On behavior

At least partly through its impact on emotional regulation, mindfulness appears to help initiate control of difficult behavior. There is a small but rapidly growing body of work on the measured impact of mindfulness on behavior in the young, with demonstrable impacts shown so far on ADHD, impulsiveness, aggression, and oppositional behavior (e.g., Bogels et al. 2008). Mindfulness appears to increase the capacity to “be with” experience rather than reacting, increasing the time lapse in brain pathways between the impulse to respond to a stimulus or thought and the response (Holzel et al. 2011b), allowing more time for considered choices to be made. Mindfulness also triggers the relaxation response and induces a sense of inner calm, and this may also contribute to improvements in behavior control. This can be helpful for schools, parents, and, of course, for young people themselves, who often have no real understanding of why they get into difficulties, let alone sufficient ability to control the process.

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