24 Aug Ease your Teenage Stresses by Mastering the Magic of Now
Today we’re going to discover and explore the ‘magic of now’ as a solution to ease your teenage stresses. “What the…” I hear you mumble. Don’t panic, I’m not going to make you delve into the world of Harry Potter to create spells or discuss anything mathematical that’s going to tax your brain. Instead, I want to introduce you to a simple method that you can call on when you feel a bit fed up, sad or grouchy that will help you to relax and feel more like yourself again. It’ll also give you an energy boost without needing sugar!
As difficult as it might sound, be in the moment
When was the last time you felt chilled out and thoroughly in tune with what you were doing? It might actually be hard to recollect.
Do you ever feel like it’s hard to enjoy your day? That it’s difficult to be in the moment because you’re thinking about the past or worrying about the future?
It’s hard as a tween, teen or even in your early twenties because there’s just so much going on. So much new stuff is thrown your way with so many decisions to make that life can feel a bit like that poor hamster on a wheel going round and round with no end in sight. There are lessons to study, exams to take, peer pressures to deal with, image anxieties to overcome, and unrealistic demands from parents, teachers and maybe even bosses. They aren’t actually unrealistic, but it’ll be a couple of decades before you realise. And that’s all alongside social media constantly pulling at your shirt adding to your FOMO!
Think carefully … where were you when you last felt truly happy and content?
Do you think it would be valuable to know how to step away from your overwhelming feelings, to let go of your anxieties and to take stress in your stride? Your answer is mindfulness. Add that to your next status update!
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”
Mindfulness is right here, right now
Mindfulness is all about living 100 per cent in the present moment without getting caught up with the pains of the past or fears of the future.
There’s no point worrying about finding the perfect career path, the ideal partner, or lifetime holiday. It will happen when it happens and it will be amazing! There’s no point reliving the disappointment of an exam fail, the pain of an accident, or the embarrassment of a mishap. They have happened and you can’t change it.
Focus on the ‘now’.
Notice what’s happening around you. It might even put a smile on your face. Mindfulness isn’t difficult. You don’t have to be sat cross-legged on a mountain in Asia. You can be mindful anywhere, no matter what you’re doing. I agree, it might not sound easy and you’re probably rolling your eyes, but once you’ve experienced it and practiced it, it can become your go-to destresser. Say goodbye to binge chocolate feasts, box sets or wanting to be alone to make you feel better. Mindfulness is the future!
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
You already have ancient wisdom inside you
It’s true. You’ve probably experienced mindfulness by accident when you were in that happy place you thought of earlier. A period when you were completely in the zone and time seemed to stand still because you were so deep into what you were doing. Were you gaming? Playing sports? Playing an instrument? Acting or singing? Playing with your pets? Or just spending quality time with friends and family? I bet you’re smiling right now thinking about how much fun you had. That’s because you were in the moment and when you’re in that state of mind, you remember it.
All around world from the UK to Ukraine, from Singapore to San Fransisco and from Austria to Australia, people have recognised the really cool benefits of mindfulness for thousands of years. And it’s free! What a gift!
Mindfulness has been described as:
- Being present
- Being aware
- Being awakened
- Concentration plus attention
- Seeing clearly
- Compassionate awareness
- Open heartedness
- Loving presence
It can be difficult to describe an experience or feeling, but you’ll use your own description once you’ve had a go.
So let’s do it right now. There’s no time like the present. You might prefer to listen to the podcast of this blog if that’s easier. If so, start at click here and start at 11:10. Oh, and you don’t have to close your eyes if you’re worried people might think you’re weird!
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
How to ease your teenage stresses
It’s easy because it’s just breathing. It’s what’s at the heart of mindfulness … your breath. And breath is a wonderful thing because it brings more oxygen into your body, helps you to absorb more nutrients and gets rid of yucky toxins that shouldn’t be there. Breath helps to calm your chattery mind and free your thoughts from the pains of the past and fears of the future.
Did you know that you breathe on average 20,000 times every day? How many breaths are you conscious of? Probably the last breath you took because we drew attention to it. This is what people say when practicing yoga ‘come back to your breath’. I know what you’re thinking, ‘yoga is for old people TeeJay.’ Well it’s not. Try yoga! Yoga is good for you.
“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.”
Focus on your breathing – do it now
Simply allow yourself to be here with me right now. Bring your attention to your breath. Don’t make it any different; it doesn’t need to be slower or deeper.
Notice the mood and air as you inhale oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. You can experiment and choose words to say to yourself when breathing in and out. Emotions are good such as breathing in calmness and breathing out tension. Say an affirmation such as my world is good, my life is good, or I am good when you breathe in.
Follow your breath’s journey, down into the lungs and out again. Notice the pause at the end. Notice how your body feels. Notice your chest rise as you breathe in then fall as you breathe out. Notice the air coming in through your nostrils then leaving through your mouth. This shouldn’t have to feel like work, it’s only natural. Feel yourself relaxing. Smile to tell your face you’re enjoying it.
“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.”
Allow random thoughts to creep in – it’s OK
If you notice thoughts popping into your head or you think you’ve drifted off, that’s fine. Just catch them and don’t judge yourself in any way. Let the thoughts go and come back to your breath.
Mindfulness takes practice, but you can experience the relaxation from as little as three breaths. Let’s do three together now. Again, if you would prefer to listen to the podcast, as a spoken guide, click here and go to 15:48. Say whatever you want to yourself as you breathe in and out. Let’s go…
- Breathe in
- Hold for a moment
- Breathe out
- Notice the end
- Breathe in calm
- Hold for a moment
- Breathe out stress and tension
- Notice the end
- Breathe in and feel yourself relax
- Hold for a moment
- Breathe out and let any worries escape with your breath
- Notice the end
How do you feel after just three breaths? Let me know in the comments below.
“The mind is just like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.”
Choose the life you want to lead
Mindfulness is an informal, quick way to calm your thoughts and regroup your composure. You can practice it more formally as a meditation routine, which is scientifically proven to have superb health and mind benefits. If you have enjoyed exploring your breath, read more about meditation in our full blog article – it’s great for teenagers and those young at heart.
Go on, give yourself a boost and help to release those happy chemicals – it’s free!
There are tons of apps you can download for breathing and mindfulness. You can also explore our blog and podcasts for more free resources, tools and techniques designed to help to deal with tension and ease your stresses.
Please do leave a review, it means a lot to me that you’re enjoying the blog and I love to answer questions and comments sent by email or shared on social media – connect with me.
Until next time, take a deep breath, relax and ease your teenage stresses.