Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Corner Canyon High School student Lauren Crayk participates in meditation club at the school in Draper on May 22, 2018.

The rising generations are keen on applying what they frequently call “daily mindfulness.” If we pause and take the opportunity to learn from our young adults, we may find some solutions for the challenges of anxiety and depression.

Setting time aside for daily mindfulness — a quiet time apart from the pressing and complicated world we live in — puts the hinges back on our doors and simplifies our path forward. It settles the soul. It reduces anxiety and depression. It puts fears in proper perspective and allows hope to flourish.

Meditation is a key part of daily mindfulness. To meditate is to center one’s thoughts and allow time to connect with oneself before engaging with the world we live in. It is a time to ponder things that really matter.

For those who deal with anxiety and depression, it is often very difficult to sit silently or to find a space or time apart that is not encumbered. Therefore, practicing daily mindfulness requires an earnest effort to dedicate a time and space, especially given our crowded and busy schedules. My suggestion: The best time is early in the morning. Even if you must “find” this time by arising 30 minutes before you normally would, it is important to find this time apart.

Daily mindfulness should develop into the most meaningful part of our day — every day. It is both refreshing and empowering. Make this habit a daily ritual that is as unique as you. How to start? My daily mindfulness consists of exercise, music, reading, silence, journaling and prayer. My meditation includes deep thought on topics such as:

  • Understanding my true identity.
  • Developing my core values.
  • Discovering the course of life I desire to navigate (both today and long term).
  • Finding strength to move beyond my personal doubts.
  • Finding peace and contentment on the path.
  • Garnering inner peace through the process, which in turn smothers my anxiety and fears.

Healing anxiety and depression may require a multipronged approach. Professional counseling and therapy, prescribed medication and other remedies can only be assisted by adding daily mindfulness. In fact, the simple act of self-directed daily mindfulness could be the most powerful medicine of all.

Striving to find peace can’t be framed solely by what other people have told us (though we all need mentors and guidance). It must ultimately be developed in the inner cauldron and poured over our soul bit by bit, until the core of who we really are becomes our foundational framework of peace and hope, the wellspring that can significantly reduce anxiety and depression.

Healing anxiety and depression may require a multipronged approach. Professional counseling and therapy, prescribed medication and other remedies can only be assisted by adding daily mindfulness.

Many in the rising generation feel anxiety about how they will make a difference in the world. Many feel they are not “measuring up” to others' expectations or they are not progressing as quickly compared with others, feelings that are heightened in the realm of social media. Why not come alongside the rising generation, allowing them to create their own measuring sticks and chart a path that springs from their own daily mindfulness and celebrate each other’s contributions to humanity?

Marcus Aurelius, who was the emperor of Rome in A.D. 161, wrote much about his reflections. His daily devotionals helped him strike a balance between image and idea — a method to help him act with prudence and ethics as he ruled an empire. “At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to, what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”

4 comments on this story

The rising generation has it right. It’s not just about surviving; it is about thriving in our daily existence, or, as the French scholar Pierre Hadot noted, meditations (or the act of daily mindfulness) are … “composed to provide a momentary stay against the stress and confusion of everyday life.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the real challenges that are before us, but find a space that heals. A time apart. A time to ponder inspired solutions from the true source of inspiration found within: the ritual of daily mindfulness.