Meditation is an ancient practice, and has links with mindfulness, as well as with numerous religions and cultural traditions.
Meditation is designed to help train attention and awareness, and promotes mental and emotional clarity. There’s lots of different ways to do it, and many find that focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity helps them achieve a calm state. Lots of people also find that meditation helps them regulate their breathing, which can minimise the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of us responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ stress response. As a result, many people report feeling reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression or pain and increased feelings of wellbeing, peace and self-perception. At the very least, it can encourage you to take time out for yourself.
A quick mindfulness meditation involves breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds and then breathing out for four seconds. You can also try steady deep breaths, breathing out for longer than when you breathe in, which can particularly help if you’re trying to fall asleep or calm yourself down.
Rachel, one of the Centre's Young Champions, explains how she uses meditation to help manage her mental health and wellbeing.
What young people have told us:
'Helped me focus on the present rather than the future stressors.'
'Just need to try it without judgment.'
'Definitely give meditation a try. It relaxes me and allows me to focus on the day instead of worrying about the past or future.'
'Meditation has helped me relieve stress and has made me focus on my surroundings more.'
'I think it has helped because I can take some time out of the day to do some type of self-care activity. I would definitely recommend meditation to other people. '
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.