Mindfulness represents an in-the-moment and nonjudgmental way of responding to thoughts and feelings (Kabat-Zinn, 2012).
It involves “Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 2012, p. 1).
Given its ability to enhance emotional balance and wellbeing, mindfulness represents a useful therapeutic approach among psychologists. Fortunately, many helpful mindfulness worksheets are available for therapists and clients alike.
Given the diverse applicability of mindfulness in the field of psychology, mindfulness worksheets cover a variety of mental health topics (e.g., anxiety, addiction, stress, etc.). Such worksheets also target specific audiences (e.g., children, adults, groups, etc.) and treatment approaches (e.g., Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, etc.).
This article will present 65+ mindfulness worksheets across issues, people, and treatment approaches. Many links to informative books, articles, and downloadable worksheets are also provided. Those interested in enhancing mindfulness in themselves or others will find an abundance of resources at their fingertips.
The importance of mindfulness tools cannot be overstated. After all:
If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will not only help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life, but also give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
- 18 Best Mindfulness Worksheets
- 10 Worksheets for Kids and Students
- 6 Mindfulness Coloring Worksheets
- For Anxiety and Stress-Reduction
- Useful Worksheets for DBT Sessions
- For Your Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Sessions
- For Treating Addiction and Relapse Prevention
- 5+ Group Mindfulness Worksheets
- Valuable Resources From PositivePsychology.com
- A Take-Home Message
18 Best Mindfulness Worksheets
In her book Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients, Burdick (2003) provides many excellent mindfulness worksheets. Here are four examples:
Handout 2-8: Loving-kindness for Self and Others
This worksheet guides individuals in picturing different people in their minds (including themselves) and learning how to send them love and kindness.
|Individuals consider five types of people to develop loving-kindness toward, such as:||Individuals send them loving-kindness based on various examples, such as:|
|Yourself||May I be well.|
|A good friend||May I be happy.|
|A “neutral” person||May I be free from suffering.|
|A difficult person||May my good friend be well.|
Handout 2-9: Journal About Your Understanding of What Mindfulness is
Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn mindfulness while processing their feelings through journaling.
|Individuals answer journal prompts such as:|
|How would you define mindfulness?|
|How have you started to be more mindful during your day?|
|How do you feel about being more mindful?|
|Why have you decided to incorporate mindfulness into your life?|
Handout 2-16: Journal About a Time You Felt Afraid
Using prompts, this worksheet helps individuals to learn how to get in touch with implicit memories that may be associated with fear.
|Individuals answer journal prompts such as:|
|List times in your life when you felt afraid.|
|Describe what was going on at that time that caused you fear.|
|Was there a cause for the fear when you experienced it, or was it based on a previous experience?|
|Was there another time in the past that you experienced that same fear?|
Handout 2-13: The Prefrontal Cortex
This worksheet helps individuals to understand the functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by using an orchestra conductor analogy.
|Individuals are presented with various executive functions performed by the PFC, such as:||Individuals are instructed to do the following exercises:|
|Planning||What does a conductor do in an orchestra?|
|Organizing||List things you have trouble doing that are controlled by the PFC.|
|Regulating attention||List things you do well that are controlled by the PFC.|
|Decision making||Practice strengthening PFC processing by practicing mindfulness skills.|
ACT made simple: Your values
Here are several more worksheets to download and use on yourself or with clients:
Individuals are asked to consider what matters to them, the sort of person they want to be, and what is standing in the way of them achieving their goals. They are then asked to make an X in the dartboard below to indicate where they are today based on the following categories:
- Personal growth/Health
This exercise is adapted from Russ Harris’s (2009) The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT Books, which includes numerous useful worksheets centered around acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Individuals are asked to consider the methods they have used to avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings, along with the long-term impact of such practices. They are then asked to write about their attempted solutions and long-term outcomes.
Substance use & other
Individuals are asked to choose regular activities that are part of their daily routines and then to focus on each aspect while it is happening. They are also asked to experience these activities as mindfulness practices. This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into a client’s daily life with ‘baby steps’ as they apply it to one, then increasingly more, routine activities.
Mindfulness involves nonjudgmental acceptance of one’s thoughts and feelings. In practice, however, this can be hard to do. This Thoughts and Feelings: Struggle or Acceptance questionnaire helps the reader better understand the degree of control they believe they have over their feelings and thoughts.
|Struggle examples||Acceptance examples|
|I need to control my emotions to achieve things and be successful.||I can be successful without controlling my feelings.|
|Anxiety is a bad thing.||Anxiety is neither good nor bad; it’s an uncomfortable feeling that comes and goes.|
|I make a concerted effort to suppress unwanted thoughts and emotions.||I allow emotions and thoughts to come and go without trying to suppress them.|
Individuals are asked about their deeply held values and desired qualities in themselves and in relationships, etc.
Examples of valued areas of life include:
Physical self-care (diet/exercise/sleep)
Individuals are asked to complete an action plan that includes specific goals, values, underlying goals, actions needed to achieve goals, thoughts and other sensations they are willing to be open to in order to fulfill goals, as well as other useful reminders such as small steps.
Individuals are asked to follow the STOP approach in times of crisis.
This approach involves the following steps:
- Slower breath
- Thoughts and feelings
- Open up
- Personal values
8 Worksheets for Kids and Students
Mindfulness is related to many benefits among children and teens, such as increased self-esteem, social skills, self-acceptance, calmness, and emotion regulation; and decreased anxiety, ADHD behaviors, depression, and conduct problems (Burke, 2009).
Mindfulness training has also been associated with increased psychological wellbeing, self-regulation, and self-esteem among adolescents (Shruti, Uma, & Dinesh, 2018).
Here are some useful worksheets that cover a range of topics for children across grades:
Inside and Outside Worksheet helps kids to understand the value of changing their thoughts to make them more positive and helps trusted adults to understand their emotional experiences.
Right Here, Right Now helps children from preschool to fifth grade to use five sentences to learn about the meaning of mindfulness.
Fun Mindful Eating helps kindergarteners and first-graders to practice mindful eating by focusing on various sensations during a meal or snack.
Feelings Wheel helps second- and third-graders to better understand their feelings by creating a feelings wheel.
Gratitude Gifts promotes gratitude in kindergarteners and first-graders by thinking about the positive impact of gratitude on their lives.
Mindful Listening Challenge! – With this fun worksheet, second and third-graders design their own game that helps others to learn about mindful listening. In doing so, children learn various socio-emotional skills.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Easy Basics provides a deep-breathing exercise to promote emotion regulation and relaxation in children. Caregivers are instructed to read a script aloud to a child and take part in the activity with them to demonstrate deep breathing. Here is an example:
“With your back nice and straight, settle into a comfortable standing or seating position. Now gently close your eyes. Begin with three deep, calming breaths through your nose. Feel the air flowing in, and out. In, and out. In… and out again.”
Dragon Fire Breathing is similar to deep breathing but includes a few more methods for activating the calming parasympathetic nervous system. Children are asked to breathe in normally and focus on their exhale, making it as close as they can to a fiery dragon’s breath. When children regularly practice Dragon Fire Breathing in a calm state, they will be better able to use this technique to diffuse volatile or explosive situations.
Two Other Useful Worksheet Sources
Along with the above useful worksheets, there also are many terrific insights and worksheets for young people in Burdick’s (2014) book Mindfulness Skills for Kids & Teens: A Workbook for Clinicians & Clients.
Additionally, the Nebraska Honors Program CLC Expanded Learning Opportunity Clubs Information Sheet (Schendt, 2019) contains the following fun and creative worksheets aimed at increasing healthy habits among middle-school-aged children:
- Noodle Tower (for cognitive stress coping)
- Fluffy Slime (for diversion stress coping)
- Stress Balls (for diversion stress coping)
- Gratitude Letters (for social/interpersonal stress coping)
- Letters to Future Self (for cognitive stress coping)
- Positive Affirmations/Mantras (for cognitive stress coping)
- Music and Coloring (for diversion stress coping)
- Team Building and Mindfulness
- Yoga and Meditation
6 Mindfulness Coloring Worksheets
In fact, mindfulness coloring books used as part of art therapy are related to significantly reduced anxiety (Ashlock, Miller-Perrin, & Krumrei-Mancuso, 2019) and stress (Simmons, 2016) among young adults. Here are some excellent examples:
The coloring book The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People (Farrarons, 2015) helps both adults and children to reduce stress through creativity.
It contains 70 attractive drawing patterns (e.g., butterflies, flowers, and kaleidoscopic designs) intended to promote a sense of serenity.
Education.com also provides many mindfulness-focused coloring worksheets.
Here are six examples:
Mandala Coloring is designed to foster social-emotional and mindfulness skills among kindergarteners and first-graders.
Puppy Mind Artwork is a social-emotional worksheet designed to promote mindfulness and kindness among second and third graders.
Look Out the Window is designed to help children to see the incredible world around them.
Family Pride: My Family Rainbow is designed to help children to celebrate and be more mindful of the palette of their families and communities.
Yoga for Kids: Mountain Pose is a coloring worksheet and movement activity designed to improve children’s attention, performance, and focus, as demonstrated by ‘Roly.’
Yoga for Kids: Happy Baby Pose is a coloring worksheet and movement activity designed to improve children’s attention, performance, and focus, as demonstrated by ‘Muggo.’
For Anxiety and Stress Reduction
Mindfulness techniques have been found to help anxious and stressed individuals by promoting relaxation while removing negative judgments (Blanck et al., 2018). Many mindfulness-focused worksheets have been created to reduce stress and anxiety, and we share 11 examples below.
The book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016) includes a great deal of information about anxiety, along with how ACT may help to disarm anxiety and fear. The goal is to equip readers with a new way of responding to their fear and stress.
The book teaches numerous skills designed to enable anxious individuals to be “less avoidant and less tangled up with difficult thoughts, and more present, flexible, compassionate, kind with [themselves], and accepting of [their] internal experiences just as they are” (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016, p. 2).
For each type of anxiety disorder, readers checkmark the symptoms that refer to them. They also are provided with a vignette describing one individual’s experience with that particular disorder. The book is loaded with worksheet exercises, such as the following:
- Your Life Book of Possibilities is a mindfulness exercise that helps readers to shift perspective to the here and now, rather than looking backward.
- Centering into Your Heart allows readers to understand the difference between anxiety and fear by providing a list of potential situations within each category.
- Has Responding with Fear and Worry Been Useful to Me? asks readers to describe a dangerous event along with their responses to it. By also noting how useful their response was, they can see how fear sometimes results in actions that promote safety.
The book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness (Fleming & Kocovski, 2013) includes a wealth of information about what social anxiety looks like and the various mindfulness approaches that may result in substantial relief from it.
It includes both guided mindfulness exercises (with audio downloads available online) as well as written exercises.
Like the previous book, Fleming and Kocovski (2013) are focused on an ACT approach to anxiety. Here are a few worksheet examples:
- Situations Involving Social Interaction provides information about different social situations along with a checklist of specific cases where social anxiety may be triggered. The worksheet is followed by two more with the same format but focused on the anxiety situations that involve being observed by and performing in front of others.
- Top Three Feared Social Situations asks readers to describe their top-three most-feared situations.
- The Costs of Outright Avoidance helps readers to identify how avoiding difficult social situations has a cost. It involves listing each avoided situation in one column and the associated costs in the next column (e.g., situation: avoiding parties; cost: loneliness).
- What Are You Giving Up for Safety? helps individuals identify the various costs for their safety behaviors as pertaining to their top-three feared situations.
Education.com also provides several mindfulness-focused worksheets specific to children dealing with stress and anxiety. Here are four examples:
- Let’s Breathe, Five-Finger Style! is designed to help kindergarteners and first-graders learn five-fingers mindful breathing.
- Range of Emotions is designed to help kindergarteners and first graders learn to recognize their range of emotions.
- Belly Breathing to Calm, Focus, and De-Stress is designed to help kindergarteners and first graders use belly breathing to calm themselves and deal with stress.
- Negativity Bias is intended to help second and third graders to understand why humans tend to remember negative experiences. It enhances stress management by asking kids to write or draw 10 recent positive experiences, as well as to send positive messages to others.
Useful Worksheets for DBT Sessions
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapy technique used for the treatment of a variety of mental issues and disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation.
Developed by Marsha Linehan, DBT teaches individuals the skills to deal with their painful emotions. Given Linehan’s extensive Buddhism background, DBT is grounded in mindfulness philosophy. Indeed, Linehan uses this experience
as a subtle learning device that opens up the current moment without reserve or grudges including emotions (feeling states) and understandings of the inner world of being.
Eist, 2015, p. 887
The book Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises (McKay, Wood, and Brantley, 2019) provides a number of useful DBT worksheets and exercises. Here are five examples:
- Exercise: Take a REST – Using the ‘REST’ strategy, readers are reminded to Relax, Evaluate, Set an intention, and Take action. After recalling a recent tricky situation, they are then asked to consider what happened, how they responded, and how they might have coped better using the REST approach.
- Radical Acceptance asks individuals to accept situations without judgment.
- Distract Yourself from Self-Destructive Behaviors involves coming up with relatively safe ways to distract oneself from self-destructive feelings and behaviors.
- Create Your Distraction Plan – For this exercise, individuals come up with distraction skills following the REST approach to use when encountering a painful situation. After writing their distraction techniques in a list, they are then asked to write them on sticky notes (or on their phones) to use during tough situations.
- Create A Relaxation Plan asks readers to create a list of soothing and relaxing skills (using their five senses) that they can use at home.
For a highly useful workbook on DBT, readers are encouraged to check out Linehan’s (2015) book DBT? Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets (2015).
This book is packed with DBT exercises, worksheets, and handouts that cover each of the DBT skill modules.
For Your Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Sessions
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a standard psychological treatment for various mental disorders.
It involves working with clients to identify the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that impact their ability to modify behaviors.
Mindfulness activities (e.g., relaxation while removing negative or stressful judgments) are often combined with CBT to create a powerful way of dealing with anxiety and other emotional challenges.
Various mindfulness-based CBT worksheets are available elsewhere on this site. For example, our PositivePsychology.com resources include the following six examples:
Core Beliefs Worksheet 1 helps individuals to identify their core beliefs about themselves, others, and the world as a whole. A core belief definition is provided along with some questions to help you challenge those beliefs.
Core Beliefs Worksheet 2 helps individuals to identify the negative core beliefs they hold about themselves.
Increasing Awareness of Cognitive Distortions can be used to help clients recognize distorted thinking and reduce the negative impact of these thinking patterns.
Questions For Challenging Thoughts contains a list of questions that you can use to challenge any unwanted or unhelpful thoughts that bother you.
Cognitive Restructuring Worksheet uses the Socratic questioning technique to help clients challenge irrational or illogical thoughts.
Moving from Cognitive Fusion to Defusion can help clients who are caught up in the content of their thinking. The exercise creates some distance from the literal meaning of their thoughts, instead encouraging greater awareness of thinking as a continued, active cognitive process.
For Treating Addiction and Relapse Prevention
Relapse is a significant challenge for individuals dealing with addiction. Relapse prevention is grounded in cognitive-behavioral theory and is aimed at preventing relapse (as defined by the individual’s treatment goals), as well as relapse management (Marlatt & Donovan, 2005).
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been found effective for the prevention of depression relapse (Williams et al., 2014). Worksheets provide helpful tools for relapse prevention professionals.
- Core Beliefs Suitcases involves having individuals ‘unpack’ the false self-beliefs that may be influencing them negatively (e.g., “If I tell others how I feel, they will think I’m weak”). It uses the suitcase metaphor to illustrate how our core beliefs impact our behaviors.
- Identifying Emotional Avoidance Strategies involves having individuals identify various ways to dodge feelings from a list that is provided (e.g., gambling, overeating, etc.).
- Interacting With Your Emotions invites clients to become more familiar with their emotions by reflecting on the different ways they might feel in common situations.
- Linking Feelings and Situations involves having individuals identify past experiences when they felt particular emotions (e.g., anger, fear, etc.) to enable them to connect feelings with situations.
- Negative Thoughts Checklist involves having individuals identify repetitive negative thoughts (i.e., habitual thoughts about oneself and the world that cause emotional pain). It also helps clients consider the core beliefs they are linked to. Potential repetitive thoughts include: “I can’t deal with this” and “Nobody loves me” etc.
Our free relapse prevention worksheets can also help clients identify coping strategies to manage their recovery journey.
Preventing Relapse helps individuals to identify relapse red flags, people they can contact to deal with cravings, and things they can do to distract themselves from relapsing.
Managing Cravings helps clients identify specific scenarios where their cravings are strongest, then create a coping strategy.
Modes Influencing Recovery is a psychoeducational resource that outlines seven modes that influence recovery from addiction (e.g., affect, behavior, and social modes). Clients can use it to design a plan for tackling challenges they identify.
5+ Group Mindfulness Worksheets
Mindfulness techniques may also be offered in a group setting. This approach may be advantageous for some because it is often cheaper than individual therapy and enables participants to experience feedback from multiple group members.
Group leaders may incorporate mindfulness worksheets as a way of enhancing clients’ self-understanding and identifying useful tools to promote mindfulness.
Here are two examples:
- Walking Down The Street – Being aware of how our thoughts and feelings are linked and observing our own thoughts can reveal negative cycles in which the two reinforce one another. This PositivePsychology.com Toolkit exercise helps group therapy clients in two ways. First, clients understand that thoughts are mental events, not facts. Group leaders can also use it to demonstrate how emotional reactions reflect interpretations, rather than the reality, of situations.
- Teaching Others About Mindfulness helps students to develop a lesson plan for mentoring younger kids in developing the skills to deal with stress and anger.
Practicing group mindfulness also may be fun. Here are two examples of printable worksheets that teachers or group counselors might want to check out:
Mindfulness-based team-building worksheets also provide terrific ways to promote positive emotional health:
Squeeze and Release is a fun team-building activity that uses stress balls to teach participants about the stressful consequences of failing to focus on the present.
Cultivating Mindfulness Through Single-Tasking demonstrates the illusion of multitasking to clients and offers concrete guidelines to help them to adopt a more mindful (single-tasking) approach to life.
Silent Connections heavily emphasizes mindfulness of others by inviting group participants to build connections through nonverbal communication.
It is also worth noting that many of the PositivePsychology.com mindfulness worksheets available to parents, clinicians, and teachers may be adapted to meet the needs of classrooms or group therapy sessions.
More Valuable Resources From PositivePsychology.com
Of course, our very own site provides even more excellent resources for promoting mindfulness. For example, 22 mindfulness exercises, techniques, and activities are available on our website and include such approaches as:
- The Raisin Exercise
- The Body Scan
- The Self-Compassion Pause Worksheet
- The 3-Step Mindfulness Exercise
- Mindful Eating for Four Minutes
The following exercises are part of our Toolkit, which is a science-based online platform with over 350 exercises, activities, and other tools for professionals:
- Connecting to Your Intuition
- Mindfully Meeting Other People
- Walking Down the Street
- Informal Mindfulness Practices
If you would like to explore even more on the topic of mindfulness, here is an excellent selection of popular blog posts:
- The 7 Most Inspirational Mindfulness TED Talks
- 76 Most Powerful Mindfulness Quotes: Your Daily Dose of Inspiration
- Mindfulness Coaching Using the Mindfulness X Program
- The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)
- How to Benefit From Mindful Running and Mindful Exercise on Your Fitness Journey
Last but not least, there is Mindfulness-X.
Designed for professionals, this online package allows you to personalize a demonstrated, science-based, eight-session mindfulness training and use it to inspire the lives of your clients and students. The course is based on scientific research and is fully referenced. It is an invaluable tool for you to not only master the eight pillars of mindfulness, but also positively impact others by teaching them mindfulness.
These are just a few examples of the numerous mindfulness tools and worksheets provided by PositivePsychology.com; there are many more resources available for those interested in bringing more mindfulness into their lives.
17 Mindfulness & Meditation Exercises – If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enjoy the benefits of mindfulness, this collection contains 17 validated mindfulness tools for practitioners. Use them to help others reduce stress and create positive shifts in their mental, physical, and emotional health.
A Take-Home Message
There may never have been a time in history when practicing mindfulness has been more important. With our fast-paced society and technological advances, many of us find ourselves constantly overexposed to stressful messages and situations.
Or, in the words of Kabat-Zinn:
Even before smartphones and the Internet, we had many ways to distract ourselves. Now that’s compounded by a factor of trillions.
Learning how to live in the moment and accept emotions and thoughts without judgment (i.e., mindfulness) is an effective way to experience greater tranquility and contentment.
Fortunately, modern-day technology also boasts some important perks; namely, a vast amount of accessible information for individuals interested in learning or teaching mindfulness.
This article included 65+ worksheets, along with numerous printable handouts. These resources cover more general mindfulness topics, as well as mindfulness for kids and teens, anxiety reduction, DBT, CBT, addiction and relapse prevention, and group therapy.
Whether you are a therapist, teacher, parent, or simply someone who wants to experience a more mindful existence, a plethora of tools are available to help you. So, go ahead and give mindfulness a try; you may find that:
with mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free.
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- Blanck, P., Perleth, S., Heidenreich, T., Kröger, P., Ditzen, B., Bents, H., & Mander, J. (2018). Effects of mindfulness exercises as a stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 102, 25–35.
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- McKay, M., Wood, J., & Brantley, J. (2019). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills workbook: Practical DBT exercises. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
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- Williams, J., Crane, C., Barnhofer, T., Brennan, K., Duggan, D. S., Fennell, M., … Russell, I. (2014). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for preventing relapse in recurrent depression: A randomized dismantling trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82, 275–286.