I’m really grateful that my school (Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse) is supporting my book by writing about it in the newsletter. Final exams are here, as well as the holidays, both a time of high stress and strong emotions for teens and young adults. There are healthy ways to cope, and teens need to know they are not alone.
Since I’m super passionate about sports broadcasting, and also my mental health advocacy, this is really gratifying that the two are coming together and hopefully, I will figure out a way to continue doing both in a meaningful way, so that I can continue to help others.
So, a big thank you to my school, the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, for doing this profile on myself and my book. We discussed ‘Stress Less’ and how it came to be, how students can manage their mental health during final exams, and my passion for broadcasting. Give it a read!
Stress Less: Newhouse Student Adam Avin’s Mindfulness Book for Teens is Rooted in Family Ties
The idea around Newhouse sophomore Adam Avin’s new book about mindfulness is rooted in the days he spent with his great grandparents while growing up in Florida.
“Stress Less: Mindfulness for Teenagers” was years in the making for Avin, a broadcast and digital journalism major. Avin’s book made it to No. 1 on the Young Adult and Teen Social Science category on Amazon after being released in the fall.
“The support I’ve gotten has been overwhelming,” Avin said in recalling his family’s reaction to the book.
As a child, Avin would sit on the couch next to his late Great Grandpa Jack, who would impart words of wisdom: Think well to be well. Smile and the world will smile with you. Smile and say “thank you.”
Those simple but powerful phrases of positivity held such sway, so much so that Avin wanted to find avenues to share those lessons about mindfulness with other children and teenagers.
First, Avin channeled his energy into creating the Wuf Shanti Children’s Wellness Foundation at age 10. Wuf Shanti promotes health, wellness and happiness in children, and encourages peace and positivity. Wuf Shanti videos have been distributed by outlets including the Children’s Television Network, PBS stations and the Kidoodle streaming service for children.
While he was in high school during the COVID lockdown, Avin and Helen Maffini, an educator, author and consultant in the field of mindfulness and emotional intelligence, started interviewing experts over video chats as a way to keep conversations going.
The videos were a part of the Mindful Kids Peace Summit, a curriculum for middle and high schools across the country. Those virtual conversations ended up being the basis for “Stress Less.”
“Why not take all of that knowledge and have it written down and available every day,” Avin said. “We wanted to formulate the book in a way that a teenager would understand or want to read. It’s really important for teens to understand that they’re not alone, and hopefully something in the book resonates with them.”
The book even includes a foreword by former Miami Heat forward and three-time NBA champion Udonis Haslem, who was hired in November as the vice president of basketball development for the team.
Haslem is the founder of a foundation named after him that advocates for mental health in underserved communities. He also happens to be one of Avin’s favorite players on his favorite NBA team.
“Wow, what I would have given to have a book like this when I was growing up,” Haslem said in a release promoting the book. “I’ve actually been using some of these tips, so let’s just say this book hit home for me.”
“Stress Less” walks readers through the importance behind how coping with emotions and stress in a healthy way is good for the mind and body. In the book, Avin talks about tools such as affirmations, breathwork and journaling, as well as meditation.
Avin is certified in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and has become a mental health education advocate, speaking on the topic to groups. Avin delivered a TedxYouth@KC Talk in 2019 about getting mindful programs into the education system.
His work has also been the subject of stories in outlets including Mindful Magazine, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“Stress Less” targets teens and young adults, and tips and lessons from the book can also apply to college students, especially as finals approach and the fall semester comes to an end.
“One of the biggest things we talk about in the book, when you talk about mindfulness, is that no one practices it in the exact same way,” Avin said.
For some people, taking a little time to tune out the world to listen to music might calm them down during a crazy week of final exams and projects. For others, taking a walk or doing breathing exercises might do the trick.
Avin also draws from another member of his family – his late grandfather, Alan, for inspiration.
“My grandfather was a very positive person. It was hard for him to be positive when he was sick, but he said there was a place between negative and positive,” Avin said. “He said he would try to get to neutral. He still wanted to be a positive light for others.”
Thank you to Mr. Armas and Newhouse for sharing my work.
To purchase a copy of Stress Less or give a gift to someone for the holidays: https://linktr.ee/wufshanti