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The whole world cheered when 12 boys stuck in a cave in northern Thailand with their football coach were finally freed on 10 July after spending more than two weeks in the darkness.

According to several news sources the 25-year-old coach and former monk Ekapol Chantawong (above) had taught the boys how to meditate to pass the time, keep calm and conserve energy.

The practice has been credited with helping the boys stay mentally strong throughout their ordeal.

So, what is meditation all about and can it really help?

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What is meditation?
What is meditation?
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There are many types of meditation used by different philosophies, but at the core, meditation requires you to be mindful of the moment.

During mindfulness meditation, one tries to redirect distracting thoughts and instead focus on the present.

Although simple in theory, as anyone who has tried it can attest, it can be hard to switch off your thoughts even for a few seconds without thinking about work or wanting to check your phone.

Considering meditation to relax? Teaching yourself to relax is one of the best ways to cope with physical and emotional stress.

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