Meditation has completely revolutionized mental health. If you have ever meditated before or are familiar with meditation, you are aware of the various types. The meditation that is the most recognized is the kind that transpires during yoga. You know, the meditation where you say “OM”? There are others, such as Visualization Meditation and Spiritual Meditation too. In addition to being associated with particular religions, meditation can also help manage stress. This is how it usually goes when I attempt to meditate: Initially, I am able to relax, but then my mind wanders. I think about what I have to do later, what I should be doing now instead of meditation, what others around me might be doing, and so on. The list is exhaustive.
Being a Gen Z’er myself, I know how stressful life can be, especially now. Even before COVID-19, we have had to put up with so much pressure from social media, academics, family, comparing ourselves to others and more. What has been recommended to help with this? Meditation. But if you are even remotely like me, you don’t have the time, energy, and quite frankly, meditation does not seem that appealing. Mindfulness Meditation might completely alter how Gen Z deals with anxiety and stress.
Mindfulness has been around for a while, but only recently has it become more prevalent. It has been said to have originated in Hinduism and Buddhism and was primarily utilized in religious environments. Now, it has been introduced into psychology and therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is also known to benefit those who meditate regularly.
On occasion, the terms mindfulness and meditation are used interchangeably while they are in fact quite distinct. According to David Gelles’ “How to Meditate”, Mindfulness is your awareness of what’s going on in the present moment without any judgement. Meditation is the training of attention which cultivates that mindfulness.
Unlike other meditations, Mindfulness does not aim to distract or appease active minds. Instead, it involves paying attention to the present while being as accepting and non judgemental as possible. That is pretty much it. The more we pay attention, the tougher it is to stress about the past and or the future. That is the allure of being mindful.
Crazily enough, the more we observe and are mindful of what is going on in our surroundings, the easier it is to observe what is going on within. Take a moment to do this. Notice what is currently going on around you. Any smells? Noises? How do you feel physically?
How did it feel to do that? If your mind did wander, that is completely fine. If you were able to really focus on the environment you are in, you were being mindful. This exercise can be applied to your internal self as well. The more you observe, the less you will get attached to your thoughts and the better you will feel. The next time you are having an unpleasant or negative thought, try being mindful.
Mindfulness could be what Gen Z has been waiting for. Unlike other meditations and even other coping mechanisms, mindfulness is pretty easy to practice. Not only is it not that tough to do, it does not take that long either. I know how extremely beneficial this can be for Gen Zers especially during these crazy times. Instead of trying to distract yourself or getting attached to negative thoughts, why not try mindfulness. Take a moment to really appreciate what is going on around you. It might even help you appreciate and understand what is going on within you as well.
Want to learn more? Check out “How to Meditate” by David Gelles!
Published by Lila McNamara
Lila is 18 and from Bernardsville, NJ. She recently received her diploma from Morris Catholic High School in June of 2020. She’s really into music and helping others whenever she can. She loves being with kids, her friends, and her pets, and she’s very passionate about mental healthcare.