Destressing Strategy: Meditation

There’s no "right way” to meditate. But however you do it, meditation can help calm you down, during and after. Some people meditate while sitting still, others on a walk; some spend three minutes, others an hour. Do whatever works! You don’t have to be alone on a mountaintop in a far off country in order to meditate (but you could be, and that’s cool, too!) - it can happen in a bedroom first thing in the morning or on the couch late in the day. Meditation can be guided using an app or recording (Headspace and Calm are two great ones) or solo in a quiet room. Do whatever works for you to shift focus to the mind, slow down thoughts, and release tensions. You might even want to try one of these exercises for starters.
  • Deep breathing. This works well for beginners because breathing is something we do naturally, all day every day. Focus all your attention on your breath. Concentrate on feeling your breath, listening to the sounds of inhalation and exhalation through our nose. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders (it probably will - totally normal!), just return your focus to your breathing. Let go of any worry about doing it wrong!*
  • Body scanning. Start from the toes and work your way up to the top of your head. Take notice of how everything feels, like the soles of your feet feel or the muscles in your arms or the roots of your hair feels - that last one might sound weird, but it can be very soothing! Connecting to the way your body feels can actually release pain, tension, aches and even emotions like sadness, replacing them with relaxation.

  • Repeating a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase repeated over and over again to put someone into a meditative state. Most important advice here: there is no one mantra! You can create your own - maybe repeat a part of prayer or just pick a favorite word like marshmallow or sunrise and repeat that over and over again. The point is to get lost in the word or phrase, removing focus from daily life (like homework, tests, friends, upcoming games) for just a little while.

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Photo by Cottonbro

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