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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Discovering Meditation

Jul 01, 2020 10:14AM ● By Isabella Dussias

It is important for teens to try to pay attention to their stress levels. In discovering meditation, I have found a practice that helps me to calm my mind. There are several types of meditation. I particularly enjoy walking meditation. Each day that weather allows, I choose a different path and embark on my walking meditation exercise. As I begin my walk, I clear my mind and try to connect with nature and hear the sounds of the earth. I strive to step outside of my reality and allow my mind to clear. This is helpful to decrease stress. 

Another form of meditation my peers and I find effective is mindfulness. When changes happen that pull us out of our normal routines or ways of thinking, it can be extremely difficult to focus on the present moment. We become more worried about our futures and how these changes affect the plans we made in our heads for years to come. Practicing mindfulness helps ease these stresses. Every morning I take a moment to think about what I want to accomplish for the day. Not the next day, not the next week—today. I focus on how I feel in the present, not how I’ll feel in months or years from now. Practicing mindfulness allows me to take a moment to look at my life without any expectations. It’s a way for me to process my emotions in a healthy way rather than putting them aside through worry.

I also enjoy breath awareness meditation. Often in times of stress, I find myself subconsciously holding my breath. Some people do the opposite and hyperventilate when they become anxious. When I feel like this, I often look to breath awareness meditation. To do this I start by sitting comfortably in an upright position and closing my eyes. As I breathe in and out, I focus on relaxing different muscle groups. I drop my shoulders, loosen up my neck, and allow my arms to drop by my side. Once my body is fully relaxed, I meditate by focusing on my breathing as I inhale in through my nose and exhale out my mouth. Once I feel that both my mind and body are at ease, I continue with my day. 

Meditation is a tool that teens can use for stress relief. I was introduced to mindfulness and many of these practices through sessions at my school, and I’m very glad I was exposed to them. I hope these brief descriptions help you find calm and a desire to learn more about these effective methods. 

Isabella Dussias is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter/composer from New Jersey. She enjoys writing about issues that are important to today’s youth, and she believes music is an important outlet to connect people and share messages through the creativity of lyric and melody. For more information, please visit

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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