Meditate your stress away
Are you a stressed out teen? The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3 out of 10 adolescents ages 13 to 18 have had an anxiety disorder (NIMH.NIH.GOV). Even more would say they feel stressed out sometimes. What is the best way to deal with stress? Don’t turn to cannabis or someone else’s prescription medications to deal with your stress. Meditation is a safe way to lower stress without the negative risks from drug use.
The benefits of meditation have been recognized for millennia. By slowing down and relaxing your mind and body, you can reduce stress and feel more ready to take on the day. Unlike cannabis, meditating does not increase your risk for depression or schizophrenia. There is no risk of dependency. There are countless ways to try meditating. Give one of these a try:
One Minute Mindfulness
If you’re short on time and energy, start simple. You can incorporate one minute of mindfulness into every day. YouTube has tutorials on how to meditate, such as “One-Moment Meditation: How to Meditate in a Moment” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6eFFCi12v8). Here’s a quick primer: Sit up straight, but comfortably, in a chair. Set a timer for one minute then close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing for the entire minute. Every time you start thinking about something else, bring your thoughts back to your breathing. At the end of the minute, you should feel more relaxed and aware. Try to incorporate a mindful minute into your day when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Progressive Muscular Relaxation
This form of meditation takes a little longer and requires more practice. You gradually work your way through the major muscle groups, contracting one muscle group at a time for 10-20 seconds and then relax the muscles. You can work from your forehead to your toes, or the other way around. The most important part is that you learn how your muscles feel when they are tensed and when they are relaxed. First, tighten your feet for 10 seconds, then relax. Move on to your ankles, calves, thighs, hands, forearms, arms, stomach, chest, back, neck, and face. You’ll want to find a YouTube video or create your own recording to talk yourself through the process. The entire routine can take less than 15 minutes.
Finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety are important skills to deal with the issues that can, in some cases, lead to dangerous drug use. Try meditation to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Partners for Prevention is a community network dedicated to sustainable substance abuse prevention efforts for Rutland County youth and young adults. Stay connected by liking Partners for Prevention on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/partnersforprevention
Written by Partners for Prevention member Rachel Newton, former Regional Prevention Partnerships Coordinator, Rutland Regional Medical Center.