It's been a while, but the stress of my teen years is still a dark slash across my memories of that time. I felt out of control of everything: my body, my environment, my thoughts. I truly wish something like this workbook had been available to me!

The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens is a collection of thirty-seven activities that teach a technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique to become aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment, without judgment. This mindfulness practice offers a way to re-frame your focus to the present moment, and sidestep the trap of worrying about what _might_ happen and focus instead on what's happening in the here and now.

One of the hardest parts about talking with teens is avoiding seeming like you are "talking down" to them -- they are quick to perceive this as condescension (and rightly so). Biegel does an excellent job of being clear, concise, and friendly without stepping on toes.

The activities are great "out of the box" for adolescents motivated to change. For those who are less interested, a little creativity can get them to start with the stress reduction activities and that can be a big win for everyone.

I don't have kids, but I know several and took advantage of that. I gave this workbook to a group of teens in my life (age 13, 14 and 17) and asked them to give it a whirl. They had mixed feelings, "How can a book help?" but eventually tried one or two exercises to get started. To my mind, the world is extra super stress-inducing right now, and the exercises helped. They didn't bother with a lot of the introspective questions (or, they didn't share their answers with me), but told me the 'Stress Waves" exercise (#19) and "Living in the Now" (#8) were especially useful. One boy liked the Mindful Eating (#12) exercise, and they all felt like they were paying more attention to how much, and what, they were posting on social media (#28).

Overall, I think this is an excellent tool for any parent to have and use. Adults can benefit from it as well!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Gina M. Biegel
Instant Help Books, 2017
pp. 136, $17.95

Note that this workbook was used in conjunction with its newly released Card Deck.

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