Date Approved

2019

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Lydia McBurrows

Second Advisor

Julie Slack

Third Advisor

Michael Williams

Abstract

Mindfulness and meditation strategies hold the potential to reduce stress and pain response amongst school-aged children. Stress affects children physically, emotionally, neurologically, and psychologically. Excessive amounts of stress could lead to detrimental consequences later in life. High levels of stress experienced by children can negatively impact these domains, unlike mild stressful events that support positive growth and development. Additionally, the child's perception of pain may be improved positivity during stressful events. Pain in children sometimes goes untreated and misunderstood by healthcare providers and caregivers of children. Implementation of mindfulness and meditation into the child's plan of care can enhance their self awareness, empathy, and complex problem solving skills while also supporting effective coping strategies. Meditation originated in the Far East, but it is becoming increasingly popular across the world, especially in the United States. Mindfulness and meditation, used as a complementary and alternative therapy (CAM), has been a beneficial noninvasive stress reduction intervention for children. CAM is especially important for children who are still developing their cognitive skills and learning to express abstract thinking abilities. Teaching mindfulness meditation practices such as body scan and Kirtan Kriya (KK), a yoga singing exercise, can be utilized in the healthcare setting with school-aged children for pain reduction and relaxation purposes.

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