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‘Mindfulness,’ which means consciously bringing awareness to our experience, boosts well-being in teenage boys, finds a recent study. University of Cambridge researchers analysed 155 boys from two independent UK schools, Tonbridge and Hampton, before and after a four-week crash course in mindfulness.

After the trial period, the 14- and 15-year-old boys were found to have increased well-being, which included happiness, contentment, interest, affection and functioning well, reports the Journal of Positive Psychology.

Professor Felicia Huppert of the Well-being Institute, University of Cambridge, said: ‘Our study demonstrates that this type of training improves well-being in adolescents and that the more they practice, the greater the benefits.’ ‘Another significant aspect of this study is that adolescents who suffered from higher levels of anxiety were the ones who benefitted most from the training.’

For the experiment, students in six classes were trained in mindfulness, a ‘way of paying attention,’ without being judgemental about experince, according to a Well-being Institute statement. Students in the five control classes attended their normal religious studies lessons.

They were also asked to practice outside class and were encouraged to listen to a CD or mp3 file for eight minutes daily. All participants answered questionnaires online before and after the project. The researchers found that although it was a short programme, the students had increased levels of well-being which were proportional to the amount of time the students spent practicing their new skills.

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