Everyone feels stressed out at times, and not all stress is distress — some is actually healthy. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, know that you are not alone. Watch the Families Connected video below to see teens share what stresses them out and how they cope.
You’ll find your ways to cope too. Just start with the ideas below. Don’t feel like reading? Watch and listen to the jellyfish or beginners videos in the next section.
Explore the tools and tips on this page and find a few that work for you.
Make time for mental health self-care each day, Start with the mindfulness instructions below.
Check out the mediation apps on this page, or consider journaling, coloring… it only matters that it works for you.
Go outside and walk, run, or swim. Sounds a bit basic, but It’s amazing the difference endorphins can make.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. Your school counselor or an adult on campus is a great place to start.
Basic instructions for mindfulness
Try to eliminate distractions - start by turning off your electronic device.
Relax your body into a position that feels comfortable to you. This can be sitting cross-legged, but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure that you have a straight back so you can take deep breaths. Adjust your position to eliminate any tension in your body.
Begin to focus on your breathing, the feeling of inhaling and sustaining a breath of air, holding that air in your lungs for a few seconds, and then slowly exhaling. You may experience racing thoughts, fatigue, or restlessness — this is completely normal. Just try to bring your attention back to the inhale and exhale of your breath.
Once you are somewhat settled in your breath, notice what is happening in the room and in your body — including sounds, sensations, thoughts, emotions — without getting carried away by them. When you do get carried away, simply bring your attention back to your breath and the present moment with gentleness.
Don't give up! There’s no such thing as meditating “wrong.” The more you practice, the easier it gets to stay present.
National Resources and Articles
What is meditation? What is it not? Why do it? How?
Techniques and guidance for stress relief and better sleep
STRESS! (Teen Health from Nemours)
A Body Scan Meditation to Help You Sleep, (Mindful Magazine)
Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief (helpguide.org)
Five Ways to Prevent Stress Build Up (Teen Health from Nemours)
Yoga for Stress Relief (Teen Health from Nemours)
Stress Center (Teen Health from Nemours)
A Meditation on Observing Thoughts, Non-Judgmentally, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, (Mindful Magazine)
Try a free and helpful App
Audio guides - super relaxing
The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers a series of outstanding, free audio meditations with the mission of fostering mindful awareness across the lifespan through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society. Visit Free Guided Audio Meditations (The UCLA Mindful Research Center).
Click on one of the following mp3s created by New York University for a guided relaxation exercise. Want relaxation to go? These mp3s are downloadable - right click and save to your computer. The voice of this young adult guide is very soothing.
Let us know what you think
If any of the links we’ve shared here are broken, or if the resource is no longer free and provided in an ad-free space, please reach out and let us know by emailing us at SouthBayFamiliesConnected@gmail.com.