How Can Meditation Help Teenagers Struggling with Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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What you need to know

What even is anxiety? Everyone has felt anxiety, and it is an essential part of human life, but it can be debilitating. Knowing exactly what is happening when you feel anxious can help you to understand what to do about it. The video below explains what anxiety is, and when it becomes a problem. 


How can you take steps to reduce your anxiety?

  • While staying up to date on news of the pandemic is important, taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media is a good idea. Hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting, so consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from your phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
  • Taking care of your body is often a way to take care of your mind as well. Try to eat healthy, satisfying meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of good sleep, avoid excessive substance use, and continue to adhere to proper social distancing and masking guidelines. 
  • If you have space, get outside! Fresh air and a chance to walk around can be a good way to lift your spirits and improve your mood. 
  • With work and school being largely remote still for many people, it can be hard to distinguish between working time and time spent relaxing at home. Make sure to set aside time to relax and unwind, and take breaks during your work and school day. It may be helpful to set up a schedule for yourself, such as stopping all work at 6 pm. If you have too much on your plate to commit to this, even taking a 10-15 minute break to walk around the block or get a snack can help. 
  • Socializing safely is another great thing for your mental health. Talking to someone you trust about your worries can reduce stress, and connecting with others can bring you a sense of meaning and joy. 

Take this poll to vote on which strategy you want to try: https://www.survey-maker.com/poll3589308x1AFb49F5-108


What can we as a society do?

While individual-level work is great, real change is most impactful on a societal level. Societal work is difficult and takes time, but change at this level helps a lot of people. This is where my project idea comes in. While this idea is just a proposal, programs like this can help entire communities. 

My project:

My project is a support group designed specifically with teenagers and the pandemic in mind. My support group would meet either over zoom or in-person when possible (if case numbers are low enough, etc.). We would be open to any teenager (13-18) who can make it! Transportation reimbursement for bus fare would be available to those who need it when we meet in person. Meetings would be once a week, on Sunday afternoons, and each one would be totally optional. This way people can come and go as they please and as their schedule allows. Each meeting would be led by an older peer, and they would start by checking in with the group about how everyone’s week has been and how they are feeling. Next, the leader would facilitate a group meditation or yoga session that is anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on what the group is feeling that day. There would also be an opportunity for the group to socialize afterward to get that sense of group and community support that is lacking from many people’s lives right now. The meetings will take place at a local community center or park if the weather is nice. 

The goal of these sessions is to foster both a sense of community and connection, but also to utilize the proven positive psychology benefits of meditation and yoga. Hopefully, these sessions will also teach the members about different strategies that they can use to navigate how they are feeling on a given day. In order to give you a better sense of what an average session would look like, I’ve included a guided meditation example and a yoga example. Feel free to try these out!

Scan this QR code or click the link to post about your experience with either of these strategies.

https://padlet.com/Horselover100/1a80nmcc9uoqww1t

What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear about strategies you have tried to combat anxiety, your experience with mental health and the pandemic, or ideas/questions about my project! Please leave a comment below.

Resources

If you are in crisis, get immediate help:

More resources:

For Everyone

For Families and Children

For People at Higher Risk for Serious Illness

For Healthcare Workers and First Responders

For Other Workers

Works Cited: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y_ebe2AXZmyaYXJ2XBlRnNXRI0zUNgxPQl93gkm3A4g/edit?usp=sharing

8 Comments

8 comments

  1. Hi Mikayla,
    I love how your project is super useful to all of us reading your project, no matter what age, gender or nationality. We are all facing a pandemic and we are all humans. Your project will help a lot of people to deal with their anxiety during this hard period of time. You did a great job!

  2. Hi Mikayla!
    I would just like to say that you did a really great job with all your visuals and videos! Its a very pleasing format for the reader and I really love that you wrote about something that so many people are struggling with! I have no doubt your presentation will help people!

  3. Hi Mikayla! I love how solution-based your project is, all the videos make it really easy to navigate and engage!

  4. Mikayla, I think your proposed solution would work well. Let me know if you would like support in bringing your solution to life here on campus — I think it would be well worth the effort! I also enjoyed taking your poll and browsing the big list of resources. One recommendation for the future would be to ask your poll question in a “check all that apply” format because I would have liked the chance to say I’d try more than one of the recommendations you made here. Great job!

  5. Hi Mikayla! Great job on your project. Your page overall was so engaging and there were a plethora of opportunities to participate as a viewer. To answer your question, I actually do practice mediation and yoga in my everyday life and I loved how you incorporated these practices into your for now response.

  6. Hey Mikayla! I love how relevant your project is especially in a time of distress and an increase in anxiety in teens. The layout of your presentation was easy to follow and learn from. I really like the steps you provided to reduce anxiety. I will definitely make a note of it and implement those strategies whenever I feel anxious and stressed. I also really like the idea of a support group that practices meditation and yoga. As someone with anxiety and who needs a sense of community and connection as well as mindfulness, I would join a support group if it were started! Great job!

  7. Hey Mikayla! As your presentation addressed current times, I think you chose a such a timely topic! In my Abnormal Psychology class, we’ve practiced a lot on ways to reduce anxiety. I would say that breathing and meditation have helped me a lot since the start of the school year. Your presentation gives me so many more resources to look into, so thank you. Your idea of starting an online meditation group sounds amazing and I congratulate you for your commitment. You did an excellent job bringing awareness to this subject!

  8. Hey Mikayla, your topic is really relevant and I think a lot of people can relate to it. I think your projects ideas of connection and communication are really important, especially during the pandemic when a lot of people struggled with the quarantine and lack of social interaction. Nice job!

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