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.
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.