To go along with her recent Teen Vogue cover, actress and activist Amandla Stenberg directed, scored, illustrated, and edited a beautiful video designed “to help you slow down and feel a little bit more present.”
In an Instagram post, Stenberg wrote:
Because of the immense anxieties my generation is exposed to, mental illnesses have become shockingly pervasive amongst us. I believe that because of these anxieties and the way our reality is constantly manipulated and altered by social media (a social experiment with psychological effects we have no gauge on) we are experiencing exacerbated levels of severe anxiety, depression and dissociation. In order to be better equipped to heal, organize, and carry the responsibility of solving this social upheaval, it is crucial we focus our energy on our mental health and the ability to exist in the present moment.
She’s right—suicide rates have been rising since the ’90s, with a particular jump in girls age 10-14, according to 2016 research from the National Center for Health Statistics. Another 2016 study found a 37 percent increase in major depressive episodes reported by teens from 2005 to 2014, which is—on a thoroughly nonscientific note—two years before Donald Trump started giving the country a collective panic attack every day. And research suggests that mindfulness meditation can help ease issues like anxiety, depression and pain.
Anyway, I love this video and the concept behind it, and while it’s arguably better to not be looking at a screen while you try to meditate, it’s a lovely guide to keep in mind the next time you need to take a breath.