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A four-week stress-reduction program that includes yoga-based breathing techniques can help teens gain better control of their impulsive behavior, a new study suggests. The researchers say lack of impulsivity control in teens is associated with substance abuse and other risky behaviors.
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, studied 524 teens who went through the program, called “Yes! For Schools,” which included yoga-based breathing techniques, as well as education about maintaining healthy bodies, minds and lifestyles. The teens learned yoga stretches and other relaxation techniques, and participated in discussions about food and nutrition. They were taught strategies for handling challenging emotional and social situations, including peer pressure.
The study also included 264 teens who didn’t participate in the program, according to The Huffington Post. Before and after the four-week study, the teens in both groups filled out questionnaires to assess their impulsive behavior.
Students who participated in the program said they felt less impulsive after the four weeks, compared with the teens who didn’t participate.
“Substance abuse and various mental health problems that begin in adolescence are often very difficult to shake in adulthood — there is a need for interventions that bring impulsive behavior under control in this group,” researcher Dara Ghahremani said in a news release. “Our research is the first scientific study of the YES! program to show that it can significantly reduce impulsive behavior.”
The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.