Mindfulness Approaches for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

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Graduate School of Social Work


Mindfulness, Youth experiencing homelessness, Shelter settings


Mindfulness involves bringing attention to what is happening within us and around us in moment-to-moment experiences, without labelling experiences as good versus bad, and refraining from reviewing the past or planning for the future (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness practice is found to be an effective approach for improving well-being among adults, with increasing support for its use in enhancing regulatory capacities among vulnerable youth populations. The approach originated from Eastern culture and Buddhist traditions. More recently, practitioners and researchers have integrated Buddhist meditative practices into Western society to foster mindfulness and address individuals’ physical and mental health needs (Kabat-Zinn, 1982; Linehan, 1993). Common mindfulness practices include meditation, yoga, and relaxation and visualization exercises. Although less studied, these practices have proven beneficial in reducing stress and improving self-awareness, anxiety, and emotional and behavioural reactivity among youth experiencing homelessness.

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