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Meditation for Teens’ Mental Well-Being


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It is obvious that we all are facing an adverse situation in the Corona virus pandemic. Teenage is the rocky stage of life with a lot of ups and downs which affect one’s both physical and mental well-being. With most physical classes being postponed and co-curricular activities being abandoned, it has become more difficult to counsel teenage individuals to get through their personal problems. They have become more claustrophobic with their own set of burdens in their heads. 


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It is primarily due to academic pressure, exams, homework, meeting deadlines, family problems, relationships, peer pressure, feeling of unpreparedness, lack of motivation, self-doubt, and loneliness. Most teenagers are unable to express their true feelings in order to lessen such stress. All these can pill up a lot of burden and anxiety in one which might often lead them to take extreme steps such as drugs or suicide.

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Meditation is a widely known practice that is used to focus on oneself, mindfulness, paying attention to objects, sounds, or thoughts, and training oneself to attain mental stability, relaxation, and emotional calmness. It is practiced in several religions especially in Hinduism and Buddhism and is often considered as a way to pray to God. 


With research, it has been noticed that meditation is significantly effective in reducing stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. Instead,  it is productive in increasing calmness of mind, perception, well-being, and attain self-actualization. 



Why meditation is extremely crucial for teenagers: Scientific explanation


The amygdala in the brain is used as a part of our survival mechanisms. It becomes reactive to stressful events or past traumatic events. During the teenage, the frontal lobe which is active to make good decisions isn’t always effectively communicating to the amygdala and hence responds immediately to any triggers. 


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At this age, the pathway becomes the amygdala and the frontal lobe of the brain is not strong. It is through meditation that this pathway will rewire. 


A 15-minute meditation for 3 to 4 weeks can effectively strengthen communication between the frontal lobe and the amygdala. The overall brain becomes more responsive and less reactive and less prone to erratic or anxious behaviour.  


Benefits of Meditation on teenage mental health


Intervention on teenage mental stressfulness and health struggles can only be effectively diminished by meditation and mindfulness. 


  1. Reduced destructive behaviour: Teenagers practicing meditation are able to show calm behaviour and mindful thinking and ceased to use drugs, alcohol, or smoking. 


  1. Decreased anger: Teenagers start to feel a reduced level of anger and gradually begin to tolerate all types of external disruptive forces and stimuli.  


  1. Less stress: This is the primary motive as to which meditation is widely practice. Meditation positively results in a reduced level of stress and anxiety and helps to cope up when confronted with a stressful situation. 


  1. Greater mental clarity: With meditation, one becomes more conscious of the surroundings and less ambiguous. One tends to make better decisions become of greater clarity in thoughts. 


  1. Health benefits: It also reduces high blood pressure and moderates heart rate and also balances the immunity system. 


Harvard Medical School study reported that that meditation changes the functioning of the brain. In fact, the regular practice of meditation over time increases the thickness of the areas of the brain associated with well-being, self-regulation, and learning. This is applicable for teens and adults as well. 


How to get started?


Staring off with meditation can be daunting at first for most teenagers. It is perfect to start with a 5 to 10 minutes session which is easy to complete. Slowly and gradually the time can be increased. 


  1. Close your eyes or gaze softly. Let the lighting in your room be dim.

  2. Pay attention to your breathing.

  3. Place your hands on your lap.

  4. The main goal is to shift the thoughts of stress or worries and breaking them into an object or situation. Pay attention to each breath as it comes and goes. 

  5. Let yourself feel every part of your body and how it is reacting to the breaths. Advice yourself to calm yourself down when stressful thoughts come to your head. Let it come and pass. 

  6. Encourage yourself to separate yourself from the emotions. Pay attention to your chest and abdomen, the way they contract and expand. Know how your breath feels through your nostrils in and out.

  7. Don’t change the rhythm of your breath. 

  8. Pay attention to sounds surrounding you. You may play soft music in the background. 


Does one stop thinking while meditating?


No. It is not possible to stop thinking completely. Let thoughts come to your mind, acknowledge them and let them pass. Some thoughts will conquer your mind, gradually over time you will master the art of focusing on the good things.






Conclusion

Meditation is a widespread practice for gaining a stable state of mind. It is often used in the rehabilitation process to help oneself recover. It is also used for treating patients or even criminals to get back to a normal lifestyle. Practicing meditation on a daily basis for 15 to 30 minutes can stimulate good thoughts and good actions in individuals. Schools and other educational institutions must include it as a part of co-curricular. 


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