BOSTON (CBS) – Stress often accompanies a new school year. On Monday, Janelle Alicea will begin her senior year at Fitchburg High.
“There’s been a lot of bullying. There’s been a lot of all that type of stuff, so it’s really hard. I just really want to make sure that I stay focused, just so I can get into a good college, make sure everything works out exactly how I want it to,” said Alicea.READ MORE: Bloodied Tom Brady Hit With First Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty Of Career In Bucs-Rams Playoff Game
Marilyn Wilcher is a senior director at the Benson-Henry Institute at Mass General Hospital. They focus on mind-body medicine.
Wilcher said she was horrified when she read recent numbers about who is stressed-out. “Teens are the most stressed demographic in the country. I mean that is really shocking and upsetting,” said Wilcher.
She helps teach teens and their parents how to relax by breaking the regular stressful train of thought.
“A breath focus, a mediation, a word focus, for a lot people it’s yoga. It can be repetitive exercise. It can be running,” said Wilcher.
In the lab, she’s found those relaxation techniques lower blood pressure and heart rate.READ MORE: Boston City Workers Given Additional Week To Show Proof Of COVID Vaccination
She shared an example of repeating a line while focusing on breathing. “I am at peace. So when you’re repeating that, you can’t be worrying,” said Wilcher.
Alicea and her mom, Kathleen Salo, traveled to the Benson-Henry in Boston for two months.
“I think it’s changed the way I think,” said Alicea.
The pair now meditate. Alicea found drawing helps her de-stress.
“It just completely takes my mind off of just everything that’s stressing me out,” said Alicea.
Salo said it’s made a difference and she can tell by her daughter’s smile.MORE NEWS: Police Shooting Reported Outside Burlington Apartment Building
Marilyn Wilcher, Senior Director of BHI’s Resilient Youth Program, wrote a book on this topic called “Grab a Tiger by the Toe.”