Reprinted from the Mindfulness issue of Visions Journal, 2016, 12 (2), p. 34
Practising mindfulness isn’t always an easy sell—especially for today’s youth, who are often plugged in to their phones and other digital devices and not really thinking about how mindfulness might benefit them in their daily lives. Unfamiliar concepts like meditation and mindful breathing can scare youth away from trying something new. Not long ago, I was one of those young people, skeptical about how mindfulness could help me with my depression and anxiety, and seeing meditation as something that required years of practice.
If this sounds familiar, then Breathr can help! Breathr is a new, free mindfulness app for youth, developed by the Mental Health Literacy team at BC Children’s Hospital. Breathr gives you the tools to learn about mindfulness at your own pace and incorporate it into your life in whatever way works best for you. The app provides everything from simple breathing practice to guided meditations, everyday exercises and custom meditations once you become more comfortable with the practice of mindfulness. Breathr has a ton to offer: there are quick breathing exercises for those moments when you feel stressed or overwhelmed, as well as longer meditations to help build compassion and mindful thinking. There’s also an information section so you can pair your practice exercises with readings on how mindfulness can impact your daily life.
The goal of Breathr is to make mindfulness easy and fun to integrate into your daily routine. It doesn’t matter how much time you have—one minute or 20—there’s an exercise or meditation for you. It doesn’t have to be a strict routine or a rigorous program. Whether it’s a simple breathing exercise each morning, or a guided meditation before bed, mindfulness is a flexible tool that can become a regular part of your day, however and whenever you need it most. Each of us is different: having the time and space to explore how mindfulness can work for you is important. Breathr can provide that.
In hindsight, I wish I had discovered mindfulness earlier. With Breathr, a practice that once seemed abstract has now become a part of my daily routine, and I see the benefits in every aspect of my life. I was lucky enough to be one of the many youth who helped to shape Breathr as it was being developed, making it the youth-friendly guide to mindfulness that we all knew was needed.
For more information on how to incorporate the benefits of mindfulness into your life and how to download the Breathr app, visit keltymentalhealth.ca/breathr.
About the author
Paul is with BC Children’s Hospital