How to Meditate for Teens
By:Sally Murphy

Stress is a normal part of teenage life, whether because of peer pressure, applying to competitive internships and colleges, or dealing with family life. You probably know that meditation helps you relax and take a break from everyday life. But you might be surprised to learn that meditation also helps you take control of your moods and decisions. When you meditate, your brain activity changes; you feel less anxious and can tackle problems with greater confidence.

Find a quiet, private place.
You need only enough space to sit comfortably. Your bedroom is usually a suitable spot for meditation. If you share your room with a sibling, wait until you can have the room to yourself for at least 15 minutes. If possible, pick a place that you enjoy. For instance, choose a room in your house that has plenty of natural light, or go out on the back porch to meditate in nature.

Ask your family and friends for private time.
If you often get texts or calls from friends, ask them to avoid contacting you for the next 15 minutes. Or turn off your phone and set it aside. Ask your family members to avoid talking to you or distracting you while you meditate. Turn off your computer, TV, music and any other distractions.

Sit in a comfortable position.
Cross-legged is a traditional meditation position, but you can choose any position that feels comfortable, whether in a chair or on the floor with a supportive yoga mat or pillows. Don't slouch. Hold your head high so that your spine feels long and tall. Shut your eyes, resting your hands on your knees.

Instead of your normal breathing, slow down and take deep breaths through your nostrils. Let your lungs fill before slowly and fully releasing the breath. Try not to breathe shallowly or quickly.

Focus on your breath.
Listen to the sounds your breathing makes or pay attention to the physical sensation of your breath. Try to focus on your breathing and nothing else. When distracting thoughts enter your mind, don't dwell on them. Instead, go back to focusing on your breath. Return your focus to your breathing as many times as necessary.

Stop meditating when you feel ready.
To help keep track of time, set a timer before you begin. Start with a short time, such as five minutes, and work your way up each week. Alternatively, you can stop meditating whenever you feel relaxed, or count your breaths. Aim for 100 breaths at first and work your way up.