continue to breathe acknowledge the situation as it is. Your backpack with all your stuff is gone, your parents are getting divorced, your best friend is now dating the person who just became your ex. Acknowledging a situation doesn’t mean you are happy about it. It just means that you recognize the situation is as it is, whether you like it or not.

Accept- accept the situation, and your reaction to it. You are furious, devastated, heartbroken, jealous, or E all of the above.

Allow your experience—do you best to rest in the Still Quiet Place and watch the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Notice when you are tempted to suppress your experience by pretending you are fine, or to create additional drama by rehashing things in your head or with friends. And allow this to (smile). See if you can discover a middle way- of having your thoughts and feelings, without your thoughts and feelings having you, and making you act in ways you may regret.

C is for choose. When you are ready, and this may take a few moments, days, weeks or even months depending on the situation, choose how you will respond. At its best responding involves some additional Cs.

Clarity: being clear about what you want, what your limits are, what you are responsible for.

Courage: the courage to speak your truth, and to hear the truth of others. Compassion: compassion for yourself, for others, and for how incredibly difficult it sometimes is to be a human being.

Comedy: Actually I prefer the word “humor” but it doesn’t start with C. It is amazing what a sense of humor, and a willingness to not take ourselves too seriously can do.

E is for engage. After you have paused, exhaled, allowed, and chosen your response, you are ready to engage with people, the situation, with life.

Remember, if it is possible, practice with small upsets first, and for extreme circumstances you may have to repeat this process over and over, and receive additional support. And the more you practice, the more PEACE you will have.
An audio version of this practice is available on itunes; search Still Quiet Place: Mindfulness for Teens.

Copyright. All rights reserved Amy Saltzman 2010


MBSR Curriculum for School-Age Children

This chapter provides an overview of an MBSR curriculum designed for children in grades 4-6 and their parents, and reports preliminary research findings based on the implementation of this curriculum. The data indicate that mindfulness training is feasible for children and that such training enhances attention, decreases anxiety, and improves self-regulation, social competence and, perhaps most importantly, children’s overall well-being. Complete Chapter

Reprinted with permission by New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Acceptance & Mindfulness Treatments for Children & Adolescents, Laurie Greco Ph.D.

Radio Interview: The Value of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

When you’re raising a family or teaching students it’s often hard to be aware of what you’re feeling, experiencing, and thinking. The practice of mindfulness, or paying attention with kindness and curiosity before choosing your behavior, can decrease stress and burnout and increase empathy and effective communication. Tune in as we discuss how adults and children can benefit from learning mindful practices for everyday life.

Amy Saltzman, MD, is a holistic physician, mindfulness coach, and scientist, and founder of The Still Quiet Place.

Press play. DOWNLOAD Entire Program (54:10 mp3 49.6 MB)

Words from Nick in Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine

My friend and student, 9 year old, Nick, was recently featured in an article in Scholastic Parent and Child magazine. Although he was very disappointed that his personal comments were omitted from the article, he wisely chose to use this as yet another opportunity to practice mindfulness. Here is what Nick has to say about Mindfulness.


To use mindfulness is a great privilege. It makes you feel good, relaxed and happy. You cannot enjoy life without it. Mindfulness is a quiet  place. All you have to do to get there is concentrate on your breathing.  You can use mindfulness everywhere. When you are in arguments, if you are  feeling unhappy or if you are in a tough situation you don’t want to be in. I’ve even used it when I find myself frustrated while playing video games or other times when I become overwhelmed.

Simply sit down, lie down or even stand up and just start breathing and listen and feel your breaths – focus on slow and deep breaths. Soon your worries and frustrations will not seem so big. Before you know it you will  feel better. Afterward, I sometimes forget what was making me so upset. I am glad Dr. Amy showed me how to do it. You should give it a try too!

Click the link to read the entire article on Mindfulness for Children in  Scholastic Parent and Child magazine

Self-Compassion better than Self-Esteem

Since the 1980s, educators in California and elsewhere have been urged to help children build self-esteem to make them feel good about themselves and reduce discipline problems. Now, some researchers are saying a better approach is to cultivate self-compassion in children, to help them accept their struggles and guard against self-absorption. Read more